Updated: Jan 26
Everyone feels cranky or ‘low’ sometimes. It’s human and understandable. Throughout the day our moods cycle through different qualities and really, who wants to experience just one mood all the time- even if it were possible?
When stress gets high, we can get stuck in unpleasant mood or a downward spiral into a worse mood, that affects our ability to live well. When you are looking to shift your mood in 7 minutes or less, try the following:
-> If you’re a newsletter subscriber and you’ve already created your list of the 7 actions that reliably boost your mood, Bravo! Check the list below for even more ideas.
🌟 Acknowledge your mood.
Don’t skip over this, it’s the first step before moving on to any one of the 6 strategies that follow. Acknowledging your mood means pausing to check in with yourself and your emotions, which automatically begins a shift away from the reactive stress response. Simple neuroscience about that here.
It takes 10 seconds!
Here are two phrases that can help once you’ve paused (I learned these from my training as a Certified Focusing Professional).
“Something in me feels_________.”
“I am noticing ________.”
Then choose from any the following, in any order, for a quick mood shift.
Stress and anxiety show up physically - tight lower back, neck, shoulders, jaw, headaches, and tension in the stomach. Your nervous system is clicking into high alert. Exercise – a few sun salutations, 15 jumping jacks, several ab exercises, a mini dance party, the 7 Minute Standing Workout - anything that turns on your brain’s motor system, aka, uses your muscles and pumps some blood - begins the process of moving those stress hormones through and out of your body!
This one we all know about, but how many of us intentionally choose to breathe to shift mood? It just took me exactly 1.5 minutes to take 9 slow breaths that activate the relaxation response. Not even 2 minutes…
Writing down your feelings and thoughts, aka, expressive writing, has been proven to have cascading benefits for the writer. Whether you journal regularly or not, write by hand or keyboard, it might help to know that multiple studies by social psychologist, James Pennebaker and others, have revealed that writing about stressful, even traumatic, events in your life results in stronger immune function and physical health, a greater sense of well-being, better adjustment to college and even an ability to find employment more quickly after being laid off. Try it for 7 minutes!
Watch something funny.
Those silly cat videos or babies giggling that you consider a guilty pleasure or a waste of time? Guilt no more, amusement is one of the 10 important positive emotions that within 45 seconds can make a subtle or not so subtle change in your mood and eventually will change who you are.
Like breathing, we’ve known about this one for some time. Fresh air, even better moving your body in fresh air can make a huge difference in your mood. For the trifecta, walk outside near some nature!
Call a friend and go for a walk. Or just chat. The give and take during the call offers attention and support in addition to the pleasure in providing them the same.
Play with a child or a pet
The phenomenon of the pandemic puppy tells us all we need to know about how much comfort we get from animals. If you are at home taking care of children and pets all day, this one may not be for you, but if you are not, try offering to help a friend or neighbor by spending some time pet sitting or playing with their children outdoors.
Which one of these will you try?
Watch my Instagram @judygar for some creative ideas for remembering your mood boosters when you need them.
Judy Garfinkel helps you clarify "what's next." Her expertise in building confidence and resilience supports personal growth and the ability to navigate career and work transitions – especially now! She also crafts bespoke resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and bios that open doors for her clients and land jobs. Judy is President of the International Coaching Federation - Connecticut Chapter, where she leads 200+ member coaches.