We all experience ups and downs as we live through life. How you feel from day to day depends not on the outside factors such as your job or relationships, but on how you perceive them. Truth be told, you have little control over what happens to you. You do have complete control over how you react and pre-act to bring about positive mood changes and make coping with stress, loss, life changes or family worries easier to handle rather than making them an insurmountable obstacle. Here are some effective strategies you can use to better manage your mood: Listen to music: Studies show that listening to your favourite music regularly lowers stress and is an effective way to enhance your well-being and health, soothe the mind and give it rest. Just say NO: Being a “yes” person doesn’t always equal happiness. It can be a more effective mood booster to learn to say no to the people who drain your energy. You are being a better friend by not saying “yes” when you really mean “no.” True friendships are built on trust and honesty, not guilt and obligation. Put on a happy face: The simple act of lifting the corners of your mouth into a smile will flood your brain with mood-lifting serotonin. If you’re feeling down, crack a smile or watch as other people smile around you until it spreads to your face. The saying is true that when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you. Test the theory next time you see someone wearing a frown by sharing a smile with him or her. Cherish your four-legged friend. Time spent with a pet can potentially be more effective at reducing stress than talking problems through with friends or family. We’ll never know if our furry friends love it as much as we do when we stroke them, but we do know through science that the simple act of stroking a pet releases feel-good endorphins in the brain and reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Exercise or sweat a little. We all know that exercise will help lift the blues. But if the thought of going to the gym to pound weights or surrounding yourself with other sweaty people is enough to send your mood plummeting, opt for a quick home workout, jog outside or even 20 minutes of vigorous house cleaning. As long as you work hard enough to work up a sweat, your mood will reap a lifting reward. Disconnect and get together. Unplug and power down, ditch your electronic connections and physically get together with friends. Whether you are talking over tea, gardening, cooking, working out, or shopping, doing this with friends can be an uplifting experience. Joining a team sport, club or weekly small group is a great way to commit weekly to the mood boosting session. * Quote note: My mood takes a nosedive if I don’t guard my sleep. I use Red Reishi by Purica before bed to help quieten my “monkey brain” and lower stress that can disrupt sleep quality.