20 Ways To Boost Your Mood When You're Depressed

20 Ways To Boost Your Mood When You're Depressed

Mood boosting activities that are sure to put a smile on your face.

As a college student, I feel like everyone I come in contact with has some sort of mental illness, whether it's depression, anxiety, ODC, bipolar disorder, etc. As someone who personally struggles with depression, these are some of the things I sat down and thought of that could help someone who isn't having the best day.

1. Play with an animal

I know that not everyone has an animal, but I know for a fact that emotional support dogs are very popular on campus. If you don't have a dog, someone in your contacts list on your phone does. If that doesn't work out, I know that my local animal shelter has a day where you can "rent-a-dog" for a couple hours. Even getting a few hours with a dog can make your day, and theirs, brighter.

2. Vent to someone

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by the number of people who don't talk about their issues. Keeping things bottled up isn't going to help you, it's only going to hurt you. You're going to think you're the only one with these emotions which will lead to isolation. If you are hurting that much, I promise someone is going to listen.

3. Call your mom

I won't tell her this to her face, but I genuinely love calling my mom. Once you move out of the house, you start to cherish the conversations you have with your parents more. Calling my mom can put me in a good mood because sometimes I just want my mom. It's our instinct as their children to want our parents. You can even combine my previous point with this one and just vent to your mom about what's happening in your life. No one is going to want to listen to you more than your mom.

4. Go to Barnes & Noble

I don't know about you but I love books. I wish I wasn't in college so I had more time to read books, because it genuinely brings me joy. But just going to Barnes & Noble makes me happy because it's like "my place." This is a space where I can just grab a book, grab a coffee, and start reading. It's a way for me to escape, and there are an endless amount of books you can choose from! You can get lost in an adventure book, or you can take notes as you're reading a self-help book (aka my favorite). Don't knock it till you try it.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Asked For Help On A Barnes & Noble Bathroom Stall

5. Workout

As someone with depression, I know this is the very last thing you want to do when you're not having the best day. All you want to do is lay in bed, watch Netflix and drown yourself in your misery. But if you've ever worked out in your entire life then you know that post-workout feeling is the best. You feel good, you look good, you feel like you can conquer the world.

6. Cook a meal

I know that not everyone knows how to cook. When you're in college you're always surprised by how many people only know how to cook mac n cheese and ramen. For me, I love cooking. I meal prep as often as I can and it makes me so happy. I'll go in my kitchen and play some music on my phone and just sing and dance while I'm cooking. For me, cooking is so soothing, it's almost like meditation to me. And on the bright side, you'll have food to eat once you're done!

7. Go on a drive and blast some music

My freshman year of college was one of the best thanks to this girl named Caroline. She lived in the dorm hall right next to me and whenever we were feeling depressed, we would hit each other up, get in a car and just drive down the high way. One time we almost drove into another state because we just got so lost in the conversation and the music! We would vent to each other about why we were upset and then once we were tired of talking we would blast music and sing along at the top of our lungs. It's such a simple strategy but it's so therapeutic. Even now, I'll sometimes go for a drive by myself and I'll blast some music and sing along. Sometimes I'll even cry when I'm singing, but I feel so good afterward.

8. Get off social media

I know in this day and age this is probably the hardest thing someone can do. I personally went through a 21 day cleanse from Instagram and Facebook and it had to have been the best thing I've ever done. When we're casually browsing on social media we tend to compare ourselves to other people. Once we start comparing, we begin to hate ourselves and who we are. Taking a break from the judgment for a while is so enriching and self-gratifying. It might be hard at first but just remind yourself that you're putting your mental health first.

9. Write

I love writing. It's the only thing that makes me feel adequate enough and gives me purpose. I first started writing in a journal, and then a few of my friends thought I should start a blog. That eventually took off and I loved it. I'm not saying you have to create your own blog, but writing things out is so therapeutic. It's hard for me to get what I'm trying to say out in the air, so writing helps me get my thoughts out and really get to know myself.

10. Grab a drink with someone

I'm not promoting alcoholism what so ever, but for me just grabbing a drink with someone is so relaxing. Just go to a restaurant with someone, buy a margarita and just talk. You'll be surprised at what can come out over some drinks.

11. Take a hot bath

This just spells relaxation all over it. Dim the lights, maybe light some candles, and throw some bubbles or a bath bomb in there and let the bath do it's thing.

12. Go to a new restaurant

If you're like me, food is your love language. I personally L O V E trying new restaurants. Getting out of your normal routine of going to the same places to eat might put you in a boring rut. Get out of that cycle and try a new place with some friends! Trust me, it sounds boring but it's actually a lot of fun.

13. Clean

When I have an anxiety attack, sometimes all I want to do is vigorously clean. For some reason it's like my meditation, I can't explain it. Sometimes you can be put in a bad mood because you're environment is dirty. Once you clean your room or the kitchen you'll feel so accomplished, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

14. Put on some makeup

I love my giant makeup kit. I have hundreds and hundreds of dollars of makeup. But I didn't buy that make up because it was pretty. I bought it because when I put it on, I feel unstoppable. There's just something that makeup does to a woman's confidence. I can wake up feeling like a completely ugly and disgusting blob, but once I finish putting on my full face of makeup, 30 minutes later I feel like Beyonce.

