Simple and Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood by Anna McChesney, MS, LPC, MT-BC

Sometimes we get stuck in a mood state we don’t like.  Sometimes we are in a mood and aren’t consciously aware of why!  Sometimes we are mad at the world and want to be left alone!  Reality is, part of being a human is to feel, react, and relate.  

As a music therapist and counselor, I see people all of the time who are trying hard to not feel.  To ignore their feelings because it’s unpleasant or uncomfortable or that say they will deal with it later.  While those are certainly an option of how to cope, there are many options to try that are easy, doable, and doesn't take much time and effort!

Today, I offer four simple and easy ways to improve your mood.  When practiced both personally and professionally, these strategies have shown great success in connecting our minds to our bodies.  These steps do not need to be done in given order, but are a few suggestions to incorporate into your bag of tricks when in need of quick coping skills!

  1. Be okay that things are not okay.  Be okay that you are not perfect, but you are a messy, powerful, alive human being!  Take control of how you feel in the here and now by accepting those feelings.  Acceptance is the first step towards healing. Try it!: “I am {frustrated, sad, lonely} right now, and that’s okay.”

  2. Be still.  Be quiet.  Breathe.  Then rinse and repeat as necessary!

  3. Find music to match your mood and listen and listen and listen...then stop.  In the 1940s researchers began to notice that if you find music that matches your mood, indulge in it, feel supported in it, but then begin to bring yourself out of the mood through the intentional use of music, you can control your mood.  So here are the steps to move yourself to a desired mood through a music playlist...

    1. accept your feelings,

    2. give yourself permission to be in the mood,

    3. find music to support the current mood and listen,

    4. progress away from the current mood state to the desired mood state by changing your music choice,

    5. give yourself time to be aware of the mood change and reflect on the process...what music worked to change your mood?  

  4. Sing like your mood depends on it.  Allowing musical sound to be released from your body boosts your mood.  True.  This doesn’t mean that you must sound like Lady Gaga or Mariah Carey.  What it does mean is that you are a musical being.  You are made to make music; whether that is humming, whistling, belting with the radio, singing in the shower, or karaoke time with your friends.  As a bonus, singing has been shown to increase antibodies that fight sickness!  

Give one or all a try; think of what you could gain through simple practice!?