Healthy Mind

10 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Mood and Release Stress in Just 5 Minutes

Saanya Ali

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Some days, you may wake up on the right side of the bed and everything feels easy. But then there are days when just brushing your teeth feels like an arduous task, and the idea of having a positive outlook on anything seems unfathomable. On those days, it really helps to have a a few 5-minute stress relieving exercises handy that you can count on to reset your mood before it wrecks your whole day.

Fortunately, while much of your personal happiness is a product of genetics and daily circumstance (otherwise, out of your control), studies show that up to 40 percent of it can me altered or magnified by intentionally engaging in daily thoughts and practices that make us happy and feel more present in our lives. It's all about taking your mind off of what's bumming it out and redirecting your attention to activities that bring you joy.

Personally, I've found that going for a walk and concocting stories in my head about the people that I see around me, researching a new recipe to make that week, talking to a stranger, or even just scrolling through a folder of photos on my phone of my happiest days are sure fire ways to improve my mood at a moment's notice.

And Aimee Daramus, Psy.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of Understanding Bipolar Disorder, says the more awareness you can bring to your pursuit of happiness, the more successful you'll likely be.  "You won’t get a lot of relief out of a break if your mind is still on work, so use all of the senses that you can to explore these quick experiences," she explains. Below, Dr. Daramus and life coach Kimberly Lucht share 10 super-easy ways to shift your mood in just a few minutes.

5-minute stress relieving exercises and tips to boost your mood in moments

  1. Pick any pretty or intriguing object in your work space or outside and explore it with sight, sound, and touch. Anything to bring you back to the beauty of life around you.
  2. Eat a small piece of a favorite food. Truly savor it and be there for the nuance of scent, texture, and color, as well as fully tasting it.
  3. Listen to a song without lyrics, but for full concentration, try to pick out one instrument that you don’t usually focus on. Look up singing bowls, crystal flute tracks, and anything that is purely instrumental. This will help you get out of your head and into your heart.
  4. Hang up a necklace with a pendant, set it swinging, and breathe deeply while you watch it swing back and forth. Countless studies have shown that slow and deep breathing can regulate your nervous system and activate your chilled out parasympathetic system within minutes.
  5. Ask yourself what you really need to hear to encourage you. Either write it out a few times or set it as a reminder on your phone so you get it as a text a few times today.
  6. Spend a few minutes in child's pose because surrendering in this position lets the body know it's safe and calms your nervous system.
  7. Wash your face. This is a great reset and refresh for your mind and body.
  8. Shake it off. Jumping, shimmying, dancing, and spontaneously moving your body are loved by both the fascia and lymphatic system. Plus, it helps shake off nerves, stress, and any other energetic block you're experiencing.
  9. Detach from your devices. All of them if possible. There's a reason sleep experts recommend no devices in your bedroom: They tend to cause anxiety. Put them down, hide them, or consider giving yourself a digital curfew.
  10. Make a list of the first 10 things that immediately come to mind when you think about what makes you happiest. Pin the list up somewhere that you can see for the rest of the day and use it as a reminder.

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