Sometimes, you just need a pick me up. Whether you had a bad day at work, your kids are acting up or something more serious, having the skills to boost your mood can make the frustrations of life a whole lot more bearable.  So tuck this list away in your wallet or tack it your refrigerator or computer screen. You never know when you need a mood-booster. Here are five research-based ways to boost your mood in under five minutes:

1.  Count your blessings.

Write down three things you’re grateful for. Gratitude is good for you. It shifts your perspective – forces you to think about the good rather than dwelling on the bad. And writing your blessings before bedtime can even help you sleep more deeply.

2.  Curl up the corners of your mouth.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Now smile.  Studies show that even if you don’t feel happy, making yourself smile releases feel-good chemicals in the brain!  So bite down on a pencil if you need to – but flash those pearly whites, turn up the corners of your mouth, and you’ll feel better.

3. Dance!

OK, my preference is to dance. Turn on your favorite song.  But if you prefer jumping jacks or a run around the block or whatever, do your thing. The point is, get moving! Exercise is a mood booster.

4. Sing – badly!

Did you know singing is good for you? But the key is to not care how good you sound. Just belt out that tune – off key, if necessary – purely for the joy of it.

5.  Bless somebody.

There’s no better way to feel good fast that to do something to make someone else smile. Altruism takes the focus off of ourselves and helps us connect to the people around us, reminding us that what we do matters.  Self-absorption is a recipe for depression. Who could you help right now?

My challenge to you: Boost your mood in the next five minutes. Then put this list somewhere to remind you of the little things that can make a big difference in how you feel.

Valorie Burton (www.valorieburton.com) helps people get unstuck so they can be unstoppable. She is the author of multiple bestsellers, including Successful Women Think Differently and What’s Really Holding You Back? Follow her on Twitter @valorieburton and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valorieburtonfanpage.

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