When people think of their mood, they often think of just of being in a good mood or a bad mood. But the truth is, there is a lot of moods that exist in between these two extremes. Things like stress, daily habits, physical stress, and so many other factors go into how you feel.
Your mood is not just good or bad, it can include being stressed, anxious, fearful, relaxed and calm, tense and agitated.
If you feel like you don’t have balanced moods, or you are constantly moving from one extreme or another, it might be time to take a look at your habits, daily routines, and how you spend your time. These all have such a large impact on your moods and how you feel.
One of the most surprising things about mood fluctuations is how many things in your everyday life can change your mood. Some of which you may have control over and others not. The more you understand about your own mood changes, the more you can decide what lifestyle changes will help the best with your mood-boosting rituals.
Some common causes of shifts to your mood include:
1. Morning Journaling Routine
You have a morning routine now, whether you consciously realize it or not. You probably have certain tasks you like to get done shortly after waking up, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, walking your dogs, making your kids breakfast, or stumbling out of bed and rushing out the door to get to work.
The idea is not to reinvent the wheel with your morning routine, but instead just add a few activities in your morning that will improve your day and your mood.
One of the best activities you can do during your morning routine is to write in a journal. There are many ways this can help you, but one of my personal favorites is with a brain dump.
What is a brain dump?
This simply means you write whatever is on your mind, and to keep writing until you feel like you have gotten all of it out of your head. Often your mood can be from stress or just feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do with them. A conscious stream of writing releases you from having any answers.
By doing this type of brain dump in the morning, you get those thoughts out on paper to help release some of the tension, but also gain a little more clarity as you start your day.
2. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
The next most important thing you can do each day when you want to boost your mood naturally is to get better sleep. And we aren’t just talking about how many hours you sleep, though that is definitely important.
You want to focus on proper sleep hygiene, which is simply the nighttime routine you have before you go to sleep.
Here are some things you can add to your sleep routine that will help you get more restful sleep, and balance your mood at the same time:
With these few changes, you will notice that you tend to fall asleep a little easier, and you don’t wake up exhausted and cranky.
3. Pay Attention to What You Eat
This might not be what you want to hear, but what you eat does make a difference in how you feel, including mentally. Foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates may give you an energy burst only to be followed by an energy crash. Often an energy crash is followed by a lower mood or a desire for more foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, setting up a never-ending vicious cycle of crash and burn.
In order to avoid mood swings and sustain energy levels, you need to focus on eating foods that support a low Glycemic Index (G.I), which means they have little effect on your insulin levels.
4. Move Your Body Every Day
In addition to eating right, try to also get some regular exercise in. It doesn’t have to be completing a difficult fitness challenge or pushing yourself to do some extreme form of activity you don’t enjoy. A daily 30-minute walk is enough.
Workouts that get you moving and that you actually enjoy can help you become mentally healthier and improve your mood exponentially. An added benefit of exercise is that is good for your mental and physical health.
Some exercises you might want to try include:
5. Practice Gratitude
When you appreciate the good in your life, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, your mind becomes focused on continuing to look for the good which will positively improve your mood.
No matter how difficult or challenging things might feel right now, there are always things to be grateful for. It might be people in your life who are always loving and supportive, a decent job, a roof over your head, your pets or family, or just your cup of coffee every morning when you have 5 minutes of peace and quiet.
To improve your mood every day, start writing 5-10 things you are grateful for in your journal. Turn this into a daily ritual that you do every morning or evening, and you will notice the changes very quickly.
6. Make Self-Care a Priority
Self-care is so much more than people realize, and often misunderstood. To put it simply, your self-care routine should be something you do for yourself and only you. At least once a day, you choose some type of activity that you enjoy, relaxes you, and makes you happy.
While it can be absolutely anything, here are a few ideas if you’re not sure where to start:
It can be something you do alone or with friends. There are no rules about self-care, as long as it makes you feel better and is something you truly enjoy.
7. Declutter and Organize Your Space
Yes, tidying up your space and getting it organized helps with mood stabilization! Have you ever woken up in a clean and orderly room, and just felt better? Or walked in to a neat and tidy office and felt confident about where everything you needed was? Just having a decluttered and clean space to spend time in makes all the difference. You feel unhindered, happier, healthier, and more productive.
Spend just a few minutes towards the end of your day tidying up as much as you can, even if you have a busy schedule. You will be so pleased you did the next time you enter that space.
8. Unplug at Least Once a Day
Give yourself at least one time of the day when you are completely unplugged with no digital distractions. This means no computer or laptop, no tablet, and no cell phone. It is up to you if you choose to include television in unplugging, but definitely no phones!
You need some time to relax without social media, phone updates, and text messages. This allows you to sit in the quiet and just enjoy your surroundings and family and friends, without all that extra noise.
9. Set Healthy Boundaries
This is probably one of the more surprising ways you can boost your mood naturally. Sometimes, you have so many expectations on yourself and from others, that you have additional responsibilities that you didn’t realize you had. Take some time every once and a while and challenge yourself as to whether the expectations you hold for yourself or from others is valid or need re-negotiating.
It is okay to say no. It is okay to turn down an invitation. It is okay to not always be the one person people can count on for whatever they need. Set some healthy boundaries and let people know when and if you are available to them. If they care about you, they will understand your need for boundaries, just like you respect their boundaries.
10. Get Outside for Fresh Air
Lastly, try to spend more time outside if you can. Fresh air and vitamin D will both greatly benefit your mood and energy levels.
Many people, even in sunny countries, don’t get enough vitamin D in their diet, and aren’t outside enough during the day to get it naturally from the sun’s UV rays. The simplest thing is to figure out how you can spend a little more time outside.
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