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It’s the middle of winter, the mornings are dark, the evenings are darker, the worst snowstorm in many years has just battered the East Coast of the United States, and the newspapers are filled with tales of strife and struggles.

Against that backdrop, it’s easy to let yourself get into a foul mood.

But why pay out for an expensive therapy session or night on the town to improve your frame of mind, when you could just turn to your trusty Windows operating system?!

Here are six ways that Windows can lift your mood:

1. Change the Theme

The default theme in Windows is a rather cool looking electric blue affair. It’s certainly pleasing on the eye, but they might not be the most appropriate color tones to use when it’s pouring with rain and the prospect of a sunny day seems like a distant dream.

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Sadly, there are only three “normal” pre-installed themes to choose from The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors Windows 10 is so bright, it can cause eyestrain. Setting a dark theme is a simple way to give your eyes a break. We show you how to theme Windows 10 and its most commonly... Read More (unless you want to go for a gaudy high-contrast option 10 Dark Windows Themes & Skins To Reduce Eye Strain 10 Dark Windows Themes & Skins To Reduce Eye Strain Do you struggle with headaches or irritated eyes? You may be dealing with eye strain. Computer screens can be glaringly bright, especially in the dark. Dark themes could be your free remedy. Read More ).

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You can get to these themes by going Start > Settings > Personalization > Themes > Theme Settings.

For real options, however, you need to click on Get more themes online and head to the Windows Download Center.

windows-themes

The choices are almost endless. With names like “Blue Water”, “Beaches Panoramic”, and “Sunny Shores”, you can be certain you’ll find something to improve your mindset.

2. Ask Cortana for Jokes

As the old saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine” – so why not let Cortana get you rolling around on the floor in stitches?

Ok, so “rolling around on the floor” might be an exaggeration, Cortana isn’t going to be doing stand-up comedy in Soho Theatre any time soon – her jokes are definitely on the “corny” side of the spectrum.

Either way, she can definitely help bring a smile to your face. It’s just one of the many ways the service can improve your daily life 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 Cortana can help you go hands-free on Windows 10. You can let her search your files and the web, make calculations, or pull up the weather forecast. Here we cover some of her cooler skills. Read More .

Getting Cortana to spill her nuggets of joy is easy. First, you need to make sure the service is enabled by clicking on the search icon on your taskbar and the selecting the gear icon.

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Once that’s done, all you need to do is say “Hey Cortana, tell me a joke” into your device’s microphone.

You can even try some other random questions for further amusement – “Can you cook?”, “What are you wearing?”, “Are you sleeping?”, and “What do you eat?” have all been known to provoke hilarity in the past.

3. Play Music

This is hardly a ground-breaking idea, but countless scientific studies have repeatedly shown that listening to music can improve your mood The Most Relaxing Songs of All Time, According to Science The Most Relaxing Songs of All Time, According to Science "The Most Relaxing Tune Ever" is actually a thing, and scientists have determined a Top 10 list of relaxing songs. It's about time we revisited some of those more tranquilizing numbers. Read More , your confidence, and your productivity Find the Best Music to Boost Your Productivity Online Find the Best Music to Boost Your Productivity Online Listening to music helps you focus and get more done, according to music therapists. What kind of music will improve your mood, and make you more productive? And where should you start looking for music? Read More .

Windows 10 has introduced the all-new Groove Music app as the primary way for users to consume music. It has its critics, but if your music is all tagged correctly 4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library 4 Easy Ways Fix Music Tags & Organize Music Library Read More and saved in a single location, it works really well.

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It also syncs with OneDrive, thus enabling you to listen to your music off any device for free. Though be aware, the free OneDrive storage is limited How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage OneDrive gives you a healthy dose of cloud storage for free. Let's take a look at what you can do with that. Read More . There are ways to get more storage for free Free Cloud Storage Upgrades: Grab 100GB of OneDrive & 2GB of Google Drive Free Cloud Storage Upgrades: Grab 100GB of OneDrive & 2GB of Google Drive Cloud storage is getting cheaper by the day, but nothing beats downright free. Some of the top services have come up with a few schemes that will raise your online gigabytes without spending a dime. Read More , but it might not be appropriate if you’ve got a really large library.

If you don’t want to use Groove Music, there are loads of third-party music library apps 6 Amazing Windows 8 Apps For Enjoying Videos and Music, Modern Style 6 Amazing Windows 8 Apps For Enjoying Videos and Music, Modern Style When you're in the mood for listening to music or watching videos, you want the good stuff right now. Fortunately, Windows 8 has great apps to spare you a long search! Read More that you can use.

4. Change the Sounds

If the root of your bad mood is apathy and a lack of motivation, why not replace some of your system’s default tones How To Customize Your Windows Sound Effects How To Customize Your Windows Sound Effects You could make your computer sound like your favorite TV show, record your own sounds, or turn them off completely. Here's a crash course on changing and recording sound effects for Windows. Read More with your own motivational messages?

