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Five Instant Mood Boosters to Try Today

Quick solutions to turn your mood around when you're feeling flat.

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Everyone periodically finds themselves in a funk that involves feeling low in energy and confidence. Here are some quick, practical suggestions to turn things around when you're feeling flat.

1. Fix something that's broken.

Many of us have stuff around our homes or offices that's broken or needs some TLC, but we never seem to get around to it. It could be as simple as changing a light bulb.

Addressing a problem that has been hanging around forever can help you feel more in control and confident. And repairing something in the physical world can help repair a sense of fragile emotions.

2. Do something for yourself that keeps getting shoved to bottom of your to-do list.

I often have small tasks I need or want to do for myself that repeatedly get de-prioritized in favor of more urgent things. This can result in tasks like "buy tank tops" sitting around on my mental to-do list for months, until it's no longer tank-top season.

Give yourself a mood boost by prioritizing a task that's just for you, whether it's replacing old funky pillows, getting to the hairdresser or dentist, trying the new restaurant you've been wanting to sample, or getting the massage you've been craving.

3. Finish something you started and never got back to.

When you start a project and don't finish it, that's largely wasted effort. Too many examples of this can become rightfully demoralizing.

Identify a task you started, but didn't finish, one which could be completed in less than 30 minutes—ideally, less than 15.

Again, this could be work- or home-related. For example, I started cleaning out and organizing my kitchen cupboards ... about four months ago.

4. Handle a task that will create future stress if not attended to.

If you're busy, you probably have tasks that, if you keep ignoring them, are going to create future stress. For example, you know you haven't checked your car's water or oil lately, and your alert light is unreliable. Or you know you're going to forget to do something if you don't set a reminder for it, but you still haven't put it on your calendar (e.g., the appointment card for your child's next pediatrician appointment is still floating around your handbag).

If you have a lot of these tasks piled up, pick something that will take 15 minutes and something that will take 5 minutes, and get those things done.

5. Touch base with someone you care about with whom you haven't communicated in a while.

When you don't reply to an email or phone call, and then months pass by, it can feel awkward getting back to that person. Just do it.

Life gets busy. Most people understand that if you're making the effort to get in touch now, you care, but were too overwhelmed with other priorities and responsibilities to reach out earlier. When you do re-connect, it'll relieve your anxiety about not having contacted that person, and give you a boost from feeling socially bonded to someone who matters to you.

Which of these tips seems most relevant to you? What gave you a "that's me" moment? Feel free to ignore anything I've mentioned that didn't gel for you, and cherry-pick whatever you found most interesting.

Alice Boyes is the author of The Anxiety Toolkit. Get the first chapter free when you subscribe to my blog articles.

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