Improve your mood: 6 steps to feeling better.

meandering path to improving your mood

How can you improve your mood? How do you feel today? Do you feel motivated? Driven? Excited? Glad to be alive? Or do you feel apathetic, bored, lazy or just plain down?

As a Life Coach and NLP expert, part of my job is to help people feel better. This might be a short term boost to motivation or positivity, or it might be a long term plan to improve your mood by changing your life.

Can you really feel good every day?

To suggest that you can always be happy, positive and in a good mood, is unrealistic. Indeed it could even be harmful. Everyone gets those days when they feel down. imagine if you are feeling guilty about it as well!

The path to self-improvement is a wobbly one. Sometimes it meanders, sometimes it even doubles back on itself or disappears altogether for a time. Our moods are governed by so many things: life experiences; the words of others; what we eat, what we drank the night before, smoking, drugs, who we’re with, whether the sun is shining. The list is endless. And while there are many things we can do to overcome low mood, we cannot expect to eradicate these negative states totally.

Even if you are a positive person, you will be more positive at some times than others. If you employ NLP to help you feel better, it will sometimes be more effective than others. So sometimes, maybe instead of trying to feel great, the task is to just feel a little better.

Improve your mood in 6 steps

  1. Notice how you feel now. The first aim is always to gain awareness. Until you are aware what your mood is, and that it does not have to be that way, you cannot control change. You can only feel better by chance. Sometimes it takes a little while to recognise and accept that this mood can change.
  2. Choose a word that describes your mood accurately. Your emotional vocabulary is important, so don’t say you’re depressed if you’re just sad. Don’t say you’re furious if you are annoyed? Are you irritable? Cheesed off? Or are you ‘fine’? Ok? Cheerful?
  3. Ask yourself how long you want to stay in that mood? We tend to define our states of mind in terms of days, or weeks. ‘I’m having a bad day’. ‘It’s not the best of weeks’. By defining things this way, we can feel obliged to maintain them and forget the times when we felt a bit better. Would it be okay to stop feeling this way after an hour? Could we just spend 20 minutes feeling fed up?
  4. Break state. When you’ve enjoyed your mood for as long as is acceptable to you, break your state by doing something different. It could be something active, like a run, or the gym, or some yoga. It could also be something more simple, like moving into a different part of the house, going to the local shop, or baking a cake. Choose something that requires some movement. Even going outside the front door and looking at the sky will change your mood slightly.
  5. Count your blessings. I know this can sometimes be hard, but there is always something to hold on to. Have you got a roof over your head? Have you a family? Are you able to eat? Can you walk? Even if you can’t get excited about the positive things in your life, still itemise them. A gratitude journal can be one way of consistently doing this.
  6. Remember, your mood is not real. As bad as you may feel, you will feel better some moments than others. It’s hard to sustain the same mood for too long. So if that is true, even if your circumstances don’t change, that is a clue to the transient nature of mental states.

Robert Sanders is a therapist and life coach, supporting people in their present and helping them create their future.