Stressed out? 25 activities to change your mood right now.

Are the holidays starting to take a toll on you? 

You know what I’m talking about… challenging relatives with varying political beliefs, commitments you aren’t able to avoid, rushing from place to place, too many obligations and not enough time.

Pretty soon you find that your mood has turned… you’re snappy, irritated, annoyed. You find you’re the farthest place possible from enjoying the lovely traditions and familiarities of the holiday season.

Let’s change that!

Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all linked. Picture a triangle where your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors each rest at one of the points but flow between each other; changing one will impact the others.  For example, when you’re in a great mood you’re more likely to think positive and hopeful thoughts and act in kind and loving ways. Likewise, when you’re grumpy you’re more likely to be pessimistic and short-tempered with people.

Shifting any of the points on the triangle will impact the other two (change your behaviors and your thoughts and feelings will follow suit).

Making small changes to how you interact in the world will subtly (and possibly dramatically) change your emotions and thoughts. Something as small as smiling and saying good morning to a stranger can create a ripple effect of positive thoughts and feelings throughout your day.

Here are 25 ideas to get you taking action right now:

  • Smile
  • Go for a walk
  • Meditate for 10 minutes
  • Splash some cold water on your face
  • Dance
  • Buy someone a cup of coffee
  • Read a book
  • Watch cute animal videos online
  • Skip down the hallway
  • Say “I love you”
  • Play at the dog park
  • Send a text to a friend
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Laugh
  • Start a gratitude journal
  • Watch a TED talk
  • Sing along with your favorite song
  • Say please and thank you to others
  • Sit in the sunshine
  • Call a loved one and tell them you care
  • Stretch your body
  • Compliment someone
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Tell a joke
  • Take a deep breath (or three)

If you’re interested in reading more, check out this blog I wrote about using mantras.  Using mantras takes a different approach to the thought/feeling/behavior triangle; by intentionally changing your thoughts you’ll influence your feelings and behaviors.

I’d love to hear what works for you and what your favorite activities are that reset your mood and/or thoughts… drop me a line to share with me!   



Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento Area therapist specializing in counseling for people healing from painful life experiences and traumas, support for individuals exploring their gender identity and expression, and the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway ‪50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call ‪(916) 547-3997 or email