5 Instant Mood Boosters

Image via Nicole Spangler Photography

The calendar is flipped, the decorations are out, and almost everywhere we look, the holiday season is in full swing.

In the one hand, there’s the cookies and the lights and presents, the rosy cheeks and the party plans, the holiday cards and so many reasons to gather around fire places.

Sometimes –- especially during this busy time of year — what we need is something small. An instant mood booster to help soften our landings (and unclench our teeth!).

And in the other hand, there are insurmountable to-do lists, cluttered décor (and schedules), and gatherings; so very many gatherings.

It’s so easy to feel stressed during this time of year. There seem to be more to-do’s than there are minutes in each day and before we know it, we’ve traded in raised cheeks for tight shoulders and what we really need are ways to improve our moods.

Dr. Jennifer Howard, psychotherapist and author of the award-winning book, Your Ultimate Life Plan says, “There’s no substitute for really knowing yourself and being willing to fully meet whatever’s arising. The process of getting to know the contents and the root of what is causing the “mood” might lead you to the wise voice inside of you trying to help guide you toward your highest outcome.”

And this is so very true, but sometimes –- especially during this busy time of year — what we need is something small. An instant mood booster to help soften our landings (and unclench our teeth!).

So here are five instant mood boosters, quick things you can do to take you from stressed and grumpy to at the very least relaxed and at the very best ready to note the fun and the wonder around you.

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Image via Flickr/Corey Ann

1. Pick a “spoil me” task to do. An article in Woman’s Day suggests starting each day thinking of one way to spoil yourself. Paint your nails, light a candle, put on fuzzy socks, read an extra chapter in a book. Whatever it is, do it for you.


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Image via Flickr/TerryJohnston

2. Indulge in chocolate, cinnamon, and mint. Research shows that these foods (and smells) increase productivity and feelings of relaxation and happiness. An article in FITDAY says that not only does food affect physical health, it also plays a major part in emotional wellness and, importantly, we all know this is true. So do this with intention and grab that piece of dark chocolate, sip that cup of peppermint tea, or sprinkle cinnamon on top of your coffee.

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Image via Flickr/futurestreet

3. Try “Happy Baby”. Any yogi will tell you that doing even just a few minutes of yoga stretches elevates the mood and relaxes the body. But Happy Baby in particular is a winner, and not just because it’s a great back massager, hip opener, and leg stretcher. Happy Baby is a great mood booster because if you take a moment to sit with how ridiculous the pose really is, it’s a fantastic reminder to not take ourselves too seriously, giggle a little, and carry on (happily!) with our day. (An article in MY YOGA online shows how to do Happy Baby.)

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Image via Flickr/_tar0_

4. Smile. Also, take a selfie. There’s no doubt that smiles beget smiles and forcing your face to show a good mood can be the first step to getting there. An article in Forbes says that we can change our emotional state by changing our facial expression. So why not take this to a new level and take a happy – or silly – selfie? Yes, they’re overdone and yes, they’re self-indulgent. But isn’t that the point? Have fun. Take one alone or with your spouse, best friend, or kids. Whether you post it online or not, is up to you. The good mood work is done by smiling and enjoying this silly, self-indulgent moment.


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Image via Flickr/Linds 🙂

5. Send a nice or funny note, text, or email. Taking the focus off of you and your to-do list will do wonders for your mood — and someone else's. An article in Psychology Today says that random acts of kindness make the giver just as happy as the receiver. So try refocusing on kindness and fun with this simple win-win. 

What simple thing is a mood booster for you? 

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5 Instant Mood Boosters

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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  1. mommy nhoj says:

    Yeah, selfie! I never got one for long. My facebook is like account for my baby’s milestones!

  2. Andrea says:

    Great tips, Galit! I agree that Happy Baby is the way to go to lift a mood. Plus it feels soooooo good. 🙂

  3. Kourtnee says:

    Those 5 instant mood boosters are something I am really going to try to do. They were 5 great ideas and was putting me in a better mood just thinking about doing them! 🙂 I actually took a screen shot of each step so I can try them! Thanx for this I really enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Alison Lee says:

    Watching funny cat and baby videos on YouTube is a great mood booster for me 🙂


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