1. Smile and laugh. You might have to force yourself to smile. But practice smiling while talking to people. It will make you seem more approachable and help improve your mood. Laughter is even better for improving mood. Search YouTube for short videos with bound-to-make-you-laugh stand-up comedians, such as Ellen DeGeneres.
2. Plan a couple of lunch or dinner dates. Call a couple of friends, family members or colleagues and plan some lunch or dinner dates, perhaps at a couple of new cafes or restaurants that you have been wanting to go to. Having something to look forward to can boost your mood.
3. Practice mindfulness. The basic principle of mindfulness is not to dwell so much on the past and the future. Continuing to be angry about a past event or worry about a future event can really waste precious hours of your life. Tell yourself that nothing really changes regardless of how much you think about the past and, in many cases, the future. Force yourself to think about something peaceful and positive instead.
4. Eat a couple of pieces of dark chocolate. Eating just a few pieces of dark chocolate (higher than 70% cocoa) can lower the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines in your bloodstream, leading to reduced levels of anxiety.
5. Drink hot or ice green tea. Green tea contains theanine, which has a calming effect on your body.
6. Ask questions. Being interested in other people’s lives can help alleviate depression. Ask the people you encounter during your day questions about what they did over the weekend, how their children are doing or what they are working on. Even if you are not really interested in what they say, this very behavior will create brain activity that is similar to real curiosity.
7. Compliment others. Being nice to others, for example, by complimenting them usually will improve their mood but it can also improve yours. So find something nice to say to people you talk to. Are they wearing a nice shirt or necklace? Do they look happy? Do they look like they are full of energy? Tell them.
8. Avoid hanging out with negative people. Negativity is infectious. Hanging out with someone who is depressed or who is just generally a grumpy person can make you negative and grumpy, too. Find cheerful people to talk to and hang out with. Cheerful people can pass on some of their positive thinking to you.
9. Break down your long-term goals into smaller goals. Set some goal for the day or the week. Small ones that you can easily reach. Whenever you reach a goal, you will get a sense of closure that will improve your mood.
10. Buy a light box. Bad mood can be the result of SAD. SAD is characterized by depression, anxiety, irritability and sleep disturbance in response to bad weather and lack of sunlight. Light boxes are designed to treat SAD, both severe and mild cases, and most people’s winter mood improves after only a few exposures.