Five ways to boost your mood when you're feeling down

We all have those moments where we are feeling blue, but the good news is we can overcome the down days and be happy again.

There are five simple ways of boosting your mood when you’re feeling down.

1. Dopamine
When you’re excited and happy about something in life your dopamine level soars. Dopamine is the chemical of the brain that controls your emotional responses. When your dopamine drops, so does your mood but it’s important you realise the slump isn’t permanent. Understanding that your dopamine will rise and fall to meet your needs is important.

2. Cortisol
The brain has a chemical that controls your anxiety, fear and stress levels. It’s called cortisol. The way it works is by making you feel so bad about something you’ll do whatever it takes to make that feeling go away. Cortisol allows you to identify potential threats and respond accordingly. Like dopamine, your cortisol will rise and fall naturally, so when your cortisol is rushing you want to do a healthy, non-confronting, non-frustrating activity.

3. Set and achieve your goals
When you are approaching a goal, you’ll notice your dopamine spikes. This is why it’s good to have a goal, even if it is only a little one. You might decide to clean out the fridge after months of putting it off or commence a walking routine each day to keep you fit and healthy; by ticking your goals off as complete your brain will reward you by allowing you to feel good about yourself.

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4. Plan for the long-term
Although big goals are more difficult to achieve all the time, achieving them once every so often boosts your happiness. Think about the things you’d like to achieve in your retirement and take a step each day to achieve those goals.

5. Celebrate medium-term goals
When your long-term goal gets stalled, you want to have something to look forward to but it’s more than just cleaning your cupboards or going for a walk. This is when you need to reassess your long-term goal and set smaller, achievable goals that will still get you there and which you can celebrate along the way. This allows you to refocus your short-term frustration on the realistic medium-term, which is a much better investment for your energy.

Have you ever felt down and out? What did you do to turn things around?