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Bad Mood Busters: 35 Surprising Ways to Boost Your Mood

We all feel down sometimes. Whether your issue is a symptom of chronic depression or just a short-term bad mood, finding ways to lift your spirits is key to feeling better and living healthier. There are a variety of options that can help improve your mood, no matter what's causing it. You'll find all the details on medications, therapy options, lifestyle modifications and more in our Depression Condition Center. We also recently turned to our vibrant Community for even more tried-and-true ideas. Many of our members are no stranger to depression and hard times, but they have also shared some of the tricks they use to bust bad moods and feel better. Perhaps some of these ideas can help you, too.

35 Bad Mood Busters We've Tried (that Can Help You, Too!)
1.      "Exercise has been the number one 'non-medical alternative' to turning around my depression. I started with just walks around the neighborhood, and then I joined some fitness classes. I'm taking a Zumba dance class and yoga, as well as a group strength training program. And now, three months later, I'm even running outside." – JULESROSE

2.      "There are two items I've found to be pretty powerful allies in my struggle against the big, bad 'D':  humor and creativity. They can be hard to summon sometimes, but I've found it so worthwhile to spend time cultivating them."  – CIRANDELLA

3.      "I find that it helps my mood when I don’t skip meals." – LOVESTOWALK49

4.      "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) worked really well for my PTSD." – SLIMMERKIWI

5.      "Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish rich in omega 3s have made a difference in my mood and are healthy meat alternatives. I always feel better after having fish." – LINWINAGAIN

6.      "I decided to help myself by setting several rules. I get out of bed by 9 a.m., take a St. John's Wort supplement, and get outside for at least 30 minutes every day." – PLANTAGO

7.      "Several things that help my mood are getting away from a situation that is causing the depression, having loving support and focusing on helping others." – __AMY__

8.      "I relieved my depression with a so called 'non-traditional' therapy but it wasn't a supplement or anything. It was a process or treatment called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). It sounds really weird, but it works for a lot of people. Its benefit may depend on what is causing your depression. Mine was due to things that had happened in the past that I was stuck on, and this helped me completely reprocess those things and move on!" – SADIE_B

9.      "Journaling can be good therapy for those who are depressed, suffering from a chronic illness, or are going through some rough times in their lives. I like to write about all the good things that have happened in my day as well as the bad. I often look back on the bad days to see how far I have progressed. The time spent is very therapeutic and relaxing for me!"  – ADAJLIM

10.   "The Spark Diet and SparkPeople lifestyle is wonderful for me. Combining it with the "Mind Over Mood" workbook by Padrewsky and Greenberger, continued psych appointments, and a strong support system has allowed me to be better than ever." – PLANCINA

11.   "Five years ago, my therapist suggested that I purchase a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp and I did. It is a good one and it has done wonders for me. I usually sit under it for about 20 minutes in the morning and can actually feel myself getting stimulated for the day." – DAVIDMCK

12.   "This is going to sound so simple, but what works for me is getting the right amount of sleep and exercise as well as petting my dogs."  – TRIXIERACER5

13.   "I've had a lot of luck with aromatherapy.  A friend suggested I use lavender in an oil diffuser, dropping about 10-15 drops into the water. Lavender can help with bipolar issues and depression."  – WRITINGBEAR

14.   "Getting enough magnesium helped my depression. I take either magnesium citrate or magnesium sulfate if I’m not getting enough in my diet." – CARENA

15.   "I recently was given this fantastic cream by my homeopathic specialist that contains essential oils of menthol, eucalyptus, lavender and vitamin E. As a bonus, it has been fantastic for my sinus headaches, too, in addition to my mood." – SANDYJ0822SS

16.   "I prefer non-medical treatments when they are effective. I can't afford counseling, but several other things have helped me make progress. SAM-e  definitely takes the edge off! My husband noticed a difference and now he makes sure that I don't run out! I have been taking a multivitamin with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D for my bone health, but I think it has also improved my mood. Exercise has helped a lot except for when I am really bad. When I am despondent or really upset, I seem to just get upset at my workout and quit. As long as I am just 'down' or feeling well overall, then working out usually helps, especially in the long run." – QUASAR7

17.   "I found some all natural, organic, apple cider vinegar capsules. In the couple of years that I've been taking them, my depression is gradually getting better. I no longer have bad episodes that last days or weeks at a time. Now my bad episodes last a few hours at the most!" – SPARKYCARLEY

18.   "One thing I'm grateful for is the love of our pets. One cat is VERY snuggly and I always feel calmer when he gives 'hugs' and snuggles. The other one is a bit of a troublemaker and the two together always makes me laugh." – MOMTO2CATS

19.   "I take an aqua class for people with fibromyalgia. It eases my pain and my depression. We have guided imagery in the class for five to 10 minutes. It felt stupid the first couple of times, but now I look forward to it. It seems to help what ails me physically and mentally." – PEACHZ3673

20.   "I found I had sleep apnea, and sleeping with a CPAP machine has done wonders to improve my depression." – SPIRITKEPPER

21.   "The best 'medicine' that helps my depression is talking. I'm fortunate to have wonderful friends who are more than willing to sit down with me and listen. They don't judge, they don't go off on tangents. They just listen." – COLLEGE_CHIC

22.   "I take a daily vitamin B12 supplement. I can really tell the difference when I miss a dose. It does help my mood." – CHAPIECHICK

