HAVE you five minutes to spare? Well, put down your phone and do something that makes you happy instead.
Poring over your screen for all the latest bad news about the pandemic can leave you feeling down in the dumps pretty quickly.
Dr Kathryn Buchanan, who led a study at the University of Essex, said: “Even a few minutes of exposure to Covid-related news on social media can ruin a person’s mood.
“We would all do well to be mindful of this and consider balancing our doom-scrolling with some kindness-scrolling.”
Better still, maybe do something else with your time to boost those feelgood hormones.
From ordering in a curry to faking it until you make it, here are 12 proven ways to lift your mood in five minutes or less . . .
ORDER A TAKEAWAY
THERE is nothing like a lamb bhuna on a Friday night. And on top of satisfying your hunger, a curry can boost your mood.
A poll found ordering your favourite Indian dish can raise your happiness level by 83 per cent.
One journal found curry ingredient curcumin boosted happiness and memory – so you will remember the good times too.
SWITCH ON THE RADIO
LISTENING to your favourite song can give you a psychological lift and has the added bonus of fending off depression.
Music can lower the stress hormone cortisol when performing difficult and complex tasks, claimed a 2006 report in the New York Academy of Sciences.
Researchers carried out stress tests on 24 students – after one group had listened to their favourite music and the other group had been waiting in silence.
BREW UP SOME COFFEE
IT takes less than five minutes to boil a kettle for your favourite brew, and the result could even put a smile on your face.
Caffeine has been shown to temporarily help people who are prone to suffering from depression.
In one study in 2015, researchers found that – particularly in coffee, and partly in tea – caffeine is a mood enhancer.
A Harvard University review claimed that two cups of coffee a day can halve the risk of suicide.
PLAN YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY
UST thinking about where you’re next planning to go on holiday can improve your mood without you even having to get up from your sofa.
Getting excited about going away or browsing hotels increases happiness substantially, a 2014 study by America’s Cornell University found. The idea of a jaunt overseas was even found to boost mood more than buying yourself something new.
MAKE LIGHT OF YOURSELF
NO one likes jokes being made at their expense but self-deprecating ones could actually make you happier.
People who can laugh at their own appearance or traits tend to be more content, a University of Granada study found in 2018.
Co-author Jorge Torres Marin said: “A greater tendency to employ self-defeating humour is indicative of high scores in psychological wellbeing dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability.”
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
FORCING a smile really can trick your mind into thinking that it’s happy. Scientists at the University of South Australia had volunteers hold a pen in their mouths to fake a grin.
Results showed that the volunteers ended up feeling happier because their brains couldn’t tell the difference.
WATCH THE FOOTBALL
GUESS what? Seeing your team winning makes you happy.
Researchers at Leeds University surveyed the mood of 25 Leeds United fans while watching matches.
They interviewed supporters after each game and found that whenever their team won, it lifted their spirits for 24 hours afterwards – and lowered their blood pressure.
FISH . . . FOR COMPLIMENTS
IT’S often been said that getting a compliment can be just as uplifting as being given cash – and now there’s proof.
In one Japanese study, 45 volunteers were each allocated a mundane task that they had to complete.
Researchers then discovered that those people who received compliments after doing the exercise were much more likely to work better the following day than those who received cash.
TURN ON TV IN THE EVENING
PEOPLE who switch on the TV in the evening are happier, says the journal Science.
The study, which was carried out on 909 women in Texas in the US, asked them to rate daily tasks such as sex or going to work.
Watching TV was rated above shopping or talking on the phone, researchers found.
However, one Polish study concluded that people who binge-watch TV series are more likely to suffer anxiety or depression.
DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
JUST ask fitness guru Joe Wicks – exercise can do wonders for your mood. You don’t have to trek all the way to the gym either – because even just a five-minute jog can reduce activity in the brain’s frontal lobe and make you feel calmer.
Meanwhile, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and also obsessive-compulsive disorder. And you’ll feel better being fitter.
CUDDLE A FLUFFY FRIEND
PLAYING “fetch” with your dog or letting your cat nap on your lap can immediately brighten your mood – raising levels of joy hormone oxytocin, which gives an instant feelgood boost.
A study from the Journal of Work- place Health Management also found people who take pets to the office are less stressed.
FIND TIME TO FEEL SEXIER
AN orgasm – whether you go it alone or are with your partner – can quickly make you feel happier.
It can even boost levels of endorphins oxytocin and testosterone for 48 hours afterwards, according to researchers at Florida State University in the States.
A report in 2009 concluded that when rats were injected with oxytocin, they were much more relaxed and had lower levels of stress and anxiety.