5 Things You Can Do to Improve Mood
Everybody has bad days. Life is a constant state of change, it has ups and downs and our moods fluctuate right along with them. Sometimes, it can be very hard to bring yourself back up when you’re feeling down. It can start to feel as though you’ll never feel like yourself again. We can promise you though, you will. Often a few little changes on your part and you’ll soon be feeling on top of the world again. Check out the simple and easy ways you can boost your mood below.
1. Get up and groove
Yes, we said groove! One of the guaranteed ways to improve your mood is to exercise. There’s no trick to it, it’s purely chemical. When you exercise, your body releases serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the body that helps to regulate appetite, sleep, temperature, memory and most importantly, mood. It is often called the “happy” chemical because the release of serotonin can have mood boosting effects and even help ward off depression.
If you’re not really feeling like going out for a run, that’s okay. Any form of exercise that will get your heart rate up for 30 minutes will be able to help release the chemicals to boost your mood. The bonus is that you also get to enjoy a sense of achievement after exercising.
Spend some time connecting with people who are important to you. If you feel up to it, talk to them about how you’re feeling. Having an empathetic, non-judgmental ear to listen to you, gives you an opportunity to discuss and process what is going on in your life. This can assist you to sort through issues logically, understand and process your feelings as well as think abstractly and problem solve.
If you don’t feel as though you have this support in your life, please reach out. You might be surprised who you know that’s willing to support you and listen to your concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable with friends or family, there is also always the opportunity to talk with a therapist.
If you’re not one to share, sometimes simply listening yourself and helping someone else through a hard time can also bring you joy. Yet, be careful who you choose to spend your time with when feeling down. You may find that some people will “drain” you and others will “replenish” you. It’s best to stick to those who help you feel good about yourself when you’re not feeling your best so that you come away feeling replenished and happier. Only you will be able to know who these people are.
If you’re not really feeling up to talking, simply being social through sharing a meal or doing an activity together can boost your mood. For a bonus boost, give someone a hug. Research has shown affectionate physical touch can release mood-boosting hormones.
(Who knew? I guess mom was right all along…. A hug can fix a lot!)
3. Set boundaries
When you are feeling down, it’s not the time to add more to your plate. Take a step back and evaluate where you can reduce some stress in your life. This is particularly important if you find yourself feeling down quite often because that can be a sign that you are overworked or have too much going on in your life.
If you feel as though you can’t face a long dinner with that “draining” friend, then reschedule. If you are exhausted and feel like you need some time to unwind, then don’t take that overtime.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do and can’t put the work off, try and break it down into smaller tasks. That way they will be less overwhelming, and you’ll get a great kick of satisfaction each time you can tick something off.
4. Rediscover your passion
You know that thing you love to do? It might be knitting, boxing, patting your dog, painting your nails, hiking, reading or even drawing manga. Whatever it is… do it.
It’s that simple. It seems silly that we need to be reminded to do this, but when you’re feeling down it can be easy to forget how good these things make us feel. Sometimes, you can feel so down that your favourite things don’t even seem to be fun anymore. This can be really hard but hang in there. If you can tough it out and go through the motions for a little while, the enjoyment will slowly creep back into it and you’ll be back to loving your old hobbies in no time.
5. Cut yourself some slack
Last, but possibly the most important thing to do when you are feeling down is to be kind to yourself. When you’re feeling down, it can be very easy to fall into unhealthy ways of thinking. Sometimes this can happen so seamlessly that you don’t even notice you’re doing it. That little critic in your head comes out. It starts making you feel guilty for rescheduling that dinner, for taking some “me time” and telling you that you should be doing more, you should be better.
Those “should” thoughts can be so damaging. The more you think that way the worse it makes you feel. The worse you feel the more negative your thinking becomes. It’s just a vicious cycle.
Who needs that when you’re already feeling down? Well not you!
It’s easy to tell yourself to be kind, but sometimes convincing that little critic in your head can be easier said than done. So what you can do instead is take away the power. After all, these are just thoughts, they are not necessarily true.
Are you an all-knowing person that understands and knows absolutely everything in the universe?… Probably not. So why would you accept everything that little critic tells you as the ultimate truth? The answer is you shouldn’t.
Next time that critic is telling you you’re useless, make one small change. Rather than thinking “I’m useless”, try and change the thought to “I’m having the thought that I’m useless”. It doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised how much power that takes away. The more power you take away from the negative thoughts and give instead to positive ones, the better you will feel.
Sometimes you can try all these things and your mood is still low. This might suggest that there is something a little more serious going on and you might benefit from some professional support.
If you’re worried that you may be experiencing depression, please reach out.
One of our Therapists will be happy to speak with you. Book in your session today.