Everyone has those days when nothing can go right – your car won't start, it starts raining and you have no umbrella – but luckily it's easy to turn a frown upside down with these proven ways to boost your mood and make you feel better instantly.
These quick tips will help in the short-term, but remember, the biggest determinant of happiness is health. Healthy people are about 20 percent more satisfied than average while unhealthy people are about 8 percent more depressed, according to the General Social Survey. But for now, try these five proven tricks!
Turn on Some Music
Whether you're more into James Taylor or Taylor Swift, turning on your iPod may bust a bad mood. A 2003 study in Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal found that people who listened to music of any kind were instantly happier, calmer and more relaxed. If you're also stressed, music has been shown to calm nerves -- literally!
Do Something Generous
Money, specifically your income, won't buy you happiness, but giving to others just might make you feel better. When people spent as little as $5 on someone else, they experienced increased feelings of satisfaction, according to a 2008 study in the journal Science. You can donate to a cause or volunteer your time, both of which have been shown to make people happier.
Get Outside (Even Just for 5 Minutes)
A recent study evaluated 10 different studies on mood and exercise to find that performing a low-intensity workout outside for a short amount of time (five minutes!) spiked self-esteem and mood levels. These levels continued to rise for longer workouts, too. If you're upset, take a walk around the block to calm down and get a positive outlook on life. Bonus points if it's sunny outside, another proven way to fight off the blues.
Look at Happy Photos
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Researchers from the UK's Open University found that looking at happy photos beat out chocolate, wine and watching TV when it comes to lifting your mood. According to their research, drinking wine and eating chocolate helped people relax but didn't make them happier. Looking at photos, on the other hand, helped with both! You can also log on to Facebook for a digital way to view your photos.
Meditate or Practice Yoga
These quiet, peaceful practices have been proven to have a positive effect on your mood. Study after study shows that meditation, especially when done often, can ease anxiety and increase positive changes in your mood. Yoga also has equally important benefits. A 2010 study found that people who practiced yoga three times a week for an hour had higher levels of the depression-fighting neurotransmitter GABA than those who walked for the same amount of time. These practices require you to turn off the outside world to focus on your breaths and your thoughts, which, in turn, helps you rationalize a situation.