By Kat Knights writer, tutor and mentor at Professional Academy
How often does your mood feel like it’s getting in the way of getting things done? If you feel in a low mood more often than being in a good one then it’s time to take action because happy people are productive people. Using a small toolkit you too can reduce stress levels, achieve more and, perhaps most importantly, feel happier.
Before we dive into the mood boosting toolkit it’s useful to have some context around just how much our mood impacts the way we behave; in particular how our mood in the morning shapes our outlook and behaviour.
In a study by Nancy P. Rothbard and Steffanie L. Wilk it was identified that how you feel in the morning can have an impact on the rest of your day.
The pair studied a customer service team in an insurance company and discovered that the mood the employees were in when they first arrived at work tended to stay the same for the rest of the day.
Employees who were in a bad mood performed poorly, taking frequent breaks and lowering their total working time. They were also less likely to feel good after dealing with a happy customer.
In contrast happy employees produced better work, took fewer breaks and were around 10% more productive.
Here are five ways you can take ownership of your mood and the rest of your day.
When you are mindful you are being conscious or completely aware of something. In other words, you are being fully focused on the present moment. Mindfulness can help to reduce extreme emotional highs and lows. It has also been shown in some studies that mindfulness can have long lasting effects. Starting your day with a short mindful meditation practice is a smart way to keep your cool. Check out the Headspace and Calm apps to get started.
Journaling helps you to set your intentions for a good day. It gives you an opportunity to stop and reflect. It can also help you think positively about situations or challenges in your life and provide context to them. Having a basic structure for your entries is an easy way to avoid staring at a blank piece of paper every morning wondering what to write. Here are some prompts you can use:
Get moving. Physical activity reduces negative moods and increases positive ones, leading to improved self-esteem and cognitive function. In addition, exercising outside in the natural daylight has been shown to boost serotonin levels, which will help to stabilise your mood. Aim to get outside first thing in the morning or in the winter months head out at lunchtime when the day will be at its brightest. If you can out into nature then it’s an extra bonus because getting into a green space helps to improve your mood too.
Highlighted by journals in the mid 1990s, there is a theory that social health is similar to nutritional health. We all know that junk food isn’t good for us and neither are junk food social interactions. The most socially nutritious interactions are face-to-face interactions with those who love and care about us. At the other end of the spectrum is social media scrolling, which is the equivalent of eating a burger and fries i.e. you might crave it but it won’t satisfy you for long. Start your day with a conversation with a good friend or work colleague who you can talk openly with, maybe sharing a joke or talking rationally about deeper issues.
A 2018 study into music and emotions, published in journal Music Perception found that happy music can make us smile while sad music can make us frown. Neuroimaging scans have also shown that listening to classical, folk or mediative music can reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Now that should be music to your ears!