You can edit your system sounds by right-clicking on Start > Control Panel > Sound, and then opening the Sounds tab.

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You’ll be given a complete list of every single sound and tone on your entire system.

Obviously, it would be folly to change all these sounds, and you also don’t want to change a sound Spice Up Your Windows Sound Effects With Amazing Resources Spice Up Your Windows Sound Effects With Amazing Resources Default Windows sounds can get boring. If you want to mix things up a bit, change your computer's sound scheme! We will briefly walk about through the process and point out great resources. Read More that you hear frequently during the day (it’ll quickly get annoying!). The “Empty Recycle Bin” tone seems like a good candidate.

Grab a (short) motivational quote off YouTube, then use an audio-editing program 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget Want to move beyond simple cut-and-crop jobs? Knowing just a few Audacity tips can make your audio-editing life a whole lot easier. Read More to make it exactly the length you want.

5. Play a Game

Computer games offer a great escape from the mundanity of everyday life. Whether you want to pretend that you’re the next Lionel Messi on a football sim, or you prefer the mental challenges of Solitaire and Minesweeper, there is something out there for everyone.

Since Microsoft made the decision to remove the hugely popular Hearts game 5 Lost Features You Can Resurrect in Windows 10 5 Lost Features You Can Resurrect in Windows 10 Windows 10 is quite different and chances are you're missing a few familiar features. Did you lose Windows Media Center, DVD support, or classic games during the upgrade? We may have a solution for you! Read More from Windows 10, the only native game still on the operating system is the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection”.

win10-solitaire

At its core, it’s still the same game that we all know and love, but it’s received a 21st century makeover Celebrating 25 Years of Microsoft Solitaire: The History, Rules & a Tournament Celebrating 25 Years of Microsoft Solitaire: The History, Rules & a Tournament Solitaire - the preserve of procrastinating office workers and bored housewives - is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and Microsoft is commemorating it with a group tournament. We re-visit the history and rules of the game. Read More . For example, you can now sign in with your Microsoft Account The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows The Pros and Cons of Using a Microsoft Account with Windows A single Microsoft Account allows you to log into a wide range of Microsoft services and apps. We show you the pros and cons of using a Microsoft Account with Windows. Read More to access achievements and leaderboards, it features five different versions of the game (Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks, and Pyramid), it has daily challenges, and even includes customizable themes.

If you yearn for the days of Minesweeper, Ski Free, and Hearts, it is still possible to play them, but you’ll need to import them Minesweeper: Restoring The Classic Windows Games In Windows 8 Minesweeper: Restoring The Classic Windows Games In Windows 8 Bring the default games in Windows 8 back to the desktop. If Metro-style, full screen apps aren't what you want when you play Solitaire, Minesweeper or Free Cell, you're probably disappointed with Windows 8 –... Read More from elsewhere.

6. Change Your Screensaver

There is something hypnotic about Microsoft’s screensavers Should You Turn Your Screensaver Off? History & Modern Use of a Bug Fix Should You Turn Your Screensaver Off? History & Modern Use of a Bug Fix Once an important feature to help prevent screen burn, screensavers are mostly used now to look pretty. How did they come to be and are they still worth using today? Read More . Ever since the days of “Pipes” on Windows XP, they’ve come up with imaginative displays. The offerings in Windows 10 include “Ribbons”, “Bubbles”, and “Mystify”.

You could also pick a photo album to display – perhaps choose one from your last summer vacation so your screen is permanently plastered with images of sun, sand, and surf?

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To change your screensaver, navigate to Start > Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen > Screensaver Settings and choose your display of choice.

What Tips Do You Have?

Like the lighting of a room, the look of your desktop can impact your mood. Notice what you respond to and use it to your advantage. It only takes a few moments during commercials or between tasks and you will see Windows 10 in a whole different light.

How do you use Windows 10 to improve your mood? What tips or suggestions can you pass on to your fellow readers?

You can let us know your stories in the comments section below!

Image Credits:using laptop by StockLite via Shutterstock

  1. Alex Kurtev
    February 13, 2016 at 9:12 am

    You can't do all of these (except number 2) on another OS?

  2. Read and Share
    February 11, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Play a video (Youtube, etc.) - e.g. real comedians.

  3. Yodi
    February 11, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Groove Music is actually a very good music library app. It's so good, in fact, that I am now using it in place of Windows Media Player, which has been the go-to on my desktop PC since forever.

    I love it that backgrounds in Windows 10 can be set to shuffle every sixty seconds. I have two monitors that provide a constant slideshow of pleasing images.

  4. Matt
    February 10, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Another one to ask Cortana ... Can you sing

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