10 Ways to Brighten Your Mood on Bad Days

Life always seems to find a way to stress us out. On days when it feels impossible to keep moving forward, what can you do to pick yourself up and get on with your daily routine? Here are ten things you can try the next time you’re in urgent need of a mood boost:

Make Time For Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your mood naturally. Any kind of activity will do, as long as it gets you up and moving. There is significant evidence that regular exercise improves your mood and lowers your risk of depression. You don’t have to be an athlete—just going for a walk each day can have an impact on your mood and mental wellbeing.

Spend Time Outside

Since you’re going to exercise anyway, try combining it with some fresh air. Take a walk or a jog around your neighborhood, do yoga at the park, or even plan a weekend hike. Spending time in nature has been shown to improve nearly every aspect of our wellbeing, including mood and mental health.


Meditating is another great way to elevate your mood and free your mind from worry. There are many different ways to meditate. One of the most common practices is to sit in a quiet place and focus all your attention and awareness on the present moment. Most people like to anchor themselves by focusing on something very simple, like the rise and fall of their breath. Meditating when you’re feeling anxious or discouraged can help you to clear your mind and recenter your mood.

Create Something

Using your hands and your brain to make something you’re proud of provides a sense of accomplishment that can boost your self-esteem and your mood. Plus, focusing your energy on a project for a while will give your mind a respite from worry. If you’re in a rut, try to find more time for whatever art or hobbies you enjoy.

Listen to Music

Music has a profound influence on our emotions, but different kinds of music have different effects on our minds. Just like a heavy metal song can pump you up for a workout or a slow ballad can set a romantic tone, a joyful song can uplift your mood and a peaceful song can relieve stress. The many health benefits of music have been a common subject of study for years.

Be Social

Humans need social contact with other humans. Among the many benefits of regularly spending time with friends or family are improved happiness and mental health. Besides helping to ward off loneliness, socializing regularly is believed to lower your risk of depression and even increase your lifespan.

Make Time For Yourself

It’s important to have human contact, but for some people, it’s possible to have too much of it. Recognizing when you need time to rest and recharge by yourself is an important part of regulating your emotions. Try setting aside some time each week to do a quiet solo activity, like reading a book or journaling. Most people require a healthy balance of socialization and solitude, though the correct balance may look different for each person.

Practice Breathing Exercises 

Breathing techniques can be a great way for some people to relieve their stress and calm their anxiety. There are many different varieties of breathing exercises you can try. One of the most popular methods for managing stress is called 4-7-8 breathing. 

To do this exercise, simply inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. You can repeat this cycle as many times as you would like, but you should complete at least a few cycles for the greatest benefit. 

Eat Something

Sometimes, the reason you aren’t feeling well is that your body is trying to tell you something important. Take stock of how you’re feeling and ask yourself what your body needs. The answer might simply be that you are low on energy because you haven’t eaten. It can be hard to find time in our busy schedules to take care of physical needs, but it’s important that we do. When we neglect our bodies, our minds suffer as well.

Take a Nap

Just like eating, sleeping is an essential part of keeping your body and your mind in top shape. When you don’t get enough sleep, you simply can’t function at full capacity—that goes especially for your ability to regulate your emotions. Anyone who has spent time around a grumpy, sleep-deprived person can attest to that fact. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep lately, squeezing in a quick nap might be the best way to give your mood a boost.

Find Sources of Strength

Some people find comfort in sentimental or spiritual objects. Keeping a special charm of some kind with you can give you a source of encouragement and peace throughout the day. A favorite piece of jewelry such as one of these chakra bracelets is a great choice that you can take with you wherever you go.

Next time you need an extra source of motivation to get through the day, consider trying some of these tips. You owe it to yourself to find ways to brighten your mood.