Everyone gets down in the dumps on occasion, and it can be hard to improve your mood. But scientists says there are four things you can do that will always make you happy again.
A UCLA neuroscience researcher named Alex Korb revealed the four things anyone can do to create an "upward spiral of happiness." Here were the four things he said will work:
1. Ask yourself, "What am I grateful for?"
This may seem a little silly, but apparently if you think about things in your life that you're grateful for, your brain begins producing dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that help improve your mood. So the whole idea of, "Think happy thoughts," isn't actually bad advice.
2. Label Your Emotions
If you're down in the dumps, Korb says you should label that emotion. So if you're sad, label your emotions as sad. If you're frustrated, label it as frustration or anger. Why? Because when you begin labeling your emotions, the part of your brain that governs emotional responses slows down and the part of your brain that governs more logical thinking begins activating. Essentially, you force your brain to be less emotional. And ignoring or trying to suppress those emotions will actually backfire, and cause the emotional part of your brain to work more, which will make you feel even more emotional.
3. Make a Decision
Making a decision is one of the best ways to improve your mood. If you're facing a crisis, simply make a decision and you will immediately feel less worry and anxiety. And don't worry about making the perfect decision. Simply making a "good enough" decision will be enough, and if anything being a perfectionist simply makes you more stressful in life.
4. Touch Someone
Ok, that sounds a little inappropriate. But physical contact with another person, whether a hug, pat on the back, handshake, whatever, helps release oxytocin. Oxytocin is another one of those hormones that helps improve your mood, and scientific studies show that even the most innocent physical contact can improve a person's mood.
(h/t The Ladders)