Physical exercise helps to lift your mood. What’s more, the effects are immediate. You don’t have to train for weeks to benefit, and even a brief, brisk 15-minute walk will do the trick.

You don’t have to take my word for it, just try it. You could start by taking a regular daily walk. This will begin to affect your mood, and as the effect accumulates you’ll notice changes in your outlook.

It’s evidence-based

“Much evidence indicates that tense-tiredness helps create the most
undesirable moods and probably underlies depression, low self~
esteem, negative thoughts of all sorts, and many kinds of dysfunctional behaviour, including the use of drugs and alcohol to alter mood.” (Thayer 1996)

The obstacle is that, when you feel down, you often lack the motivation to do anything about it.

The solution, according to Thayer, is to use the knowledge that exercise can quickly lift your mood as a spur to action.  This takes “a kind of teeth-gritting self-control” driven by the promise of positive change. But because the results are immediate, you don’t have to wait for the pay-off.

A key factor here is the understanding that you do have control and that you can lift your mood, rather than the mood controlling you. The challenge is that It’s hard enough to alter your own mood, and if you don’t believe that it’s possible, why would you even start?

Overcoming this negative belief is easier if you simply ignore it and engage in some simple exercise. Once you actually get started there’s an extra payoff, you can feel good bout taking the first step — small change like this can quickly build into bigger change.

The alternative is to do nothing, but w5hen the mood wins, you lose.


Thayer, R. E., (1996), The Origin of Everyday Moods; Managing Energy, Tension and Stress, Oxford University Press, Oxford.