15. Go shopping

Getting a new item can make any woman feel like the hottest woman on the planet. You may have just blown 30 bucks, but you just gained priceless confidence. Even if you don't want to go shopping at the mall, I personally love grocery shopping. All of my friends think I'm so weird, but there's just something about the organization of grocery shopping, and the amount of products on the shelves that I love. It's strange, but grocery shopping is another form of meditation for me. Try it out!

16. Take a selfie

The right lighting and the right filter can make any woman confident in who she is. You can feel utterly disgusting, but maybe just try snapping a picture of yourself and see how beautiful you actually are.

17. Build your dream board on Pinterest

If you're a girl then you love Pinterest. Period. I personally love scrolling through it for cool DIY's, recipes, and wedding ideas. Try building a new board of inspiring quotes, graduation cap decorating ideas, tattoos, or new healthy recipes. It'll keep you busy and away from those negative thoughts.

18. Binge watch your favorite shows with your favorite snacks

The title of this one speaks for itself. If you're like me, sometimes when you're depressed you don't want to do anything. All you want to do is lay in bed. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though. Sometimes just laying there can be therapeutic. But while you're at it, grab your favorite snacks and have a relaxing day in bed without any responsibilities.

19. Get your nails done

I always feel like the hottest girl on campus when I finish getting a manicure. It's something about having nice polished nails that does something for a girls confidence. If your nails are on point then your attitude might reflect that and make you feel ten times better about yourself.

20. Choose to be happy

As someone with depression, I know this is hard. Depression is consuming and it's not easy to just "choose to be happy." I get that. What I'm trying to say is to make the conscious effort to be happy. Look for the happiness in the littlest things. Even when you're having the worst day possible, just try to have the best attitude and outlook you can possibly have, because at the end of the day, you're not alone.

Cover Image Credit: emicuratolo / Flickr

Popular Right Now

4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.


Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

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even drake gets down sometimes, but we all started from the bottom

You ever wonder why you get so down and low sometimes? Wonder why things never work out for you? Well it's pretty simple to explain, and the answer is you! Everything is not going to be the way you want it, and thinking negatively isn't going to help, but you can help yourself in a simple way!


Sometimes we get into slumps, droughts, holes, or are merely sadness. This can happen for a reason like you just got bad grades, you've had multiple interviews and haven't landed a job yet, your friends all are in relationships, and you're not. Or you just simply have no idea why you are on a slump and feeling down.

Having this feeling happens to everyone; it doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, or what you do. We all have heard Drake before, right? Even the most famous and wealthy have these times of desperation where their emotions aren't lined up to where they want them. Drake, for example, recently came out with "I'm Upset", which clearly shows he is upset.

But you know the difference between the way he thinks and the way most people think? He stays positive about nothing else.

One of the many Webster morals and mottos I have is the perfect one for when you are in situations like this, and it is one of my favorites, too! "Why worry about the things you have no control over? Just worry about the things you do."

I love this saying so much because it's true. I mean this in two ways. One, being why to be negative or think negative, that is what leads you to be in a funk and be in your head. Most of the times when we are down, it's because we put ourselves down by doubting our own selves, and that is because we overthink.

We are in our heads, and we need to get out of our heads. When you think about it this way, you start to question yourself about why do you do this to yourself. That applies to most of the shitty things that happen to us or the things we bring upon ourselves into our lives, whether that is crappy friends, crappy situations, a crappy relationship, or just plain crappy decisions.

There is something called the "Law of Attraction", and what this means is you attract the energy you bring around you. So, if you are always thinking negatively or thinking pessimistically, you are going to draw negative and uninspiring vibes into your circle, your vibe, your aura.

But when you think positive and optimistic, you will pull positive and fulfilling aspects of life into your own. That can manifest into a good job, more positive friends, and a better overall living situation mentally and physically.

The other reason why I love the saying is... why worry? If you are going to bother or stress yourself over something you have no control over, you are going to go crazy. Think of a dog when they chase their tail; we know that they are never going catch it, but they overwhelm themselves by trying to, and then they get tired out.

Well, that is what we do, myself included, when we obsess about the things we have no control over. Like traffic being bumper to bumper and you are now late to work, you got a crappy grade in a class because the professor was actually horrible, but you couldn't do anything about it, or being f-ed over in a relationship because of the other side.

Life just sucks sometimes, and it's something we need to accept. Everything is not always going to be rainbow and unicorns or, in college, straight A's and days filled with fun and partying. There will be the days where it's filled with sadness, sorrow, emotional and physical pain, and pure exhaustion.

But the one thing you must always remember is life is the way you make it if you do nothing to make it better or just are always in a negative mind frame. Well then, that's what you are going to experience, and you brought that on yourself.

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