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19 Ways to Snap Out of a Bad Mood in 5 Minutes or Less

smiley face

Have you ever been in a bad mood? That's a rhetorical question because, unless you're superhuman, surely you've felt cranky, sad, or just blah at some point. Sometimes there's a clear reason you're not completely yourself; other times, you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, feeling groggy, heavy, and like the only way through the day is to crawl back into bed and patiently wait to start again tomorrow (been there!🙋🏻‍♀️).

For long-term mood management, what you eat is key. Eating a plant-based or plant-forward diet has repeatedly shown to support brain health and mood, while mitigating symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because plants are packed with gut-loving fiber, which supports the gut brain axis and production of neurotransmitters that keep you happy and content. Plants are also powered with phytonutrients that fight inflammation throughout the body, including the brain. For more details on what to eat to support a good mood, visit How Plant-Based Eating Affects Your Mood and How to Support Your Brain and Mood Through Food.

Today, you'll discover how to snap out of a bad mood in 5 minutes or less through simple lifestyle tips that can help you leave the moody blues behind. Consider trying a few of the suggestions below the next time the moody monster comes knocking on your door. Once you find practices that resonate with you, or seem to work best, include them in your daily practice for mood maintenance.

19 ways to snap out of a bad mood in 5 minutes or less


Assessing hydration and gulping water are the first things I personally do when I notice I'm a little off. Nine times out of ten, hydrating helps, even if it isn't the sole cause of moodiness. You'll want to practice this one daily to keep moodiness at bay and for overall physical and mental health. For tips on hydration, visit How to Hydrate for Metabolism, Mood, Sleep, and More.

drinking water

Instead of reaching for the sugary sweets, reach for plant-based treats.

Often, when we feel sad, stressed or overwhelmed, we reach for sugar as it stimulates the release of dopamine and opioids, which offer temporary relief and a pleasurable taste. However, refined sugar, especially regular consumption, can wreak havoc on physical and mental health. Instead of grabbing the pint of ice cream or chips, try carrots and hummus (for something crunchy), chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough for something sweet, or plant-based yogurt with chopped fruit, nuts and seeds for a creamy and crunchy combo. Visit 15 Good-for-You and Non-Traditional Snack Ideas for snacking recipes!

homemade hummus

Take a few deep breaths.

Have you ever noticed that you naturally sigh when you feel stressed or overwhelmed? Taking in a deep breath followed by a long and robust exhale actually has physiological benefits and can activate your relaxation response, helping you feel calm and grounded, and improve well-being. Try this technique that takes less than a minute!


Go for a walk.

Research shows that consistent walking may help reduce anxiety and increase psychological and subjective well-being, especially walking outside with the sights and sounds of nature, fresh air, and sunshine. If you have limited time, consider walking around the block. Even a 5–10 minute walk can stimulate blood flow, break up your routine, and may help to shift your mood. If you have more time, consider a 15–20 minute walk, especially if it's sunny so you can also get the benefit of mood-supporting vitamin D.

walk in the park

Immerse in nature. 

Nature is a wonder and it can do wonders for our mental state. One review revealed that connecting with nature is associated with increases in happiness, well-being, positivity, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress. Take a 2-minute nature meditation by walking outside to your front yard or backyard and try to engage as many of your senses as possible. Listen to the sounds, gaze at trees and wildlife, feel the breeze, notice any aromas, and simply be present with it all. If you don't have access to a yard, consider opening a window to engage for a few moments. Read more in the article, 7 Health Benefits From Spending Time in Nature.

trees and mountains

Practice positive affirmations.

This is one that is personally transformative for me. Like the title of the inspiring book from Dr. Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, speaking to yourself in a positive way can shift how you feel. When you change what you're saying, your mind perceives things differently. Thinking negatively can make you feel unhappy. Thinking positively can lift your spirits and lead to happiness. Whenever you notice a negative thought pop up, flip the statement into something positive and notice how your mind and body feel. Get some examples here.


Dance like nobody is watching. 

Dancing is an instant mood lifter! It's been shown to improve well-being, relieve stress, and alleviate anxiety. Let go of any perceptions around how well you can dance and start moving your body to any beats that you feel from your head to your toes. Or make a plan to go see your favorite live music if that's what will get you moving.

dancing in the park

Sing to your favorite song. 

Sing it loud, sing it proud. Whether it's in your car, the shower, or out in public, research shows that singing can lower stress and cortisol levels and increase feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones, like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.

singing with headphones

Practice a heartfelt meditation.

Meditation is pretty remarkable in that it can rewire the brain. When practiced over time, meditation can stimulate neuroplasticity, forming new connections that support well-being. Heart-centered meditations are especially effective in eliciting joy, peace, and gratitude. Try this 3-minute heart meditation.


Pet your dog or cat. 

Research shows that petting a dog (guessing a cat or bunny or horse can all work well here too) can increase alpha waves in the brain, creating a sense of calm and reduce stress. It can also increase the 'love hormone,' oxytocin in both you AND your pet!

dog and its owner

Volunteer with your favorite organization. 

Okay, this one may take a little longer than 5 minutes, but trust me, it's worth it! You not only do something good when you're being of service, but you're also shifting the focus off of yourself and onto something else. Worries release and happiness emerges when helping others.


Try aromatherapy.

If you've ever noticed how the aroma of lavender or peppermint awakens your senses and creates a state of calm, then you've experienced the effects of essential oil on mood. There's research to support it! When feeling down, try lavender, ylang ylang, rosemary, sweet orange, or bergamot aromatherapy.


Try something new and different.

Routines can be wonderful and they can also be mundane. If you're feeling like you're in a rut, try breaking your routine. Walk or drive a different way to work, take a bike ride instead of going to the gym, or read a book instead of watching television as a way to wind down for the night.


Establish a morning routine.

You may be wondering why I just suggested breaking your routine and now I'm suggesting starting a routine. Studies show that a morning routine has the ability to increase happiness, reduce procrastination, boost confidence, support the immune system, and improve overall performance. A morning routine can empower, energize, and ground you. And, it doesn't have to be complicated! Try starting a 2 to 5-minute routine to start. Get some ideas here.

morning ritual

Sip on tea. 

Some experts suggest that the tea-making ritual is what leads to a calming state. Tea also contains the relaxation-promoting amino acid, L-theanine and has been shown to lower cortisol levels. The next time you catch yourself in a bad mood, try making and sipping on a cup of your favorite tea, taking your time in appreciating the ritual of both making and sipping it.

tea pot

Eat dark chocolate. 

From the sensory experience creating feelings of bliss to the flavonoid's ability to reduce inflammation to the prebiotic fiber's positive effect on gut health, is there anything dark can't do? I think not. Enjoy 1–1.5 ounces a day as a part of your healthy diet.

dark chocolate

Act as if you're happy and excited.

I you ever dreamed of being an actor, now is your chance to own it. Smile. Be silly. Play with your pet, child, or grandchild. Act as if you really are in a good mood. It can be an instant mood shifter! Try the simplest one first, smiling — and see what happens.


Call your bestie. 

Who's the person who brings out the best in you? Conversations flow seamlessly; you leave their presence feeling awake, energized, and uplifted; and you laugh together like you're the only two people on earth — call that person.

woman on her phone

Embrace it.

Perhaps you've tried all the things and they just don't seem to want to work for whatever reason. Sometimes embracing it, knowing it's just a passing emotion and being A-OK with it is the answer.


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