Things that can improve your mood
made of water
of course i am emotional”
― Rupi Kaur, the sun and her flowers
We all feel down from time-to-time. It is a perfectly natural and normal part of being human to experience low mood sometimes. When we feel down our instinct is often to hide away from the world and isolate ourselves. Often when we feel down we are naturally driven to do things that actually just make our low mood worse. We may not feel like exercising, meeting people or going to our therapy session, when actually all of these things could make us feel much better.
Whilst we all feel down sometimes, if you notice that you are feeling low for several days, it is important to speak to a doctor or a mental health professional about how you are feeling. Someone will often receive a diagnosis of depression when they have experienced a persistent low mood for at least 2 weeks.
Alongside any support or treatment you are receiving from your doctor or mental health professional, here are some other things you can do to improve your mood:
- Gently push yourself to meet friends and family
When we feel low we tend to withdraw from people, things we love to do and the world. However, isolation and feeling lonely can actually cause low mood or make low mood worse. So when you are feeling down, it can help to gently push yourself to see people who you feel good around. Whilst you may experience a lot of resistance to meeting these people, once you have spent some time with them, you are likely to feel much better.
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends exercise as a first line treatment for mild depression. Movement has a powerful ability to shift how we feel and our mood. Now often when we feel low, going for a walk or to the gym is the last thing that we feel like doing. However, just gently encouraging ourselves to engage in any type of movement can make us feel so much better.
- Spend time in nature.
Spending time in nature can boost our mental and emotional health. When we are feeling low, seeking out a park or on a beach or perhaps even buying some house plants to take care of, could make us feel better.
- Prioritise sleep.
Sleep deprivation can very negatively affect our mood. We all need to be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If we are getting any less than this it could contribute to low mood and negative thoughts. If you are finding that you aren't making much time for sleep and are feeling down, it can help to start to make sleep more of a priority. Some people who feel low might actually find themselves sleeping a lot whereas others who feel low may have difficulty sleeping. If you are struggling with sleep and feeling low, a form of therapy called CBT-I can help to improve your sleep quality.
- Reflect on your life as a whole.
Sometimes we feel low because something is off in our lives. It could be that we are slogging away at a job we hate, we are in a relationship that we know isn't right for us or we don't feel that we have strong friendships in our life. Often we feel down because there is something in our life that needs addressing or changing. It can be very scary to think about making big changes in your life but if you are feeling down it can help to reflect upon whether the life you have built so far is truly making you happy.
- Eat nourishing food (but in a balanced and flexible way).
The field of nutritional psychiatry shows that the food we eat can have a huge impact on our mental health. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet packed with lots of vegetables, fruits and other nourishing whole foods can really boost our mood. Being too obsessive over your diet can however be unhelpful and negatively affect your mental health. So it can help to not be too restrictive with your diet or ban any foods but instead to try and add nourishment and nutrition to your diet where you can.
If you have been feeling low and would like some support with your mood, reach out to us at email@example.com to book in a free consultation.
“you look at me and cry
i hold you and whisper
but everything can heal”
― Rupi Kaur, milk and honey