- Mental Health
Feeling Down and Depressed? 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood
Improve Your Mood When You're Feeling Down
When we are feeling down or feeling depressed it can sometimes feel so big that we believe we need a complex solution. For the most part this belief is wrong! It's the simple things, done daily, that will improve your mood. If you don't believe me and are sure that your problems are just too complex for a simple solution, then tip 1 is for you.
Tip 1 - You will feel better if you tell everyone exactly what you think of them, get fired from your job, pack your bags, build a little shack in the mountains and go live as a hermit, hunting and foraging for food and spending your days thinking about how miserable and lonely you feel.
You may feel like doing that but actually I'm just kidding :) Following on from here you'll find 10 much simpler ways to improve your mood when you’re feeling down. While there are many more than 10 ways available to us, these are basic concepts which can be altered, even mixed up with each other to create a whole range of mood boosters. The important thing is that you understand what the benefits and remember that feeling down or depressed, although normal, is conquerable.
You may feel that the following tips to improve your mood are too simplistic. Yeah, yeah I hear you say - I know about all those things. Well you may know about them but how often do you DO THEM? There's little value in just knowing something - the value comes from taking action.
So, I challenge you to choose one of these actions while reading and then without delay, DO IT straight afterwards! No excuses!
“The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?”
Holly Golightly, Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
1. Listen to Music
Music is one of the best forms of self-expression. When we're feeling down or depressed we benefit from listening to music because it opens up the mind to a positive form of thinking due to the messages in the song as well as the chords and melodies. That being said, not all music is recommended for music therapy. In fact, therapists advise to use it with caution. Pick happy songs, inspiring songs, or compositions that tend toward the soothing instead of the angry or hateful.
2. Walk Your Way to Improved Mood
Walking, like any physical activity that requires a change in venue, is good when you’re feeling down because it helps give you perspective. Do it at your own pace, and anywhere you want. It will remind you that the world is big and your worries, small. The view of city lights at night is beautiful. Or if you’re out in the country, a route with a nice view of mountains or the seaside will add a nature element to your therapy.
3. Food Therapy
Not to be confused with emotional eating, food therapy is a wonderful way to snap out of feeling down. Depression is linked to numerous cases of vitamin and mineral deficiencies because of malnutrition and what better way to cure that low mood that than eating? Food high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or tuna combat anxiety, sleep disorders and unexplained feelings of sadness. Complex carbohydrates like pasta release sugars gradually in our system, preventing sugar lows. Dark chocolate releases endorphins but not commercial milk chocolate which is high in sugar and may cause a sugar crash. So eat but be wary of what you take in.
4. Structured Activity
Structured activity is a form of cognitive behavioural activity. This may not sound like the most comforting of solutions to feeling down but this has been proven effective, especially those who experience moderate to severe depression. When we are feeling depressed we often feel lost and unable to make decisions. Having a structured schedule and activity that you can follow will teach you to regain control over your life again. A good example are household chores such as folding bed linens, mopping the floor, washing the dishes—pretty stress-free activities that don't require a lot of thinking. If you've been putting a chore off, why not do it now? You know you will feel better afterwards.
5. Lose Yourself in Art Therapy
Be the artist. Inspired by your melancholy, use any medium you feel most comfortable with and express that sadness by getting your hands busy. Art therapy is effective because it is a form of venting. You will find yourself less burdened by your depression once you’ve let it out and that’s always true. And to do so in a creative fashion will be rewarding. And who knows? You might just be the next big thing in art waiting to be unearthed from the ashes of your depression.
6. Get Running
The concept of running is almost the same as walking except this time you’re required to put on the right footwear. The benefits of running, or jogging, stems from the concept of exercise as mood booster. When you run, you exert the use of muscles which releases endorphins in your brain—natural uppers that improve your mood and even reduce your perception of pain. So next time you’re feeling depressed, grab your iPod and your favorite pair of running shoes. Do about a mile or two. You’ll find yourself feeling refreshed and wonderfully cheerful.
7. Put Pen to Paper & Get Writing
Keeping a diary has been known to effectively diminish the blues because it is good, old-fashioned venting with words. If you’re not the type to create something from your feelings, then writing just may be your tool. It doesn’t have to be a well-written entry. After all, you’re the only one who needs to see it. It just needs to be honest so when you read it back when you’re a lot better, the sadness is trivialized. The diary is also a good way to see how you’re like when you’re down and to check if there is a pattern in the emergence of your melancholy. That way, the next time you’re feeling down, you’ll know what helped last time.
Sometimes depression stems from the being lost in the fast-paced world of today. We forget that while our work sweetens life, we still need time for ourselves. Meditation leaves you some quiet time alone to reflect, rest and empty your mind of worries. Pick your own way of meditation. Chant a mantra of inspiration several times before breakfast. Visualize a beautiful and peaceful place. The condition of the mind greatly affects our physical and mental health, so it is important that we take care of it and never let it burn out.
9. Happy, Happy Talk
You are not alone. If you are feeling down, one of the best ways to deal with it is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Call your best friend. Visit your mother. See a therapist. Sometimes, all you need is someone to listen to what you have to say. Make sure you never cut yourself off from the world because the input of others in your life makes such a big difference with your mood.
10. Let Some Light into Your Life
There is a type of depression called “seasonal depression” which is basically depression on the days or seasons when the day is shorter than night. People who live in colder countries are more prone to feeling depressed because of their lack of exposure to sunlight.
Obviously, the presence of sunshine does a lot to cheer up the atmosphere, but there is also a scientific explanation for this. Sunshine activates the pineal gland in our brains which in turn, produces serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone that helps us sleep and is also known as an anti-depressant. Since it relaxes us, it also makes us less prone to worry and depression. So if you’re prone to feeling down, maybe you can put in more windows in your home, vacation at a sunnier place during the winter or just step outside. Let some light in your heart and mind.
Stop Feeling Down & Depressed & Do Something Now
So have you chosen one thing to do right now? I hope so :) If your mind is coming up with all sorts of excuses not to do something to improve your mood right now - ignore it! We both know that it takes an action to make things better, so do something now.
Mastering the art of boosting your mood is easy. You just have to remember one thing: take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, do things that relax and comfort you. Since depression and low mood are linked to both psychological and physiological factors, it is important that you are of sound mind and body to prevent depression from beginning in the first place.
Sadness never seems to have the same quality when it comes into our lives. It has a different face every time, and a different effect on the person it descends upon. In essence, there is no straight-up formula for curing the blues, but in a way that’s a good thing. For our ever-changing emotions including coping when we are feeling down and feeling depressed, we need a whole range of tools in our kit bag.