Feeling down? Here are 3 science-backed ways to feel better now

When we find ourselves in a bad mood, we can either simmer in those negative feelings or choose to do something about them. The Optimist Daily is a fan of the latter option, which is why we want to share with you a few methods for immediate mood management that scientists have proven to be effective. These methods aren’t long-term solutions for happiness, but they can help you turn things around mentally when you’re feeling overwhelmed with sadness or anxiety.

Breathe it out: Studies have demonstrated that just a few minutes of deep and slow breathing can significantly decrease feelings of angerdepression, tension, and even physical pain. As reported in Psychology Today, there’s not much evidence that the specific program of deep and slow breathing you follow matters. Just pick one that you feel comfortable with. If you need inspiration, check out this breathing exercise we wrote about to help people calm their election stress.

Work it out: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—exercise is a powerful way to boost your emotions. In fact, just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can improve your mood for several hours afterward. Regular exercise has also been shown to help those struggling with major depression to improve their mood.

Write it out: One way to shift your focus away from your own suffering is to direct your thoughts toward gratitude. Back in 2003, scientists found that spending a few minutes writing a letter to someone for whom you’re grateful can result in an immediate improvement in mood. Just think about someone you appreciate, put your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and start expressing to that person why you are grateful for their presence in your life and what you appreciate about them as a person. Then mail the letter or just hit “send.” Need inspiration for your letter? Check out the gratitude prompt we published yesterday from Lost Art of Love Letters, a writing project from artist Sondra Weiss. 

At the Optimist Daily, we recognize the emotional terrain has been tough for people lately. We hope our lifestyle pieces help give you some guidance in these tricky times.

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