7 Ways to Banish a Bad Mood in 10 Minutes

Bad moods happen to all of us. Sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes something happens over the course of the day that sends your mood south. And sometimes? Bad moods seem to hit for no reason at all—or at least none that you can immediately pinpoint.

Bad moods are a part of life. But the good news? Being in one, and staying in one, are two separate things. When you feel a funk coming on, there are plenty of steps you can take to kick it right to the curb—and to start feeling better in just a few minutes.

But what, exactly, are those steps? Here are seven ways to banish a bad mood in 10 minutes or less:

Get your sweat on. If you feel yourself starting to slip into a bad mood, one of the best things you can do to turn that mood around and start feeling better, fast? A quick workout. Track core stats like heart rate, distance, calories burned, and Active Zone Minutes through the Exercise app on your Fitbit device. 

Research shows that even a short burst of exercise can help to alleviate a bad mood, thanks to the release of a variety of neurotransmitters that help to improve and regulate mood—including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and endorphins.

Get out and enjoy nature. Another great way to alleviate a bad mood? Getting outside. According to research from Cornell, spending just 10 minutes in nature can help you feel happier and less stressed. So get outside and enjoy some nature, whether that’s going or a hike or having a picnic in a park.

Take a break from screens. If you’re the kind of person that spends a good portion of the day scrolling through social media or catching up on your Netflix queue, all that screen time could be playing a role in your not-so-rosy moods.

Research has linked too much screen time with higher rates of depression—and a recent study found that, during the COVID lockdowns, people experienced lower levels of happiness and well-being when they spent more time in front of screens.

You’ve heard it before, but it works: if you want to get rid of a bad mood, try a quick digital detox. Power off your phone, shut down your computer, and spend 10 minutes giving your eyes—and brain—a break from all the screens.

Snuggle your pet. If you’re a pet parent, you know that time with your four-legged friend is one of the most effective bad mood busters out there—and, as it turns out, there’s science to back that up.

A 2019 study from Washington State University found that petting a dog or cat for just 10 minutes can improve mood and lower stress. So, the next time you find yourself feeling moody, grab your animal for a nice pet session—and watch your mood improve in the process.

Call a mood-boosting friend. There are plenty of things you can do to pull yourself out of a bad mood. But you certainly don’t have to banish that bad mood alone!

Research from the University of Warwick found that moods, both good and bad, can be “picked up” from friends. So, the next time you feel a little down, try calling a friend known for being positive, happy, and upbeat. Chances are, after a few minutes, their good mood will rub off on you—and your bad mood will be nowhere to be found.

Take a mindfulness break. Meditation offers a host of benefits—and that includes helping you get rid of a bad mood, fast. A 2018 study found that people who meditated for 10 minutes showed significant improvements in mood when compares to people who hadn’t meditated. So, the next time you get hit with a not-so-stellar mood, try taking a mindfulness break

Find a quiet place, get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. When you find your mind wandering (including to feeling frustrated or upset about your bad mood!), acknowledge it and then bring your attention back to your breath.

It seems simple, but that 10 minutes of meditation can completely shift your mood—and leave you feeling happier, calmer, and all-around better than before you started.

Act your way into a better mood. When you’re in a bad mood, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling. But if you want to feel differently, try acting differently.

A 2014 study found that people who walked with a more depressed style (for example, with a slumped posture and minimal arm movement), experienced worse moods than people who walked with a happier, “bouncy” style. Or, in other words, the way people acted influenced how they felt; when they acted sad, they felt sad—and when they acted happy, they felt happy.

The next time you’re dealing with a bad mood, try acting as if you’re in a good mood. Smile. Walk with some bounce in your step. Be kind to people around you. You may be surprised at how quickly acting like you’re in a good mood turns into actually being in a good mood.

If you can’t shake your bad mood, consider getting help. Sometimes, bad moods are the result of a bad day—and in those situations, these seven tips can help you kick your bad mood to the curb, fast. But sometimes, a bad mood can be a sign of something more serious, like a hormonal imbalance or mental health issue, in which case, you’ll want to get to the bottom of what’s going on and get the treatment you need to start feeling better.

If you find that you can’t shake your bad mood—or your bad mood persists for an extended period of time—reach out to a doctor or mental health professional.

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