A “mood boost box” is a box of items which help you feel better.
In all honesty the name “mood boost box” isn’t really a thing, I just made it up. You could call your collection whatever you like, “comfort box”, “well-being draw”, “support cupboard”, anything that feels right to you.
But the concept stays the same. The items you compile within your designated space are there to provide relief from periods of sadness, worry or stress. The items you choose to add to your collection will most likely fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Sensory soothers
- Home remedies
Whenever you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, you will be able to turn to your mood boost box, take 5 minutes or a few hours (however long is right for you) and re-set.
By the time you have finished looking at, reminiscing about, or using the items in your collection, you should feel a little calmer and more able to conquer your next task.
Let’s talk some more about the kinds of things you may want to put in your mood boost box.
Items you choose under this category should evoke memories of feeling happy and relatively carefree. Although these items can be photographs, they may also be objects that remind you of that memory such as a:
- Cinema, theme park, theatre or gig ticket,
- Mini golf score card,
- Pub quiz answers sheet,
- Fancy dress item,
- Leaf, seashell, pinecone or something else from nature.
It’s important that you include memories that you made alone, as well as those that you made with others. This will remind you that you are capable of enjoying your own company.
It’s also important to include memories which you created with a variety of different people. This is key because potentially, the reason you are feeling unhappy in the future could be related to the person you made the most memories with. If that relationship breaks down or the person passes away, it’s good to have a reminder that you can enjoy life even if that person is not there.
Relationships with friends, family, co-workers, employers, romantic partners and pets are all important. If you have any kind of positive relationship with someone, find a way to symbolise that relationship and something about it which makes you feel happy.
For example, if a previous employer wrote you a kind letter of recommendation or a younger relative drew you a picture, include these items in your mood boost box.
Relationships and feeling connected to others is a real human need. Reminding yourself of all the positive relationships you have can help you feel less alone when you are struggling to be happy. They may also encourage you to reach out to people you may not have otherwise considered reaching out to.
If we are worried, stressed or feeling down it is normal to start thinking thoughts such as “I can’t do anything right” or “I am such a failure”.
Including reminders of the things you have achieved throughout your life in your mood boost box can help remind you that these are just passing thoughts (and that they are not facts).
You should aim to include items which remind you of anything you feel proud of. This doesn’t have to be something that others would necessarily feel the same way about, as long as you are proud of the achievement, it counts.
Possible things you may want to consider including are:
- An academic qualification certificate (of any level),
- A photograph of yourself giving a public speech,
- A program or ticket stub from a time you performed on stage,
- Your driver’s licence,
- The ticket from a flight/train/bus you took by yourself,
- An arcade gift shop toy you earnt from being awesome at a game,
- A job acceptance letter,
- A volunteering certificate,
- The receipt from a time when you went shopping with a friend (if doing this kind of activity is difficult for you),
- The credit card bill you finally cleared (or)
- Literally anything else that makes you feel proud of who you are!
1) Sensory soothers
We have 5 main senses. Activating all these sensors gives us the greatest chance of lifting our mood.
So far you have probably included a whole lot of photos, or objects which are visual reminders of your ability to be happy, your connection to others and your ability to achieve.
Some of these items may also invoke a different sense, for instance, you may have included a soft toy as a reminder of a relationship or fond childhood memory.
The next step is to build on this, by including things which (although they may not have strong associations for you) do help soothe you.
Depending on how often you intend use your mood boost box, including food and drink could be an option. Obviously if you don’t think you will be using your mood boost box before the item you put in it expires, it’s probably best not to include it at all.
But you may want to include food or drink if you find that treating yourself to it helps lift your mood and you plan on using your box somewhat regularly.
Treats which create physical warmth or provide an endorphin rush (like sweet teas or fancy chocolates) can be enough to pull some people out of a bad place. When these items are paired with the other items in the box, it is likely their effect will be increased.
Certain textures or feelings can be extremely comforting.
For example, some people find that wrapping themselves in a blanket or a weighted blanket can reduce anxiety and make them feel more protected.
Others may find that holding a smooth stone, playing with a stress ball or feeling the familiar comfort of an old jumper can help them feel relaxed.
Touch can also include things you do to pamper yourself, so you may want to pop in a face mask, some bubble bath or moisturising lotion too.
Smell has the ability to completely change the atmosphere of a room or place. An otherwise lovely day in the countryside can easily be ruined by…well you know what.
Similarly, the smell of freshly baked cookies can transform a regular kitchen into a place where you suddenly want to hang out.
If there are any particular scents which make you feel calmer or happier find a way to include them. You could consider putting in an aftershave, perfume, scented candle or a bath bomb for example.
Sound has a powerful way of transporting us to a different place in our minds and altering our mood.
It may be difficult for you to include sound in your mood boost box as typically, we listen to audio through our phones.
What you can do however is write yourself a reminder to play a certain song, listen to a certain type of music (such as piano, jazz etc.) or to start listening to a guided meditation you have found helpful before.
1) Home remedies
Some people find that taking herbal supplements such as St John’s Wort or Valerian Extract can help them feel better. These supplements can cause complications if taken with prescribed medications, so you should be careful about deciding whether to use them or not.
But if you have used these supplements safely and successfully in the past, then consider including them in your mood boost box.
You may also want to consider including any home remedies you grew up with. For example, if your grandparents would make you a hot water bottle when you felt sad as a child and it helped you, then think about including a hot water bottle in your mood boost box.
If you have ever had counselling or received advice you found helpful for overcoming personal issues, then include a written version of this in your mood boost box.
You may also want to print off blogs, social media posts, self-help guides or quotes you find helpful. Having them on your phone or laptop may not be as effective, as they can be harder to find than if they are all in one place.
Kind messages such as those found in birthday cards, letters and whatsapp conversations are often forgotten soon after they are received. Although these messages make us smile at the time, they are often not brought to mind when we feel low.
Consider finding old messages on your phone and writing these out by hand or printing them off to keep a copy in your mood boost box. Also make a mental note to keep any physical letters or cards you receive with kind words and pop these in your box (if you haven’t been keeping them already).
Include what feels right for you.
All of the suggestions above are just that, suggestions. If you feel one of the categories wouldn’t be helpful for you, then skip it. The most important thing to remember is that the items you include are there to help you feel better, there is no right or wrong way to create a mood boost box.
Take your time and add to it as you find more things which make you happy.
You could create your mood boost box in a few hours, or build it up over several months. You can start to use it as soon as you begin to create it, so there is no rush to get it done all in one go. You can also add to it as time passes.
Life is constantly changing, which means that in time you will create more happy memories, form new relationships, discover new coping strategies and achieve new successes.
Adding references to these things to your mood boost box acts as a reminder to focus on the good and the helpful steps you can take to support yourself.
A mood boost box is an investment in you.
By using your mood boost box to overcome low periods in your life, you will be learning to take better care of yourself, to love yourself and to be kind to yourself in times when you need it most.
Another way you can invest in yourself is to begin counselling. Counselling is an opportunity to focus on you, what you would like to overcome, what is holding you back from living your best life and what you would like to achieve.
To discuss if counselling is right for you, book an assessment session with me. An assessment session is an initial meeting between you and me where you tell me about yourself and we see if we could work well together to achieve what it is you want to achieve.
To arrange your session contact me on: 07588 117305 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoy putting your box together!