8 Tricks To Beat A Rotten Mood In 60 Seconds Or Less

When you’re feeling down in the dumps—whether it’s after a long, stressful day at work or some bummer news from your BFF—one more silly cat video or episode of Modern Family can only get you so far. We all know that a sweat session creates an endorphin boost and that a laugh with a pal can turn around a depressing day, but did you know there are other 60-second strategies that can make your mood happier almost instantly?

Here’s what to do:

Flip through some photos.
Unplugging can lower your stress levels (because really, who needs one more Facebook notification when you’re already overwhelmed?), but a digital detox isn’t always necessary. “When you need a mood boost, it can be really helpful to open your photo app and look through images from happy times. It’s like a diary of your life in a visual format,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project series and co-host of the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin. This simple step can take you back to a more smiley moment, like your sister’s wedding or your safari in South Africa, and remind you of how many reasons you have to be happy.

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Give back.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Speaking of being blessed, when you have more than you need, it’s better for your mood to share than spend more on yourself. “Offer an extra coupon to a stranger at the store or give a friend an unexpected little gift. It might seem counterintuitive to not splurge on a treat for yourself, but the benefits last far longer if you share the wealth,” says Jaime Kurtz, associate professor of psychology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. One idea that takes nearly zero time and effort: Buy a Starbucks card and post the code on Facebook or Instagram so friends in need of a pick-me-up can help themselves. It’ll give you warm fuzzies for hours, if not days, to think of all of your happily buzzed buddies.

Eat a cup of Greek yogurt.
Yep, so weird. Consuming probiotic-rich foods might help you think fewer negative thoughts, says a 2015 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. More research needs to be done to determine if a probiotic supplement is smart for the general population, but in the meantime, it certainly can’t hurt to grab a spoon. (Make the most of your snack with these 25 Tasty Things You Can Do With Yogurt.)

Jump around.

“As crazy as it sounds, jumping up and down can be helpful—especially if other people can see you when you’re moving. It adds a silliness factor,” Rubin says. “Try a few jumping jacks in your office or skip along a sidewalk. It’s energizing and goofy.” Plus, it never hurts to get your heart pumping. Schedule a “Moving Minute” every hour at work and do a few jumping jacks, in-place skips, or toe hops.

Clean house.
“A big mood-booster for me is tidying up,” Rubin says. “External order—putting things in their place and tossing things you don’t need—can make you less stressed. Outer order offers inner calm and energy for many.“ You don’t need loads of time to tackle that gargantuan garage, either. A smaller tidy-up task like a linen closet or refrigerator offers the biggest mood benefits, she adds.

Snack on some dark chocolate.
Feeling down? Dessert is a “do.” According to research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, people who received a dose of cocoa polyphenols equivalent to one ounce of dark chocolate felt calmer and more content than their placebo-fed counterparts. You might be extending your lifespan and boosting your math skills while you’re at it, too…just a couple fewer things to stress about.

Use your nose.

(Photo: Getty Images)

“I keep a giant trove of perfume samples and essential oils that evoke vanilla, clean towels, and apple to sniff when I need a quick boost,” Rubin says. Science backs up her approach: Essential oils directly affect disposition, according to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience. As you’re shopping for your signature scent, keep in mind that lemon trumps lavender when it comes to sunny smells, while ylang-ylang increases calmness and peppermint raises alertness levels.

Write a thank you note.
Snail mail shouldn’t go extinct. “Thank you notes strengthen relationships. It’s important for others to know that you appreciate them. They should certainly not go out of style!” Kurtz says. Penning one each week has been proven to boost your life satisfaction and happiness levels, reports the Journal of Happiness Studies. Whether it’s for a friend who always answers your “Send help!” texts or a family member who treated you to dinner, stock up on stamps and send out some gratitude at least every 7 days.

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