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10 Mental Health Exercises That Improve Mood

Your mental health has a profound impact on your mood. If you find your mood has changed recently, you may want to consider trying a few mental health exercises to improve your mood.

Taking the time to explore a few mental health exercises will help you improve your mindset and mood from negative to positive.

In this article, we are taking a closer look at ten mental health exercises that improve mood.

10 Mental Health Exercises That Improve Mood

It happens to everyone, you are having a good day and then suddenly, your mood starts to change. Maybe someone said something negative, maybe you were disappointed at work, or maybe your mood shifted for no apparent reason.

It is normal to have mood shifts. According to Mental Health First Aid, nearly half of Americans adults will experience some type of mental illness in their lifetime.  It is when these mood shifts begin interfering with our ability to complete our responsibilities, whether at home or at work there is a cause for concern.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your mood when you feel it beginning to shift downward.

Keep reading to learn about nine specific mental health exercises you can start doing today to improve your mood.

1. Use Your Scents

Our sense of smell offers many benefits, one of which includes sending messages to the brain based on what you are smelling.

Smelling certain natural scents provide a boost to your mood. Many people practice improving their mental health with aromatherapy and essential oils.

Smells to improve mood include peppermint, jasmine, cinnamon, lemon, orange, rose and frankincense.

2. List Your Blessings

While you may not feel like being thankful in the moment, taking time to write down at least ten things for which you are grateful can help you realize what you are experiencing is only temporary and that the situation could be a lot worse.

Your list can contain anything you consider a blessing. Envision each blessing as you write about them. They will likely make you smile.

3. Find Something Funny

Laughter has been shown to lift moods instantly. Find a way to have instant access to something funny. Keep a comic book in your desk. Bookmark a webpage on your computer that offers jokes or stories you find humorous.

Call that one friend or family member who always makes you laugh no matter how bad you are feeling. You will be feeling better in minutes.

4. Do Something Nice

Counteract your bad mood by doing something nice for someone else. Giving back feels good. It makes you feel rewarded and valuable.

Doing something nice can mean simple actions that bring a smile to someone else. Buy your co-worker a coffee, send flowers to a family member, surprise your partner with a quick phone call to encourage them and lift them up. Realizing their happiness will lift you up as well.

5. Reset Your Daily Goals

Setting daily goals can help you stay organized and on track. You can see the accomplishments you have made throughout the day.

If you start to feel your mood shift, being disorganized and cluttered will only enhance a bad mood. Having your daily goals displayed, with successes already accomplished, can make you feel more positive.

While setting daily goals, make sure they are realistic and can be accomplished within your day. Do not make so many goals that you would have to work overtime to complete them.

Do not be hard on yourself if you do not complete all goals. Instead, focus on the goals you did accomplish. Be proud of what you completed.

6. Step Outside

Whether you are at the office or at home, taking a break from the indoors can give your mood a boost. The sun provides vitamin D that is associated with boosting serotonin in the brain and fighting off depressive symptoms.

While outside, you can also take a brisk walk around the block. Exercise, even if done for ten minutes or less, has been shown to enhance mood.

7. Contact a Therapist

Talking to a professional allows you the confidential venting opportunities you cannot always find with friends and family members. In addition, a therapist can give you tools and techniques to use when you find yourself feeling down but are not able to make an appointment.

Working with a therapist helps you get to the root of any issues you may be having that could be attributing to your mood shifts. They can also help you make yourself and your health a priority, so you can better handle the ups and downs of life.

8. Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness includes paying attention to your breaths and listening to the needs of your body. Too often, you dismiss the aches and pains you have been feeling so you can complete other tasks. Or, you put off implementing healthier lifestyle activities because you are rushed for time.

Mindfulness can help you slow down and take notice of what your body is telling you. Even ten minutes of deep breathing can help you get more oxygen into your body.

Ten minutes of meditation, prayer, stretching or yoga can help you focus and regroup. This will also promote a boost in your mood because you are making time to care for yourself.

9. Listen to Music

Listening to positive, upbeat music can make you feel positive and upbeat. When you are feeling like your mood is shifting negatively, stop and play an uplifting song. Put in your earbuds and listen to it repeatedly.

Avoid listening to music that is sad or has negative lyrics. If you do not have access to music when you are feeling down, simply start singing a happy song. Force yourself to start singing if you must. Repeat the song until you are smiling.

10. Self-Affirm

Affirmations are a great way to boost your mood. Self-affirmations are statements you tell yourself that are true and that will make you feel good. Statements such as, “You got this!” or “You are a great person” are often used.

You can write affirmations on post-it notes and hang them on your mirror, your computer, and anywhere else you visit often.


Now that you know a few mental health exercises that improve mood, you can explore each until you find one or two that work for you.

Acting immediately to improve your mood can help you fight off the pull of negative thoughts. You can start trying these exercises today.

If you find you need additional help in improving your mood, reach out to a therapist for help.