Things to Try to Improve Mood

A menu of Small Habits that can make Big Changes.

Treat this like a menu, not a to-do list. Pick one thing to try at a time, focus on it for 3 to 4 weeks, then try something else.


Aim for 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Cut off screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Cut off alcohol at least 3 hours before bed time. Cut off caffeine 8-10 hours before bedtime. Make your room as dark as possible.


The best diet is one that you can stick to. Many of us know how to eat healthy but don’t do it. Do one thing each day to eat healthier than you did yesterday.


The best exercise is something you enjoy, that you can do year-round, that increases your heart rate.

Meditation or Prayer

Try one of these apps: Headspace, Calm, or Abide (Judeo-Christian meditation).

Build Connection

Connect face to face with someone you care about for 30 minutes or more, without screens or other distractions. Play a game. Talk about the weather, sports, or politics. Talk about what you have been reading or praying about. Just be together.


Pick a time – bed time or first thing in the morning. Write down your thoughts and feelings about the day behind you and the day ahead of you. Check out this guide for some ideas to get started.


Read for personal or spiritual growth. Read the Bible (or your relevant holy book). Or listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Or watch YouTube videos. JUST. NEVER. STOP. LEARNING. Check out this list for some of our favorites.


Picture what life would look like, feel like, smell like if you achieved your goals for the day/week/month/year ahead. Try to import the hopeful emotions that come up into the present, to give you energy and motivation for today.


Remind yourself of your values and goals out loud or in writing. Then add to that, “yesterday I lived out my values / moved toward my goal by… (list what you did)” and “today I will live out my values / move towards my goals by… (list what you will do).”

Track Your Efforts and Results

With the printable version of this resource, there is an efforts and results tracker to help you do this. See the video above for an explanation for how to use it.

Download the Printer Friendly Version of This Resource

Next Steps

If you're ready, you can get started with counseling at Restored Life. Or, if we're full, not in your area, or just not the right fit, you can get matched with a great therapist for you at Mental Health Match.
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