If 2020 caught you off-guard, you are not alone! Times are unusual right now, but there are plenty of things we can do to stay positive. If you’re finding that you need a way to boost your mood, try these four activities:

1. Exercise

According to Mark Stibich, PhD, “When you engage in high-intensity exercise, your body and brain produce hormones and neurotransmitters that have a positive impact on your mood, memory, energy levels, and sense of well-being.” Cardiovascular and aerobic exercises like swimming, biking, jogging, team sports, or even dancing are all examples of workouts that will help you push your way through a bad mood. Additionally, yoga and tai chi are praised for their total-wellness benefits. Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be a big event. Even going for a walk around Garden Grove counts. The point is to get moving in order to release those endorphins!

2. Volunteer

If you’re finding yourself upset about the circumstances in your life, try to shift the focus to someone else in need. According to Project Helping, “Volunteering helps improve your mood, makes you feel healthier, increases your sense of purpose, and reduces your stress levels.” This might just be the perfect antidote for a bad day. If you’re wondering how to help others out during these socially-distanced times, check out this list of ideas for volunteering from a distance.

3. Listen to Music

Do you love listening to music? Well, good news: Research shows that music can improve your mood (and quality of sleep) while keeping depression and anxiety at bay. Also, for those who can’t quite conquer the practice of meditation, listening to music is a great alternative method for calming your mind. Be aware, however, that not all music produces positive emotions. “Tracks with a slow tempo, gradual chord progressions and drawn-out notes tend to be calming . . . while chaotic and up-tempo music tends to have the opposite effect.” However, researchers understand that these aren’t strict classifications, so go ahead and choose whichever tracks make you, personally, feel the best.

4. Spend Time with Your Pet

If you’re having a rough day, your cat or dog can not only sense it, but they can also help you to overcome it. The University of Missouri-Columbia conducted a study suggesting that “a few minutes of stroking our pet dog prompts a release of a number of ‘feel good’ hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.” There’s evidence to suggest that similar benefits can be gained by spending time with your cat. Play with them outside to see the additional mood-boosting effects of fresh air and physical exercise!

There’s plenty of uncertainty in our world these days. Don’t let that get you down. Try out these four research-supported, mood-boosting activities to make your world in Garden Grove a little brighter today!