What lights up your soul when you’re sad? And how often do you prioritize those activities when you need them the most? We often move through life, juggling our endless responsibilities without giving ourselves what we need; time to fill our cups. So, today, choose a few of your favorite fun activities to improve your mental health and mood below and receive the happy boost you deserve.
15 Fun Activities to Improve Your Mental Health and Mood
1. Hike and get in nature
Hiking serves a package of benefits that will surely lift your spirits. First, it motivates you to get outside and connect to nature. In fact, studies show green spaces increase your cognitive functioning and reduce your stress. Secondly, it’s a form of movement meditation that will allow you to reflect, regulate your breathing, and increase your emotional awareness. And lastly, it’s a heart-healthy exercise that will raise your endorphin levels while giving you a healthy dose of vitamin D. So, grab your shoes, and go for a hike to give your mind and body the gift it deserves.
2. Go for a walk or run
Similar to hiking, going for a walk provides the same benefits. It pulls you out of your home and into the sun for Vitamin D and nature. And it also raises your heart rate for your daily dose of exercise. But if you’re more of a runner, no worries. Running is more vigorous, burns more calories, and gives you an instant rush of endorphins. Both are a win-win.
3. Dance to your favorite songs
How many times have you felt alive and unstoppable when you let go and danced to your favorite song? Your answer is probably infinite. It’s not a surprise if you love it. It’s a form of expression, provides fantastic exercise, and, you guessed it, boosts your mood! Yet whether you dance at a club with your besties, alone in your room following easy TikTok dances for beginners, or you join a class, you’ll leave feeling happier.
4. Connect to your creative side
Have you ever noticed after creating something, you feel instantly better? Well, science has an answer. When you make art, you experience a release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Your stress levels decrease, and your confidence receives a nice little boost. So, connect to your inner child and paint, draw, color, mold clay, or pull out some chalk and draw what comes out.
5. Box it out
Sometimes it feels good to just hit something and let all the pent-up life and work stress out. But our pillows can only handle so much. Yet that’s what boxing is here for. It gives you a healthy outlet to channel your anger while elevating your heart rate. You’ll leave feeling emotionally lighter and blissfully happier.
Is your home clutter dampening your mood? We don’t blame you, but there is a solution; minimalism. It’s a fun process to clear and donate any items not lighting your soul. But it can be a tad overwhelming, so follow the 19 secrets of professional organizers to guide you to ensure you receive the mood-boosting benefits of clearing the clutter.
7. Create a bucket list
Bucket lists are all about the future. It gives you a creative and fun way to think about all the aspirations you want to achieve while elevating your spirts. So, whether you want to go skydiving, backpack through Southeast Asia, or learn how to cook Indian food, allow yourself to dream and create a list that encapsulates your desires.
8. Create a vision board
Like bucket lists, vision boards and visualizations techniques for manifestation offer a pathway into the future. It permits you to think about yourself and your needs. What do you want for yourself? What is your dream career, house, relationships, travel, or life? Think about what you want in detail, set an intention, and cut out pictures and words from magazines and paste them on a board to motivate you to manifest the life of your dreams. Nothing is out of reach.
9. Bake or cook something new
Do you have a habit of saving every mouth-watering recipe you find on Instagram and Pinterest for a rainy day? Well, today is that day to cook your favorite and make it. Baking or cooking allow you to focus all your attention on the present moment, curb negative thoughts, and channel your stress. Bonus, you also get to eat your delicious creation afterward.
10. Indulge in chocolate
An article about fun activities to improve your mental health and mood would not be complete without chocolate. Indeed, chocolate is a little miracle worker. Not only does it taste AMAZING, but it also raises your serotonin – the natural mood stabilizer that regulates anxiety and stress and elevates your happiness. But the key is dark chocolate (Check out these dark chocolate recipes). It’s rich in cacao, antioxidants, and mood-boosting properties.
11. Do something kind
Helping others is always at the top of the list. Why? Well, altruistic behavior creates feel-good endorphins and activates your human need for social connection. Plus, it positively impacts the life of another! So, pay for someone’s coffee or meal, smile at a stranger, hold the door open, ask your community what they need, or volunteer, to name a few.
12. Take a “YOU” day
What fills your cup and lights your soul? Maybe it’s a day when you do nothing and only listen to your needs. We all need these mental health days to recharge. They are necessary for our emotional and physical health. So, think about what that day looks like for you. Perhaps you ignore your devices, sleep in, have a self-care Sunday with at-home facial, binge Netflix, and eat ice cream: sounds like the perfect “You” day.
13. Host a theme night
What better way to lift your spirits than calling your closest friends and hosting a theme night? Not only will connecting with your buddies make you feel good, but a theme night will allow you to reconnect to your inner child. You’ll have a reason to play. Imagine a harry potter binge day, a game night, or super hero night where everyone dresses as their favorite hero. The options are endless.
14. Play and play more
When was the last time you played at a park, drew for the sake of it, got messy, or treated yourself? Fun is a core human need that’s necessary for mental health. It allows you to reconnect with your inner child, relax, release stress, and enjoy life. Reflect and think about what your inner child wants and follow that voice.
15. Binge funny and cute animal videos
While social media certainly has its drawbacks, one benefit is the endless content of funny and cute animal videos. You can get lost for hours smiling at cats loving their children, animal friendships that melt your heart, or watching a stand-up comedian landing jokes that resonate. Indeed, if you’re feeling sad, search for what you love and allow yourself to receive the benefits of laughter.
Which one of these fun activities to improve your mental health and mood did you love? Remember, we all need and deserve self-love and a day when we do nothing or everything that boosts our spirits.
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