We all have those days where we feel melancholy and can’t quite shake it. There may be a valid reason for our sadness but we don’t always know what the cause is. Either way, we can all agree that being sad is unpleasant. Feeling sad drains us of energy, prevents us from getting out, and can easily turn into a vicious cycle where sadness causes symptoms and symptoms cause further sadness. Although this feeling may not be a form of clinical depression or be cause for alarm, one should monitor symptoms to ensure that they do not manifest into something more serious. Going to individual therapy or spending time on self-exploration through other avenues can help get to the root causes of unhappiness. What can one do when feeling down, even as a temporary fix? Many people choose to lie in bed, cry, or simply shut down. But there are various steps we can take to lift our mood. They are all pretty simple and cost nothing! Read about the 6 tips that can give your mood an instant lift.
Research shows time and time again that getting physical activity produces endorphins. These chemicals reduce our perception of pain and help us to naturally feel good. As an added bonus, recent studies have shown that doing physical activity outdoors is related to better moods and increased motivation compared to those who exercise indoors. Find an activity that you enjoy and incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine.
Take time to indulge in experiences and hobbies that have at one point or another brought you pleasure. We often get so caught up in the routines and chores of daily life that we forget to take time for ourselves. Making hobbies and interests a priority will serve as a great benefit by redirecting us from constant thoughts and worries, while also allowing for appreciation of what is positive in our lives. Additionally, the options are endless. Cooking, painting, sewing, playing sports, watching a movie, hanging out with friends, and mediating are just a few examples of activities one might enjoy.
When you hold things inside and close your feelings to others, it can weigh you down and prevent you from being open to the ideas and suggestions of others. By reaching out to someone close to you and sharing your experiences, you will have a source of guidance to help you problem solve and a listening ear if you simply need to vent. If you have trouble expressing your emotions, even talking about your thoughts can be beneficial to providing some immediate relief.
The first step in changing our thought patterns is identifying what we are thinking during a given instance. Try and recall or be aware of your thoughts, particularly when you are feeling sad. What are these thoughts telling you? Are they valid or logical? Is there factual evidence to support the negative thoughts? Often the answer is “no.” The next step is learning how to stop the negative thoughts. Catch the thoughts in their tracks and replace them with more adaptive, logical, and positive ones. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions which lead to negative behaviors. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones will help stop this dysfunctional cycle.
Find a favorite song and turn it up! Findings continue to demonstrate that music has a positive impact on mental health. This one is especially simple to do in the car but is also convenient to do anywhere these days if you have headphones and a playlist. We also associate songs with experiences. Hearing a song and being reminded about a fond memory will almost always cheer you up.
Do you ever find yourself listening to complaints and/or negative comments from others and feel drained following your interaction? It’s simple to get caught up in others’ worries, shifting the focus from bettering yourself to solving others’ problems. While it is kind to help others and provide needed support, it is necessary to have healthy boundaries and balance the time you spend with those who are emotionally draining. Surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you and that you find yourself feeling happy around.