Stress and negative emotions are a natural part of life. The problem comes when those emotions start getting in the way of your productivity and success.
If you find yourself in a bad mood, it’s important to have a go-to strategy to put yourself in a better headspace. To help you, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to recommend small, actionable ways to boost your mood in less than 10 minutes. Try one of these tips the next time you’re feeling down.
1. Take a deep breath.
A slow, deep breath—a six-second inhale and six-second exhale—sends a signal to your entire body to relax by forcing you to be present. The best part? You can do it anytime and anywhere, whether you are alone at your desk or in a crowded meeting room. Try it out and you will see how much your overall mood improves.
2. Write in your journal.
Research in positive psychology demonstrates that writing your thoughts with pen and paper can have a tangible improvement on your mood. The success of products like the “Five Minute Journal” proves that spending five minutes a day writing about things like what you’re grateful for, what your goals are and how you could have improved your day can lift your spirits and make you feel accomplished.
3. Reflect on what you’re thankful for.
It’s easy to always want more. Entrepreneurs especially get caught up in hitting ambitious goals, achieving faster growth and outperforming the competition and sometimes rarely take the time to just stop and be thankful for everything they’ve accomplished. Practicing gratitude helps people regain perspective and appreciation, knowing that they’ve been blessed with the success they’ve had so far and the success they’ll continue to have.
4. Watch something funny.
When you start to feel stressed, tired or down, it is likely a sign you need to disconnect and take a break. When this happens to me, I turn to comedy. Put on your favorite comedian, show or skit and simply sit back and enjoy it. Chances are whatever is causing you to be down is not heavy enough to keep you from smiling or laughing. This process will immediately lift your spirits and act as an easy reset button.
—Jared Polites, LaunchTeam
5. Work outside.
One way to instantly boost your mood, relieve stress and deepen your thinking is to work outside. Relocating outdoors, even if just for a task or two, removes you from the artificial office setting and florescent lights and allows you to gaze at the sky and trees and breathe in fresh air during those brief gaps in working.
6. Take a coffee or tea break.
It may sound simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped away to sip a cup of coffee or iced tea when I’m stressed and then come back in a much better mood. Not only will your mood improve, but the caffeine can help fight headaches, relieve sinus pressure and give you some much-needed energy to make it through the rest of the day.
7. Strike a power pose.
One can control their mind with their body. According to some estimates, holding a power pose has been found to decrease cortisol (responsible for stress), which in return increases confidence and changes in mood. So, if you’re stressed out because of a job interview, business meeting, presentation, etc., find a quiet place and stretch out your arms and open your chest.
8. Do a short exercise
It is proven that having an exercise routine or simply walking every day makes us happier and puts us in a good mood. This is very important because when we get back to our daily work tasks, our productivity will be affected and enhanced, in this case with good vibes. Focus on the well-being of your body, and your mind will be balanced as well.
Meditation is effective even if it’s done for just a few minutes. All you need to do is spend some time with your eyes closed or just unfocused. Take deep breaths and follow the breath as it moves through your body. What this does is it ties your attention to your body and the sensations happening now. Spend 10 minutes this way and you’ll be pretty amazed at how good you feel after.
10. Call a friend.
If you’re having a bad day or moment, it doesn’t hurt to phone up a friend. You don’t even have to discuss what’s bothering you if your mood is severely affected in the moment. Instead, you can talk about something completely unrelated to help you get your mind off it and cool down. Friends are our support systems and it’s important to lean on them when we need help.
11. Listen to an audiobook.
I find that audiobooks are a great way to decompress when I feel frustrated or overwhelmed. When I start feeling flustered, I kick back, close my eyes and listen to a chapter in the book I’m on at that time. Fiction works especially well in this situation because it allows you to “escape” and then come back and gather your thoughts.
12. Play with your kids or pet.
Whenever I get down, angry or otherwise put out of sorts by life, I step away from whatever it is and turn to my kids. The way my oldest looks at life helps me get out of my own head. My newborn reminds me of what’s most important in life and always brings a smile to my face. Both of them lighten my mood almost instantly! If you don’t have kids, playing with a pet works just as well.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
Photo by @albertolopezphoto/Twenty20.com