We all find ourselves feeling down and out on occasion. But good news: it’s ways easier (and faster) than you’d think to turn your frown upside-down. What follows are 20 amazing tricks that are guaranteed to cheer yourself up. Oh, and the best part? They’re all easily accessible, inexpensive, and take almost no time at all. In just a few minutes, you could be feeling like your old self again. And when you’re ready to improve your mood for good, try out these 70 Genius Tricks to Get Instantly Happy!
1 Try Rapid Thinking
If you’re feeling blue and the concept of clearing your mind and meditating sounds completely impossible, try the opposite. Researchers from Princeton and Harvard found that having people brainstorm up as many solutions to a problem as possible in 10 minutes (they didn’t even have to be good solutions) made people feel elated, creative, energetic, and powerful. And when you want to give your brain an additional boost, try out these 13 Tips For a Sharper Brain!
2 Try Some Aromatherapy
Research conducted at Ohio State University found that lemon essential oil causes an immediate measurable improvement in mood, so carry a bottle around and take a whiff if you’re feeling down, or keep lemons around the house. You can bring oil to the surface by dragging your nail across its surface or by twisting the peel before dropping it into glass of water.
Surprisingly, lavender oil was not found to improve mood, despite its reputation for calming frazzled nerves. However, there’s no denying the power of the placebo effect, so if it works for you, by all means don’t stop. And for more ways to calm down in a hurry, try out these 13 Best Non-Exercise Stress Busters.
3 Pet a Dog
Just 10 minutes of petting a dog can increase your levels of oxytocin, a hormone that has effects similar to anti-depressants, according to research from Uppsala University in Sweden. And it turns out that, the stronger the bond you have with the dog, the greater the effect. And if you want to seriously strengthen that bond, learn Why You Should Talk to Your Dog Like It’s a Baby.
4 Have Some Chocolate
A study published in Nutrition Reviews found that chocolate has definite mood-improving qualities. So if you’re feeling down, indulge in a little bit of the sweet stuff. Don’t overdo it though; you want to feel better, not guilty. And for more reasons to indulge, Learn How Chocolate Will Boost Your Workout.
5 Hug Somebody
Getting a hug releases oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine—a triple whammy of feel-good neurotransmitters that will lift your mood, for sure. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, while dopamine is the neurotransmitter that gives us feelings of pleasure and helps us enjoy life. Oxytocin is known as “the love hormone” and can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, in addition to promoting social bonding. And for more ways affection can affect your mood, Here’s Why Scientists Say Holding Hands Is Amazing for You.