Well-Being//

13 Easy Ways to Boost Your Mood in One Minute or Less

You already have everything you need to feel better in seconds.

Flashpop/Getty Images
Flashpop/Getty Images

Neuroscience tells us it only takes 60 seconds to course-correct from a stressed mood, but having a plan for those 60 seconds is key. So we asked members of the Thrive Global community to share their best tricks for boosting their mood in a minute or less.

From taking a “joke break” at work to interrupting negative thoughts with gratitude, to wishing others well (a technique that a new study found decreases stress and boosts happiness), we heard so many creative ideas — which will you be inspired to try?

Breathe in a citrus scent

“Though this is always an ongoing struggle, I do a few quick things to stay motivated at work: I keep citrus scents around me — I use a room spray and even an aromatherapy necklace. I also have a few mantras that I say to myself, with the most prominent one being, ‘What could you do?’ It helps me keep perspective on what’s in my control.”

—Jessi Healey, social media manager, Mint Hill, NC

Take a “joke break” at work

“Lately I’ve been working in a team room quite often. Some collaboration sessions leave you uplifted, while some leave you more confused than you were beforehand. So we take a “joke break” to cut the tension. When we don’t have a joke on hand, we search for a joke of the day or ask Siri for one. It’s a great mental break from work and fosters camaraderie among my teammates. I always leave feeling lighter and more clear-headed.”

—Pratiksha Patel, people and organizational development, New York, NY

Boost your mood before you start your day  

“I begin my mood boost before I get out of bed. When my feet touch the floor, I say, ‘Today will be a great day!’ or something similar. The fact that this small activity that takes less than five seconds can make such a profound difference all day is astonishing.”

—John W. Sigmon, executive coach, Branchport, New York

Interrupt negative thoughts with gratitude

“When I begin to think negatively, I consciously choose to interrupt these thoughts and focus on being grateful instead. I try to think about the positive things I have in my life. I do this deliberately, and while some days take a little longer than others, I usually can get to a good place. I tell myself that no matter how awful life can be, there’s always something to be grateful for.”

—Bill Ryan, business coach, Charlotte, NC

Combine a physical act with a mantra

“I hook my little fingers together, inhale, and upon exhaling, I state aloud, ‘I am calm and relaxed.’ Once you’ve repeated that three times, you instantly feel your state shift from stressed to calm.”

—Tricia Mitchell, mindset and wellness practitioner, Yorkshire, UK

Watch a hilarious video

“Laughter is the best ‘mood medicine.’ I save short, funny YouTube videos to a specific playlist. Then when my mood is off, watching one or two helps me mentally reset. Sharing them with others and hearing their laughter amplifies this effect.”  

—Todd Garrett, marketer, Nashville, TN

Show yourself some compassion

“Words of self-compassion immediately boost my mood. I usually feel down because I’m being way too hard on myself, so I just say something like, ‘It’s OK. You’re OK. It’s normal to feel (frustrated/angry/etc). You’ve got this.’ Studies on self-compassion have demonstrated that this technique neutralizes the stress response, and it works!”

—Sarah Hodges, Executive Well-being Coach, New York, NY

Practice alternate-nostril breathing

“I recently went on a retreat with some work colleagues and re-learned the benefits of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana in Sanskrit). I can do it anytime, anywhere. It brings me a sense of calm, clarity, and peace — I feel the benefits even after just 30 seconds.”

—Megan Garheart, corporate recruiter, Baltimore, MD

Do a one-minute meditation

“A quick, one-minute meditation via Headspace completely turns my mood around, no matter where I am. I’ve even left meetings to do a one-minute meditation in the washroom — it’s such a game-changer for me!”

—Carrie McEachran, executive director, Mooretown, ON

Step outside

“Walking away from everything that causes me grief or stress boosts my mood. I hop on my bike or go for a nice walk if I’m not at home. Just being outside is the happy pill that helps clear my mind of all negative thoughts. Looking up at the heavens above also gives me a sense of peace, which helps me realize that it’s not worth being stressed over things I can’t control.”

—Kiki Dahlke, author, Tampa, FL

Play your favorite tunes

“Listening to music is a quick way to shift my mood. I brought an old-school record player into my office. Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, or Prince boost my mood instantly. I also turn off the fluorescent lighting when necessary, and turn on some Edison lights. Having a hygge atmosphere in my second living space is vital.”

—Dr. Tricia Wolanin, clinical psychologist, author, and yoga instructor, RAF Mildenhall, UK

Connect with your natural surroundings

“Taking a break to connect with nature helps me boost my mood. Here are two simple ways to quickly do so: looking out a nearby window and taking note of your surroundings (i.e., birds, trees, clouds, etc.) or touching and smelling a plant (i.e., fresh flowers) in the office.”

—Whitney Hopler, communications director, Fairfax, VA

Send someone a kind message

“It takes less than a minute and minimal effort to make someone’s day by using kind words — this is how I boost my mood. My loved ones are spread out across the country, so I get joy from sending a simple, loving text message or email. My notes usually express gratitude for that person, pay them a random compliment, or ask how their day is going. Moving my attention to someone I care about is how I pick myself up.”

—Melissa Muncy, content marketing, San Francisco, CA

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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