boost your mood

Science-backed techniques to boost your mood

We could all do with a bit of mood booster at the moment, couldn’t we?

We’re always keeping a look out for science-backed strategies to improve productivity, collaboration and everything in between, but today we’ve got something special for you.

After scouring the internet (and drinking plenty of coffee while we do it) we’ve come across some interesting findings that’ll help you to boost your mood with the power of science. 

Sounds pretty great, right? Alright, let’s get straight into the good stuff.


Science-backed activities to boost your mood.


Try an at-home yoga session.

Working at any desk for a long stretch of time can leave you feeling stiff, sore and a little bit restless. An at-home yoga session is a fantastic way to boost your mood during the middle of a remote workday. 

In a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (a peer-reviewed journal) it was found that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas that give rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

Now, what the heck is GABA? Well, it’s not a tribute band spinoff for ABBA, that’s for sure. 

Below is a 2-minute video explainer. Don’t have time to watch it? Keep on reading for a quick explanation.

GABA is gamma-aminobutyric acid and in the context of this study, it’s function means that after a yoga session it’s likely that you’ll feel a reduction in anxiety and an overall sense of calm. That’s GABA working its magic on your brain, how cool is that?


Add some natural sounds to your work from home playlist.

Are you pumping a playlist in the background while you work from home? It’s something a lot of us already do but with a few additions you can boost your mood while barely lifting a finger.

Thanks to researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, we now have a better understanding of how background noise impacts our cognitive abilities. One of the key benefits of listening to randomised natural sounds (like the sound of flowing water in a mountain stream) is an improvement in overall mood.

This study builds upon the findings of a previous study from the same researcher (Jonas Braasch) where it was noted that natural sounds made it easier for people to regain focus on tasks versus silence or machine-based sounds.

Want to get your hands on some natural noises to add to your work from home playlist? Take a look at the Naturespace App for iOS and Android devices or if you want to stick to YouTube, give this playlist a try.


Show kindness to someone else.

At Pragmatic Thinking we’re always encouraging our clients to prioritise personal connection, kindness and gratitude within their teams. 

In fact, we believe in this so much so that a new addition to our company values made its way onto the scene in 2020 – ‘We practice appreciation’. This means showing our appreciation through our words, actions and random acts of kindness.

Science backs us up on this with a 2019 study out of Iowa State University showing that adopting a mindset of loving kindness for others has a positive impact on your mood.

They described ‘Loving Kindness’ in the context of this University study as looking at the people they saw around their campus and thinking to themselves, ‘I wish for this person to be happy’. Participants were encouraged to be as genuine as possible in this wish for others, and it proved to be an effective mood booster.

Let’s take it a step further though, shall we? 

Our CEO, Alison Hill, recently interviewed Kath Koschel, the founder of The Kindness Factory. Kath is a woman who has shown extraordinary kindness in the face of some incredibly challenging circumstances. Give that interview a listen for an extra nudge in the direction of acts of kindness.


Watch some funny cat videos.

Ahh, cat videos. They’re a staple in the world of the internet and it turns out that they boost your mood on a psychological level. Yep, even if you aren’t a total cat person. 

Of the participants in the following study only 36 percent described themselves as a ‘cat person’, while about 60 percent liked both cats and dogs in equal measure. 

In this particular Indiana University study, researchers found that participants who had watched cat videos were more energetic and felt more positive afterwards. 

They also found that the people who had watched these funny cat videos experienced fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, annoyance and sadness post-video. 


Boost your mood and unlock your creativity.

So, why bother trying to boost your mood in the first place? 

Although it’s certainly a natural desire to want to experience a state of happiness and peace, there’s other benefits to getting yourself out of a funk during a workday.

One of those benefits is creativity. Yep, according to a study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, when we’re in a positive mood we are more creative.

As stated by Ruby Nadler, the lead of the study, “If you have a project where you want to think innovatively, or you have a problem to carefully consider, being in a positive mood can help you to do that”.


With all that said, it’s time to crack open a new tab with some cat videos, listen to some babbling brooks and unleash your inner Yogi. Okay, maybe not all at once… choose one to start with and see how you go.

We hope you’ve found a new technique that helps you to boost your mood throughout the workday (and maybe even on the weekends). To learn more about getting yourself and your team into a state of high performance, take a look at our Science of Recovery program.