When people think of their mood, they often think of just being in a good mood or a bad mood. But the truth is, there is a lot in between these two extremes. Things like stress, daily habits, physical stress, and so many other factors go into how you feel.
Your mood is not just good or bad, but can include being stressed, anxious, fearful, relaxed and calm, tense and agitated.
If you feel like you don’t have balanced moods, or you are constantly one extreme or another, it might be time to take a look at your habits, daily routines, and how you spend your time. Your behaviors have such a large impact on your moods and how you feel.
What Causes Shifts in Your Mood?
One of the most surprising things about mood fluctuations is how many things in your everyday life, many of which you don’t always have control of, can change your mood. The more you understand about mood changes, the more you can decide what lifestyle changes will help the best with your mood-boosting rituals.
Some causes of shifts to your mood include
Stress – Probably one of the most common causes is stress. This can be severe stress where you expect your mood to change, but also very mild forms of emotional stress that you didn’t realize had such a big impact on how you feel and behave overall.
Mental health – Many mental health disorders can lead to changes in your mood, including anxiety and depression. If you struggle with your mental health, you might already be aware of how drastically your mood can shift.
Sleep habits – Yes, how much and how well you sleep is going to affect your mood! We aren’t just talking about having a crappy night’s sleep and not feeling your best the next morning. This also includes just poor sleep hygiene habits that affect your mood the next day.
Diet – What you will see throughout this content is that what you eat can greatly impact how you feel. What you choose to eat the majority of the time does make a big difference in your mood.
Medical causes – Not only can hormone fluctuations affect your mood, but other medical causes like thyroid disorders, stroke, vitamin deficiency, and Parkinson’s might all be the cause of your mood changes.
- Morning Journaling Routine
Let’s talk a little bit about morning routines. This is one of those trending topics that people think are just popular right now and will be gone before we know it, but that isn’t true at all.
You have a morning routine now, whether you consciously realize it or not. You probably have certain tasks you like to get done shortly after waking up, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, walking your dogs, making your kids breakfast, or stumbling out of bed and rushing out the door to get to work.
We are not trying to invent the wheel with your morning routine, but instead just add a few activities in your morning that will improve your day and your mood.
One of the best activities you can do during your morning routine is to write in a journal. There are many ways this can help you, but one of our personal favorites is with a brain dump.
What is a brain dump?
This simply means you write whatever is on your mind, and keep writing until you feel like you have gotten through all those nagging thoughts. Your mood fluctuations might be from stress or just feeling overwhelmed. Your thoughts can do that without you even realizing it.
By doing this type of brain dump in the morning, you get those thoughts out on paper to help release some of the tension, but also gain a little more clarity.
- Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
The next most important thing you can do each day when you want to boost your mood naturally is to get better sleep. And we aren’t just talking about how many hours you sleep, though that is definitely important.
You want to focus on proper sleep hygiene, which is simply the nighttime routine you have before you go to sleep.
Here are some things you can add to your sleep routine that will help you get more restful sleep, and balance your mood at the same time:
- Start getting ready for bed 1-2 hours before you intend to fall asleep.
- Don’t use any electronics or keep the TV on when you are getting ready for sleep.
- Try to avoid stimulants like caffeine or alcohol shortly before sleep.
- Set up your bedroom to provide a restful night’s sleep, including a cool and quiet environment.
- Get blackout curtains to keep it as dark as possible in your bedroom.
- Participate in quiet and calm activities before bed, such as reading or writing in your journal.
With these few changes, you will notice that you tend to fall asleep a little easier, and you don’t wake up exhausted and cranky.
- Pay Attention to What You Eat
This might not be what you want to hear, but what you eat does make a difference in how you feel, including mentally. Some foods, like high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates, give you energy and make you feel better in the short-term, but cause an energy crash, after which you might notice a worse mood.
When it comes to eating right, you want to focus on balance and proper nutrients. Not being on a restrictive diet, but just trying to get in more complex carbs, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein.
- Move Your Body Every Day
In addition to eating right, try to also get some regular exercise in. Again, we aren’t talking about completing a difficult fitness challenge or pushing yourself to do some extreme form of activity you don’t enjoy.
Instead, find some workouts that get you moving, you are motivated and excited to try, and that you actually enjoy. These can help you become mentally healthier and improve your mood exponentially, with the added benefit of being good for your physical health as well.
Some exercises you might want to try include are:
- Walking or going on a hike
- Taking a local fitness class
- Yoga or Pilates
- Weight lifting
- Family workouts with your kid
- Practice Gratitude
When you appreciate the blessings in your life, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, your mood will change practically overnight. No matter how difficult or challenging things might feel right now, there are always things to be grateful for. It might be people in your life who are always loving and supportive, a decent job, a roof over your head, your pets or family, or just your cup of coffee every morning when you have 5 minutes of peace and quiet.
To improve your mood every day, start writing 5-10 things you are grateful for in your journal. Turn this into a daily ritual that you do every morning or evening, and you will notice the changes very quickly.
- Make Self-Care a Priority
Self-care is so much more than people realize, and often misunderstood. To put it simply, your self-care routine should be something you do for yourself and only you. At least once a day, you choose some type of activity that you enjoy, relaxes you, and makes you happy.
While it can be absolutely anything, here are a few ideas if you’re not sure where to start:
- Get a manicure and pedicure
- Do a face mask
- Watch your favorite show
- Read a book
- Work on an art project
- Take an afternoon nap
- Soak in a bubble bath
- Meet a friend for coffee
It can be something you do alone or with friends. There are no rules about self-care, as long as it makes you feel better and is something you truly enjoy.
- Declutter and Organize Your Space
Yes, working on your space and getting it organized helps with mood stabilization! Have you ever woken up in a clean and orderly room, and just felt better? Just having a decluttered and clean home makes all the difference. You feel happier, healthier, and more productive.
Spend just a few minutes a day picking up your home and tidying it as much as you can, even if you have a busy schedule.
- Unplug at Least Once a Day
Give yourself at least one time of the day when you are completely unplugged. This means no computer or laptop, no tablet, and no cell phone. It is up to you if you choose to include television in unplugging, but definitely no phones! You need some time to relax without social media, phone updates, and text messages. This allows you to sit in the quiet and just enjoy your home and family, without all that extra noise.
- Set Healthy Boundaries
This is probably one of the more surprising ways you can boost your mood naturally. Sometimes, you have so many expectations and so many people needing things from you, that you don’t realize your responsibilities are what is negatively affecting your mood.
It is okay to say no. It is okay to turn down an invitation. It is okay to not always be the one person people can count on for whatever they need. Set some healthy boundaries and let people know when and if you are available to them. If they love you, they will understand your need for boundaries, just like you respect their boundaries.
- Get Outside for Fresh Air
Lastly, try to spend more time outside if you can. Fresh air and vitamin D will both greatly benefit your mood and energy levels. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D in their diet, and aren’t outside enough during the day to get it naturally from the sun’s UV rays. The simplest thing is to figure out how you can spend a little more time outside.