Got work? Undone laundry? A daunting to-do list? We certainly don’t blame you for feeling a bit beaten down by it all. There are plenty of times in college when you just really need a mood booster. But don’t worry—help is on the way! Here are four super-easy tricks to help you perk up in just 10 minutes or fewer (because we know you don’t have 11 to spare!).
1. Have a solo dance party
You know that feeling you get when an upbeat, feel-good song comes on? Maybe it’s Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” or The Jackson 5’s “ABC.” You hear the beat, and though you might be convinced that you “can’t dance,” you suddenly have the pressing urge to bust a move.
Well, have no shame. Not only is your impulse totally natural, it might also be the key to a better mood. Researchers at the Kyungpook National University conducted an experiment involving 277 Korean high school and undergraduate students to determine how different types of exercise affected their moods. And guess what? The study showed that aerobics and hip-hop dancing resulted in the highest “positive well-being.”
So download Beyoncé’s new album and let loose! Your mind will thank you. And, as a bonus, your glutes will, too.
Sitting still in a dark room with your eyes closed might not sound like “your thing,” but it turns out that meditation really can boost your mood, especially when practiced on a regular basis.
In a 2007 study published by Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, researchers taught participants a simple meditation exercise and then tested the participants’ perceived stress levels and mood states before and after meditating. Results showed that the simple meditation technique improved both negative mood and perceived stress in a significant portion of the individuals.
Not sure how to start? Check out this easy step-by-step tutorial to meditation. If you feel like you need more instruction, try Headspace or Insight Timer—both offer free guided meditation sessions and are available online or as iPhone and Android apps.
3. Sniff an orange
A study published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation found that when the fragrance of citrus was applied to depressed participants, their need for antidepressants decreased.
Pamela Heyen, a certified holistic health practitioner, suggests using therapeutic grade essential oils to get your dose of that citrus scent. These oils are unadulterated—in other words, chemical-free—and can be applied topically, dropped on your pillow before bedtime or even dissolved in a glass of water and ingested.
4. Download Happier
The mission of the new application Happier, according to CEO and founder Nataly Kogan, is “to help you be happier in your everyday life.” The site, which is available as an app for the iPhone (and is coming soon for Android), provides a space for you to record the things that make you happy.
Whether you write about a frothy cappuccino made just right or a morning snuggle session with your dog, Happier reminds you to celebrate the little things in life. Plus, you can browse the “happy moments” posted by people nearby and around the country.
With the click of a smiley-face icon, you can even “smile” at a post, at which point Happier will notify the user that they’ve made somebody somewhere smile. In essence, it’s a cycle of happiness at the click of a button.
The next time life has you down, try one of these mood boosters! Trust us, your happiness is worth it.