1. Take a trip into nature
People with regular access to nature have a lower risk of stress or depression, according to research from the University of Exeter. If you’re in the 14% of people in England that don’t have access to woodlands within 500m of home take a lunchtime walk or run in nature. If you don’t have time, look at inspiring images of the great outdoors on your screen: research from the University of Minnesota found this stimulates parts of the brain associated with happiness and positivity.
2. Get into the groove
Turning up the volume on your favourite tunes can help reduce stress and anxiety almost instantly, as well as lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, according to research from Monash University in Australia. What’s more, playing a feelgood track and telling yourself that it’s going to make you feel better – and then focusing on how the music is making you feel – gives you an even greater mood boost, according to the Journal Of Positive Psychology.
3. Volunteer your time
It’s better to give than receive, and spending some time or money on a good cause lifts your mood. A charitable act lights up the same area of the brain associated with the pleasure we get from food and sex, according to a brain scan study by Chicago University, while research from the University of British Columbia found happiness levels increased in subjects who gave away money that had been given to them. Those who spent it on themselves showed no change in emotion.