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How to Improve Your Mood Right Now: 3 Simple Habits

I sometimes write about how a good start to your day often leads to having a good day in general.

A social, an energetic or a productive start sets the context for your day.

But on some days you may not get a good start for some reason.

Maybe you slept badly. Or the maybe grey skies and cold summer rain is dragging your energy down.

Or you might have lost that positive momentum during a hard first part of the day and after lunch you feel tired, low or lost in a somewhat sad or uninspired funk.

What to do then? Is that day lost and should you just aim for a better day tomorrow?

Well, today isn’t over yet.

Maybe you can still make something good out of it.

Here’s how I do that by breaking the negative mood and getting a new start.

1. Appreciate what you have.

The simplest of my most commonly used pick-me-ups.

I take about 2 minutes and sit in silence.

I tell myself: OK, I might not feel so good right now, but what can I be grateful for and appreciate in my life?

I usually come up with one simple thing like:

  • My tasty food.
  • My health.
  • That I have a roof.

That one thing opens up my mind. It redirects my thoughts from the negativity.

Then I build upon that one thing. I make mental jumps from the roof, to the warmth in our home, to the clean water in the glass beside my computer, to that I can work from home as the rain pours outside.

I make those small mental leaps by just moving my attention around in the room I am in. Like skipping from stone to stone over a stream. And I take the time to slowly appreciate all those things.

This changes my mood to a happier, warmer and more open one.

2. Act as you would like to feel.

Emotions work backwards too. So if I want to become more positive or enthusiastic then I act in the manner of a person who is positive or enthusiastic.

I might not feel like it. But I do it as best as I can anyway. I may for example:

  • Think of the task I have in front of me as something exciting and fun.
  • Answer some emails or talk to someone in a positive and enthusiastic manner.
  • Assume rapport if I feel unmotivated, negative or nervous before some kind of meeting (assuming rapport is to think to myself that I am meeting one of my best friends just before the meeting and that puts me in the right mood and headspace).

3. Think for a minute and give someone a genuine compliment.

Here’s a fun one I use quite often and that will not only lift my own mood.

Spend 1 minute on coming up with something you really and genuinely appreciate about someone in your life that is in the same room as you at some point during the day. Then tell him or her the genuine compliment you have come up with.

She or he will be happy. You’ll feel good about yourself and get positive feelings too from the now smiling, happy and complimented person. And so the mood for the both of you is changed for the better.

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{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Anne

    Thanks Henrik, this is super helpful, especially the part about assuming rapport – I have several phone calls I’ve been procrastinating, but if I think of the other person as someone I may genuinely connect with it seems less stressful.

  • Smita narain

    Hello Henrik, today was “one of rhose days”… nothing seemed to be going right for me since morning… then i opened your email and felt so much better! Am saving it for a rainy day and sharing it with people; wishing you many sunny, happy days. Thank you and god bless you. Warm regards, Smita

  • Great post, Henrik. Mood is a state of mind. Emotions often are responsible for being moody. I can see tremendous strength in such power of mind, the mood. A mood must drive us to act to know self and others.
    Mood can also harm. Channelize such energies on an activity of creativity, risk and learning. Much of the mood will get blossomed. Great post. Regards

  • Sussi

    This type of thought changing does work! Be prepared that it is sometime work – hard work. But it pays off. And there are still bad days and bad moments. But that is life. Never give up. I like what you said – the day is not over. I better get going on mine. Hugs to all 🙂

  • KG

    Great content!

    I especially like the idea of helping others, via compliment or gratitude to get out of a slump. By doing something for others, it helps improve my mood & I [hopefully] brightened someone’s day!

  • Ira

    Thanks for the motivational article.

    Regards

  • Annie

    Henrik I just love these 3 simple steps …soooooo good ! If I am out shopping I try to find something nice AND HONEST to say to a stranger = esp a young Mum with a crying Bub…” Oh an upcoming Opera singer perhaps ?” She laughs & the Bub looks at me as if to say “are you crazy?” …. Yes , I am , crazy about life & whilst I can enjoy that = I will ! Thank you Henrik for all that you give to us . Cheers Annie

  • Very practical and effective ways suggested by you. Just to have an idea of their effectiveness, I revisited my past few days and checked if I followed any of your ways unknowingly and I felt happy. Yes, I found it. In the rush hours to catch a metro rail service to reach my place of work in New Delhi, I simply complimented on of the Secutity Personnels posted at the gates of the metro enterance who treated an old frail man standing just before me in Q ,very gently ,with respect. The Security Personnel was happy to receive my compliment and gave a big smile.Bored expression on his face suddenly chand . In return, I felt very light all the day. Regards.

  • I FEEL PRATICALLY IT SHOULD WORK ……….GOOD IDEAS. GOOD.

  • guen Sam

    As usual , I Thank you for those tips that are really helpful and might change the curriculum of any individuals’ life

  • Thanks for writing this, Henrik. Ive used each of these tips at different times, but never thought of them as ways to intentionally raise my mood. I used to wait tables, where regardless of how I felt, I had to put on a cheery mood. After a short bit of putting on a smile, my mood would change for the better. Warm regards, Katrina

  • what happens when you have no roof,no food,no family to talk of?
    send me a positive ,uplifting email

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