7 simple actions to boost your low mood
How are you feeling right now? Unmotivated and/or lacking energy? Maybe you’ve been faced with some tough situations lately and just can’t seem to shake this low mood?
It’s not unusual during tough times to feel sad or down. In fact, feeling sad or down is a normal reaction to difficult situations. Low mood is likely to leave you feeling unmotivated and low on energy – making it hard to catch a glimpse of any light up ahead.
It’s also possible to feel down without there being an obvious reason.
Either way, there are important steps you can try to help increase your mood.
While you’re not feeling so good now, by taking these small steps you’ll be able to to gradually build yourself up again and improve your mood. Creating a self-care strategy can help during tough times, as well as help to maintain a healthy emotional wellbeing. If you need assistance with this, feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, I’ve put together a list of 7 actions to increase your mood right now.
1. Spend time with friends and/or family
Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. This can be an instant mood booster as it increases socialisation, reduces loneliness, and will often help puts things into perspective. Your friend or family member might have some great advice to offer to relieve some of the tension.
Look at your day ahead. Is there anything non-urgent you can put off for tomorrow, enabling you to clear your schedule for a bit? Simply slowing down the pace of everyday life can alleviate stressors and give you the headspace you need to lift your mood.
Head outside for a 10-minute walk, try some slow stretching, or do some yoga in the living room. Whichever form of exercise you prefer, doing some physical activity is beneficial for putting fuel back in your tank. Exercise pumps more blood to the brain and releases chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin, making you feel good and able to think more clearly.
4. Listen to music
Grab those earphones or crank up the stereo and start playing your favourite upbeat tunes! Dance or sing along – even if you have two left feet or can’t hold a tune. It’s sure to make you smile.
Sit down in a quiet spot and focus on your breathing. Notice your breath as it rises and falls, whether it’s fast or slow or short or long breaths. Either way, try to gently follow it’s rhythm. Thoughts will come and go like passing cars on a freeway and that’s okay. The goal isn’t to get rid of these thoughts, but to notice and observe with curiosity before returning your attention to your breath.
Even if you do this for only a few minutes a day to start with and build your way up to a longer period, you’ll notice your mind becomes clearer and gradually your mood starts to lift.
You might choose to head up to the shops for a bit (retail therapy anyone?) or sit and soak in the sunshine with a cuppa and good book. When we are feeling low, we are more inclined to stay at home or inside at work. However, spending too much time inside can actually further affect your mood.
If you have the opportunity, go take a nap. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes or so, having a rest from your troubles can make a world of difference. It’s also ideal to get good quality sleep at night to help you through each day.
Additional tips if your mood is low
When your mood is low, your thinking and judgment can often feel blurred as your emotions are often heightened. During this time, I’d suggest not making any big decisions, such as leaving a job or ending a relationship. Wait until your mood lifts by trying the action points listed above. You’ll probably find you have more clarity and will, therefore, be in a better position to make those big life-changing decisions moving forward.
I also suggest being patient about your progress. Sometimes, increasing your mood can take time. Have patience and show self-care, and ultimately be kind to yourself.
What’s the difference between low mood and depression?
While the above tips can assist with a low mood, if you’ve been feeling this way for a longer period of time, you might actually be experiencing depression. Depression can affect both your emotional and physical health, so it’s important to recognise the signs.
To help tell the difference, I’ve outlined some of the key signs of each of them below:
If you have a general low mood, you might be experiencing:
- Feeling anxious
- Low self-esteem
Most importantly, a low mood will usually lift after a few days or weeks by making some small changes in your life, such as the actions mentioned above.
However, a low mood that doesn’t seem to go away can be a sign of depression.
Symptoms of depression may include:
- A low mood lasting two weeks or more
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Feeling hopeless
- No longer experiencing enjoyment in activities you ordinarily would enjoy
- Very low energy and fatigue
- Loss of appetite or comfort eating
- Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
- Experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself
Regardless of the cause, if you’ve been experiencing low mood or struggling with negative feelings and it’s getting in the way of your normal everyday activities, then you might find it beneficial to speak with a health professional and seek extra support.
Please note: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or having thoughts of harming yourself, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for immediate assistance.
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Kylie Lepri is a registered Psychotherapist, Marriage & Relationship Counsellor, and Clinical Supervisor. Since 2003 she has helped individuals and couples work through life stressors, develop new goals and create better relationships. Get Kylie’s FREE ebook: 5 Proven Strategies to help manage stress today, by joining her newsletter below.