Tuesday, December 19, 2017


free mood booster
T H E   G U I D E  | F R E E   M O O D   B O O S T E R S
guide to boosting your mood & those of others for free, because it's not just about baths, and potions, and psychological work. It's good & feels good to be just kind to yourself and others . . .

Gallery Hopping
You don't need a background in Art History to appreciate galleries. My favourite Renaissance man, John Berger, spoke often of the merits of observation. You can read or watch the series on ways of seeing here.  In a research study, when participants observed paintings from artists ranging from Monet to Rembrandt, the blood flow to certain parts of their brain increased by around 10 percent, equivalent to that of gazing at a romantic partner. Either hop on over to a local gallery or museum or gaze at the online collections of MoMa or head to the Louvre for a virtual tour.

Colour Psychology
The journal Science and proponents of Colour Psychology have shown that the effect of colour can reach from treating not only seasonal mood fluctuations with more than 40% in increased contentment (!) and even mental performance but afflictions related to emotions such as disordered eating

Opt for light therapy or for a completely free option, simply incorporate more of the colour(s) that elevate your mod. You yourself are aware in your individual preference for what the effect certain colours have on you. If you think "pink makes me happy," that message is psychosomatically reinforced as a message to your mind. 

Organise, Clean, & Give
The merits of physical cleaning compounds itself into emotional cleansing or, as Aziz Ansari puts it, some sort of—queue music—sexual healing. Rather than tackling the entire house where you most likely have a few doors behind and holes in which you have stuffed stuff, focus on one drawer or closet. Perhaps it's the pantry where you have unexpired dried & packaged goods you could donate. There's certainly at least a handful of clothing that you could spare to take to Goodwill. If not, maybe lend a parent a hand in cleaning out theirs to donate retired suits to donate. Business suits can be so costly and especially for those who are unemployed. Dress for Success is a powerful organisation that helps women entre the workforce by providing business attire for interviews.

You can also give your time if, of course, time permits. My family and I are planning on volunteering our time at a local soup kitchen for the Holidays. You can search for the nearest one for you. When we do good, we feel good. It's not a matter of "others have it worse" but perspective on humanity—meeting others in their basic needs of shelter, food, and comfort. 

Another great mind I have long admired (and aspired to in my medical school prep days when I was intending to be a neurologist), Oliver Sacks sings of the neurological effect music has on our brains. In his book, he speaks of how there is no single musical centre in the brain but rather 20 to 30 networks that span across the hemispheres that analyse its different components. Such intricacy can be seen through a patient of his with Alzheimer's who "[had] no idea what he did for a living or what he did 10 minutes ago" yet "[remembered] the baritone part to almost every song he has ever sung." It was "the only thing that kept him grounded in the world" and so can it be for you. Here is a playlist you can dance to or emotionally escape away with to a warm, sunny daze . . .

Physical or Emotional Warmth
Surely loneliness can cause emotional turmoil and being embraced by a loved one can combat that to a certain extent. That is the emotional sensation of warmth and affection. Yet, when we are far from loved ones, do not currently have a partner, or are perhaps even in the depths of depression, physical sensation of warmth can also aid in increasing or stabilising mood. According to research, hot showers or cups of tea can be substitutes for the social sense of warmth by activating a similar neurological response as emotional warmth. Not to advocate for social isolation but to supplement it when and if possible. 

Fake It 'Till You Make It
Apparently this is not a clichéd myth when it comes to psychosomatic pathways. According to a study that, of all participants, looked at those who recently received Botox injections, a procedure that inhibited their ability to frown. Despite not directly feeling more attractive immediately post-procedure, they did report feeling happier and less anxious. The conclusion was that this was due to their inability to pout and frown. Again, this is not to advocate for suppressing any welling of negative emotions, but when we are in a neutral or blasé state, to see how shifting our facial muscles into a smile can provide a neurological feedback to uplift our mood, too.

Rewrite Your Future
So, not technically but you can possibly shift the perspective of the future version of yourself by sending your future self an e-mail to be delivered a year or five years from now. It's a point of reflection that might shift your current perspective, too, into one of gratitude.