If chaotic times make you feel out of sorts, well, that’s totally normal. But since your thoughts become your words and your words become your actions, it’s key to have techniques to instantly lift your mood. That’s why Instagram’s favorite licensed psychotherapist, Whitney Goodman (“Sit With Whit”) is sharing her favorite techniques and activities for instantly feeling better, no matter the crisis.
5 Tips for Lifting Your Mood
1. Validate your mood. Goodman says it’s totally normal if you’re feeling a variety of emotions — this happens in a crisis or other stressful time. The trick is not to judge yourself harshly for whatever it is you’re feeling. Instead, understand that crisis affects mood, and let that acknowledgment lead you into the next tip…
2. Use curiosity. Goodman says it’s important totry to understand your own mood. One of the best ways to do so is by asking yourself questions. “Don’t judge your mood or try to push it away,” she says. Instead, ask what internal (or external) crisis is affecting your mood, and move forward with that knowledge.
3. Use self-compassion. As you move forward, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. “Telling yourself, ‘It makes sense why I feel this way’ can go a long way,” Goodman explains.
4. Sit with the feeling if it feels safe. Often, pushing emotions away or trying to escape them can make it worse. If you can allow the feeling to move through you, it will usually get less intense.
5. Evaluate your resources. If acknowledging your mood and analyzing the chaos that’s causing it isn’t enough to help make you feel better, it’s a good idea to evaluate your resources. “Look at what you have access to and what has helped you manage your moods in the past,” Goodman suggests. This can be everything from music and meditation to talking to a trusted friend or seeking out professional help.
Mood-Boosting Activities to Consider
Sometimes action is really what it takes to kick the mood-boosting process into gear — especially if you’re unsure what your resources are in a specific scenario. For that reason, we asked Goodman to share her favorite mood-boosting activities, which double as resources in times of crisis. So, if you find yourself in a funk, consider the below practices to help lift yourself out of it.
1. Talk to friends or people who you feel safe with. Communication is everything!
2. Get outside. There’s no denying that a little fresh air can work wonders for the soul — especially if it’s paired with a bright blue sky, an ocean breeze, or being surrounded by trees. Nature has a way of bringing things into focus.
3. Move your body. In the wise words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
4. Making sure you’re meeting your basic necessities. Sleeping, eating and drinking water should be your top priorities every day, but especially during a crisis.
5. Take time for introspection. Journaling, therapy, meditation, and laughter are all wonderful ways to tap into it.
How to Set Boundaries to Protect and Cultivate Your Happiness
Tips and mood-boosting activities won’t be effective if you’re unable to set boundaries with your time, the people in your life, with yourself, your work, your finances — the list goes on and on! After all, you need to be able to set aside the time (and, in some cases, money) to support your process. Goodman recommends taking a step back to think — “If you have something in your life that is causing you a lot of distress, there is typically a way to set a boundary [to lessen the strain].” Figuring that out (and sticking to it) should set you back on the path to a positive mood.