Quiz: Do You Know The Best Ways To Lift Your Mood?

Part 7 of our 8-part series: Take this fun quiz, and learn the Secrets of Healthy Americans, based on our national poll. And be sure to download our free Secrets of Healthy Americans reports at the end of this quiz.


Humana and Reader’s Digest polled the nation to bring you the Secrets of Healthy Americans, and we’re sharing the highlights with you in this 8-part series. Answer the questions here. Then see how you compare to the nationwide sample who took the Humana Reader’s Digest Healthy Habits Survey 2012—and get easy-to-follow advice to help you live a healthier life.

And, as an exclusive bonus, download all free 8 parts of our Secrets of Healthy Americans reports, including 200+ health tips on Fitness, Sleep, Germs, Protecting Yourself From Illness, Eating Right, Boosting Your Mood, Reducing Stress, and Sharpening Your Brain.

How often do you feel depressed?

a) Nearly every day
b) Nearly every week
c) Once or twice a month
d) All the time
e) Never

Here’s how you compare:

Only 2 percent of Americans say they are depressed, but another 12 percent say they are sad, overwhelmed, worn out, sick or in pain. All together, that’s nearly 15 percent of all adults who say they don't feel well.

Here’s an idea:

Studies show that people who feel unhappy or depressed day after day can be at high risk for health conditions like high blood sugar. Studies also indicate that half of people with chronic pain also suffer from major depression. If you are close to someone whom you fear may be among that 15 percent, think about how you may be able to get that person some expert help. You may not only help lift someone’s spirits, you might save a life. 

Think about your overall mood today. How do you feel?

a) Happy
b) Sad
c) Energized
d) Stressed
e) Overwhelmed
f) Bored
g) Worn out
h) Depressed
i) Angry

Here’s how you compare:

Most Americans are upbeat. More than half  (54 percent) say they are happy and another 7 percent describe themselves as energized. But that leaves roughly one third of adults who feel less than their best. People in that group, including more than one in 10 young women, say they are stressed. So if you’re experiencing stress today, you have at least one reason to relax a bit. You are not alone. Stress is as common as a cold in this society.

Here’s an idea:

The first step to being happier and living healthier is to realize how you actually feel these days. Ask yourself this simple question:

If you took a poll among your friends and others who know you well, which of these phrases would they say best describes your overall mood lately?
Happy, energized, positive
Stable, even-keeled, calm
Worried, stressed, negative

Even if you’re pretty sure of what they would say, ask a few of your friends anyway. Chances are, they will give you a sense of your overall mood as well as describe some of the triggers that they see sometimes make you appear worried, stressed or negative.  Write down the key things they tell you. The conversations will allow you to make two valuable lists—a list of the things that make you happy and positive, and another of the things that make you stressed and negative. With those lists in mind, you can lift your mood simply by doing more of the good stuff and less of the other.

What do you do to deal with stress?

a) Scream and yell
b) Spend time alone
c) Eat
d) Talk about it with friends
e) Exercise
f) Take deep breaths

Here’s how you compare:

Americans are evenly split on how they deal with stress. Half of all adults deal with stress in a healthy way, and the other half unfortunately don’t. People who deal with stress in healthy ways tend to seek help from friends or they exercise—two excellent ways experts say you can diffuse whatever is causing stress. But millions of others do things that experts say can actually increase stress and make your mood worse, such as spending time alone, screaming and yelling, eating more, and drinking alcohol. 

Here’s an idea:

Take a breather. Stress isn’t caused by people or situations. You create the stress by how you react to annoying people or situations. Try this. The next time an obnoxious neighbor, co-worker or sales clerk is about to ring your stress bell, walk away as soon as you reasonably can, and take a deep breath. Close your eyes, and inhale deeply and slowly to the count of five as you feel your stomach (not your chest) inflate. Hold that breath for a few counts, and then let it go, again slowly to a count of five. Repeat that five times. Chances are, you’ll feel a lot better. 

How often do you speak to the following people?

a) Your best friend
b) Your neighbors
c) Former colleagues
d) Childhood friends

Here’s how you compare:

Staying connected is powerful medicine. Experts say that feeling lonely is not just a state of mind; it can cause serious health problems, including heart disease. Yet many Americans seem to be spending more time alone. Nearly 10 percent of all adults will not talk to a relative this week. Around 25 percent will not talk to a best friend. And about 40 percent won’t speak to a neighbor.

Here’s an idea:

Groucho Marx said he didn’t want to belong to any club that would accept him as a member. They didn’t call him Groucho for nothing! Don’t be like Groucho. Stay connected. What do you enjoy? Whether it’s reading, gardening or just taking long walks, there are clubs nearby for your hobby with members who would be happy to accept you. You can find the clubs on the Internet. Or go to your local library, book store, gardening center or sports store, and ask the person in charge about any existing clubs. And if there are none, tell the manager you would like to form one. With any luck, the manager will help recruit members and perhaps even help host the first meeting with you.

Sometimes people make changes in their lives to feel better. Which of the following life changes would best lift your mood and help you live healthier?

a) Getting out more
b) Meeting new people
c) Finding a new job
d) Staying home more
e) Finding a new place to live
f) None of these

Here’s how you compare:

In general, Americans seem pretty satisfied with the way things are in their lives. Still, a number of people do want to get out more (29 percent), meet new people (16 percent)—and they wouldn’t mind getting a new job (16 percent).

Here’s an idea:

No matter how you feel about your life now, make a plan for the future. It could be something small, like where you’d like to visit next month, or something big, like where you’d like to retire. Studies show that planning for the future—whether or not you actually follow through—can give you a sense of optimism that can lift your spirits.

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