We all have those days. You were 20 minutes late into the office this morning because some idiot backed into you. And when you finally did get to work, your boss got angry at you because you weren’t being a good example to the newbie. After the 7-minute extended disco remix of “Don’t Be Late Again (Or I’ll Fire You)”, you finally get to a desk stacked with paperwork and memos. You turn your computer on, you check your e-mails, and then it suddenly crashes – the sixth time this week – so you call the IT department who tell you they’ll be right up.
Fifteen minutes later, the IT guy walks into your office, completely oblivious to the fact that he kept you waiting. Miraculously, the PC works just fine, but the IT guy practically calls you an a**hole for bringing him up here for nothing. Add to that: rude e-mails from clients, a jammed copy machine, an annoying colleague who just won’t shut up about Justin Bieber, and yet another pointless meeting about office supplies when you have an important deadline coming up, and you’re about to start screaming.
See Also: 8 Ways to Get Through a Sh*t Day at Work
At this point, you begin imagining what it would be like slapping everyone with an eel. But you quickly realize that that will only get you into trouble with HR, and you just know it will somehow land you in a sexual harassment suit. Still, you know that it will instantly and significantly boost your mood, and –
No, Walter! Don’t do it – don’t – just put the eel down. PUT. THE. EEL. DOWN. PUT IT DOWN!
That’s a good man. Now, let’s have a look at some other – and far less extreme – ways to overcome a really bad day at work.
1. Eat chocolate
By now, we’re probably all aware how eating chocolate triggers the same feel-good endorphins to when someone is in love, but the health benefits do not just stop there. In addition to decreasing the risk of heart failure and preventing memory decline in older people, eating chocolate also helps combat stress.
Swiss scientists (duh?) from the Nestlé Research Center found that “eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate part on a daily basis can help to balance the body chemistry of people who are stressed”.
Next time you feel like you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown, just break out a bar of dark chocolate from your bottom drawer (yes, we know about that).
2. Listen to Music
Musical therapy exists for a reason, and several studies have found that music drastically reduces cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress.
Depending on office policy, you might be able to put your headphones on and listen to your favorite artists, whether that’s Luciano Pavarotti or Metallica or Justin *cringe* Bieber. It was also revealed that it increased productivity and made repetitive tasks easier to complete.
3. Chew gum
Yep. Chewing gum is another proven mood booster when you’re having a crappy day at work. Research suggests that it reduces anxiety, cortisol levels, and fatigue. In fact, participants who chewed gum twice a day for two weeks were significantly less stressed than their non-chewing counterparts.
4. Take a Power Nap
While this may be somewhat difficult to pull off, especially if you don’t work at Google, power napping could be just what the doctor ordered.
In fact, William Deardorff, a medical advisor for Spine-health.com, says that just 20 to 30 minutes of napping is enough to “yield many benefits such as a boost in productivity at work, lower stress, improved ability to concentrate, and enhanced mood”.
5. Look at Green or Yellow
The study of color psychology is not a new one, and several studies have pointed to its importance. Colors, it turns out, have the power to affect our mood on a level you wouldn’t believe.
Leslie Harrington from the Color Association of the United States says that looking at the color red can increase your heart rate. Green, meanwhile, “is relaxing because it is associated with growth and nature” and yellow “creates a very open atmosphere with people”.
Whether you’re looking at these colors or wearing them, you’re sure to see a boost in mood, energy, and creativity.
6. Hug Someone
Firstly, we’re not talking about hugging the person you want to punch. And, secondly, you might come across as the office weirdo if you randomly start hugging co-workers, your boss, and clients, so you might not want to do that.
However, hugging someone is an excellent form of stress relief and can even lower blood pressure. There’s a catch, though; Jürgen Sandkühler from the University of Vienna says that the positive effect of hugging only works “if the people trust each other, if the associated feelings are present mutually and if the corresponding signals are sent out”.
7. Smell Some Peppermint
You don’t necessarily have to pull out a bunch of peppermint leaves - unless you want to look strange.
However, that’s not to stop you from smelling peppermint, as its aroma has been found to be a mood booster and to enhance memory. Other aromas you might want to try include lavender and jasmine which both help calm stress, and lemon which is perfect for when you’re feeling run down or about to throw a heavy book at someone.
One of the easiest ways to boost your mood is to smile, which can also lower your blood pressure, relieves stress, and – yes – even make you look younger. Even if you don’t quite feel like smiling, faking it can trick you into actually smiling. This is pretty much the only time you’re allowed to use the “fake it till you make it” philosophy.
9. Watch a Funny Video
Whether it’s watching a man jumping into a lake, only to discover it has been frozen over (ouch!), or a puppy chasing its tail, watching a video that makes you giggle or laugh out loud is another surefire way to help you through the day. Loma Linda University researchers found that funny videos reduced stress levels and increased the memory abilities of people between the ages of 60 and 70.
10. Have Sex or Masturbate
We saved the best for last.
While having sex or masturbating in the office is generally frowned upon, to say the least (especially in front of everyone to see), and it may take more than just a few minutes to boost your mood (hey, we’re not judging if it doesn’t). An “orgasm does much to calm people” according to Jennifer Bass of the Kinsey Institute.
Plus, it also counts for exercise (or sexercise). Apparently, you lose about five calories for every minute spent having sex.
Do you use any of these instant mood boosters or have your own to share? Let us know in the comments section below!