23.   Some healthy foods I try to include in my diet that I think have helped with energy and depression are hazelnuts, salmon, sardines and spinach." – GROOVYKARMA1

24.   "When I start to feel my depression returning, I double-check my diet to make sure  I’m not overly restricting calories and that I'm getting enough healthy carbs." – SP_MEGAN

25.   "Mindful meditation, body scanning, breathing exercises and guided meditation can all help relieve stress, which is often associated with anxiety and depression." – MARYHOLMAN

26.   "I have a wonderful group of three yoga friends who meet once a month for meditation, book discussion and support." – CAROLJEAN64

27.   "I try to get outside and enjoy the sun, spend time hiking and just get away from all the people and the chaos of the city. I also like to listen to music to put me in a positive mood, especially The Beatles (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, and Love Me Do)." – SUSANNA530

28.   "The psychiatrist encouraged me to straighten out my eating habits, because they were leading to major mood fluctuations. I was advised to cut out all stimulating and calming foods, drinks, and herbs that were manipulating my energy level (stimulants like chocolate and calming foods like chamomile tea). Chocolate was the hardest, but I finally did it, and was happier for it." – SPIRITOFADOVE

29.   "I have developed many coping techniques such as meditation and stress reduction tips by participating in SparkTeams like the SparkPeople Stress Relief Challenge." – NANCYLEE46

30.   "Nutri-Calm by Natures Sunshine, which is a B-vitamin supplement with a stress formula in it, works really well for me in helping me stay calm and helping with mood swings, anxiety, and keeping depression blues down to a minimum." – MISSTONIA208

31.   "I continue to take Bach's Flower Remedies as needed.  In the UK they are widely used and well respected. Basically, they are trusted homeopathy for emotional well-being. Rescue Remedy is the most well-known, and I always carry it with me. Should I feel a panic attack coming on, a few drops will calm it right down. Besides the Bach's Remedies, I've started a weekly massage treatment. Not only is a massage a lovely treat, but it's incredibly good for the mind and body! I store all of my stress and tension in my back so it really is beneficial to unlock it and clear it away." – WOOLLYWORMHEAD

32.   "I read my Bible, walk outside (or on my treadmill) and open my blinds to let the sun in." – SWEETD50

33.   "I went to my doc about depression and she suggests I do an elimination diet because apparently there was a study done and over 70% of people with depression have an underlying food allergy or intolerance." – ANGELA_D01

34.   "I edit my environment. I try to avoid negative or critical people whenever possible or shut them down fast. I don't dwell on tabloid stories that won't affect me. I read the newspaper and news blogs rather than watching TV news that seems to focus on the grotesque at times. I play upbeat music, watch upbeat movies, and play with my cats and the neighbor's dogs. All of these approaches have helped me." – RIPPEDPAUL1

35.   "I've gone sugar-free and dairy-free. Both have helped very much with my mood and concentration." – CATHERINESMOMMY
What modifications and tricks have you used to bust bad moods or relieve depression? Share your tips in the comments section!
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Member Comments

Great ideas! Report
Good suggestions. As busy as the holiday season gets it can wear a person down. I'm going to try some of these for myself. Report
I was hoping this article would have some real advice.
I do not care to hear how members claim to improve their mood. While some of the claims were interesting, some of the claims were just non-sense.

Hearing music changes my attitude. When I get grumpy, I turn on the energetic music and it redirects my focus. Doesn't always work, but most days it does. Report
I really needed this. I suffer from major depression and am.taking an anti-depressant, however, pharmacy says the medication is out and they don't know when they'll get more. These tips and tricks are definitely gonna help in the mean time Report
Putting aside the "shoulds" and taking a bit of time for myself helps. Report
Good article & helpful suggestions. I find it I just get up & do anything ... walk around the house, clean off kitchen counter, take out the trash...anything for 10 minutes, that breaks my bad mood. Doesn't Spark Guy suggest 10 minute commitmemts? It really works for me. Report
I really wish they'd give depression a different name to differentiate "feeling down" from "chemical imbalance". Both are valid, but they need different things. Some of these suggestions work for one, some for the other, and if you have one and are trying out things for the other it can really just make things worse because then you'll start thinking nothing works for you. It's easy to get into that mindset and really hard to get back out of it. Report
Great article and good suggestions! Walking is at the top of my list along with music/dancing, strength training (if I miss a session, I feel I have let myself down), playing with the grandchildren, and mostly being with my husband. I never thought of diet as a mood buster but I think I will try that one. Thanks for the article! Report
Sometimes I just want to enjoy my bad mood. Report
Great article! Report
When my anti depressants stopped working, my psychiatrist recommended TMS (trans cranial magnetic stimulation.) My insurance covered most of the cost. I completed the treatments almost 3 years ago and have been off all meds for over 2 years. Report
Great article. I have given up sugar and carbs. I'm following the Ketogenics lifestyle. I have lost 41 pounds so far.


Nola Report
Sugar sends me into a tailspin. I try to limit it as much as possible. Also, negative, critical and self-centered people suck the life out of me. I spend time with them but need to limit how much time spent. Fortunately, most of my friends are positive, supportive and humorous.

When I'm with people I try to leave them feeling better than before. And having received way too much unsolicited advice myself, I try hard, but sometimes fail, to hold my opinion UNLESS asked. A positive word, smile, etc. goes a long way!! Report
A lot of great suggestions! Report
At some point, each of us needs a mood booster. Report
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