“There are good and bad times, but our mood changes more often than our fortune.” - Thomas Carlyle
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Down in the dumps? Sometimes, you don’t want to be cheered up. But if you do… then get some sun, go for a walk or try one of these lesser known mood boosters.
Chew some Gum
Multiple research studies show chewing gum reduces cortisol levels and anxiety, improves mood and increases blood flow in the brain for better alertness. The mood boost happens right away, but also lasts long term. One study showed that people who chewed gum twice a day for fourteen days were less anxious than controls who did not chew gum.
Listen to your Happy Voice
A French study found that altering a subject’s voice pitch and other features to make it sound happy or sad affected the listeners emotions. Most subjects took the voice’s emotion as their own, feeling sad or happy when they listened to their own voices manipulated to sound sad or happy. So, you could watch old videos of ‘happy you’ talking, or check out this voice changer tool made available online by the researchers.
Smell the Joy
Scientists have found that smelling certain aromas can boost our mood. One study found the smell of baking bread made people kinder to strangers. People also experienced mood boosts smelling bacon sandwiches and fine wine. And if you had a happy childhood, sniff some crayons. 85% of people were transported back to childhood with a sniff of crayolas.
Laugh out Loud
Go watch your favorite comedian or cat fail video because laughter has beneficial physiological effects. Laughing lowers blood pressure and heart rate, stimulates endorphins and activates natural painkillers. Lee Berk and Stanley Tan, both of the Loma Linda School of Medicine found laughter also helps our immune system by activating T lymphocytes and natural killer cells along with increasing production of immunity-boosting gamma interferon and reducing cortisol levels.
You may feel insane as you fake smile your way through a conference call, but if you smile as if you were joyous (the whole face smile that involves your eyes) researchers say you’ll feel much better. When subjects in a study were instructed to smile while doing stressful tasks they recovered more quickly and felt more relaxed during the tests than participants who held neutral expressions. The more genuine, or “whole face” their fake smiles, the better they felt.
Don’t settle for a bad mood today. Chew some gum, put on a smile and knock ‘em dead out there.