How To Lift Your Depressed Mood
What You Can Do To Lighten Up
If you are dealing with a serious, clinical depression, it is wise to see your doctor, a qualified psychiatrist, or a therapist.
We all have our ups and downs in life and sometimes the downs take us for an unpleasant ride. Life can be stressful and the blues can assail us without our realizing it. It helps to have some techniques handy for dealing with a depressed mood.
Tips to Uplift a Low Mood
When sad events happen to us we can find ourselves sucked into a hole of negativity, and it can be a struggle to find our way out. Here are some of my favorite natural choices that often help me get back to being a bit more light-hearted and enjoying life again when I find myself feeling down in the dumps.
Spend time with a good friend and discuss what's bothering you. It's best to choose someone you are close to and with whom you can safely confide in, someone whom you can rely on for kind and wise advice. Everyone has their unique strengths and prejudices, so choose carefully. Not all issues can be resolved easily, but the point is to get what's bugging you off your chest and to be open to the support and goodwill of your friend or loved one, and to take note of good ideas and a fresh perspective.
Go out with friends, socialize, and try to have a good time. Choose an activity you particularly enjoy and hang out with your most fun-loving, happy, and/or funny friends. Give your friends and the situation your full attention so you are actually "there" with them. Stay away from alcohol for the moment since alcohol is a depressant and you don't want to develop any bad habits.
Eat healthy foods. Cut out the junk food, sugar, and highly processed foods. Research and consider a vegan diet such as that recommended by Dr. John McDougall, T. Colin Campbell PhD, and other vegan doctors. Fuel your body with high-quality foods and cut out the foods and drinks that have detrimental effects on the body. A healthy vegan diet can help you lose weight while keeping your energy up.
Make your bed every morning. It helps give you a more positive and productive mindset.
Finish a project that you've let slide. If you've never completed high school or finished college and it bothers you, go back and finish it. Or just finish a small project that you've got hanging around your place taking up space. You'll feel a sense of completion and the activity and momentum can work to take your mind off your stresses. Train yourself to follow-through and complete things and you'll begin to start achieving more in life, which will make you feel better about yourself.
Exercise everyday. Exercise is a natural mood-lifter, and even makes your brain create new brain cells. A healthy body equals a healthy brain. A good, sweaty workout is often a great bad mood buster. Be careful not to injure yourself if working out is new to you. Start by learning proper form. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, it also helps to incorporate a variety of movement into your daily life, so your body gets stronger and more flexible.
Sleep every night. Just as it is important to get daily exercise, it's important to get enough sleep. If you are having problems sleeping, you can try getting up at the same time every morning. Don't nap during the day. Go to bed when you feel sleepy, not at any specific time. You don't need to lie in bed thinking about things that depress you if you aren't tired and it's getting late. Just read or do something else until you feel tired. Continue this pattern of rising at the same time each morning and going to bed when you feel tired and your body will quickly give you the right signals so that you are soon getting adequate sleep.
Spend time in nature. Spending time in a live, natural, and beautiful environment helps your psyche heal and unwind. There is a different feel to going for a walk on a busy, crowded concrete pavement in a city with dilapidated buildings and strong offensive odors, and breathing in the fresh, natural scents of a forest or wildflower. Take time to appreciate the natural world around you and reconnect with your soul as you do. There is something very healing about being in nature. It gives you space to collect your thoughts and meditate on your values.
Make a list of your favorite pleasant activities and begin to incorporate them into your day. Even if one part of your life is not going well, it's possible to find a reprieve if you are enjoying yourself some of the time. Pack as many enjoyable activities into your daily life as you realistically can, and make sure these are activities that you truly enjoy. This is a great way to move from dwelling on the negative to keeping yourself busy with the positive, but it doesn't have to be anything more than a nice walk, a hot bath, or pampering yourself with a good massage. The point is you give your body and psyche a chance to relax or space to enjoy life. Become your own best support system.
Begin a new activity that you find exciting. You can learn a new language, take a dance class, start a creative project, or decide to spend more time just playing with your children. Try to find something new that you find stimulating. Starting a new hobby that you enjoy creates changes in your brain and can have lasting positive effects on your mood.
Learn how to meditate and begin a meditation program. Wonderful things begin to happen as you learn how to concentrate and step away from negative emotions. Meditation relaxes the mind and encourages a deep understanding of life that helps people deal with pain and depression. There are many ways to meditate and many free programs available online. Some favorites include the Vipassana tradition, a free intensive 10 day program, and the open heart meditation, which encourages meditation on the heart and -- who can resist this -- happy feelings. Mindfulness meditation is also helpful, as it helps keep you in the moment and aware of which negative thoughts might be controlling or bothering you.
Journal. Writing out the events of your life and how you feel about them can help you deal with any negative emotions that crop up. It's like a personal therapy that you can revisit later on to see how things have changed.
Join a support group. There are often other people who face similar life challenges or who are coping with depression. Developing a strong support network is one of the best ways to deal with life's troubles.
Look into Cognitive Behavior Therapy and other therapeutic techniques if you feel you may need them. The way people cope with life can vary greatly -- some choose drugs or alcohol, and some cope so well they never seem to have any problems. Learning healthy ways of coping with stressful life events can give you confidence and keep your peace of mind when times become trying. With Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, you'll begin to examine your thoughts and question them, so you can arrive at a better understanding of their nature, and an objective viewpoint.
Volunteer and do something good for others. When you think of others and do things for them out of a true loving-kindness desire to help or care for them, you often feel rewarded inside by the feelings that go with doing something good and productive for the world and others. It's also a great opportunity to socialize and make new friends, and can help you get out of a negativity rut as you realize that everyone has problems and some have it worse than you do.
Putting effort into doing something positive may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling depressed. But each step you take is worth it ~ you'll be creating and reinforcing positive feelings and mental pathways in your brain, rather than negative ones. If you are consistent with your efforts, you may soon find a change in attitude also helps and gradually realize you've kicked your depressed moods out of your life for good.
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