Some days are a struggle just to get through. Your mood swings become noticeable even to those around you – it goes from feeling “down in the dumps” to feelings of sadness, and finally, depression. The more you ignore it, the worse it gets. It becomes a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle. So what can you do about it? The most obvious approach would be to try to find out what’s getting you down. This might not be as easy as it sounds if you are the type of person who is a firm believer in the “this too shall pass” maxim, and while the maxim does make good on its promise, it can be exhausting to have the negative mood drag on. There are easy and quick ways to effectively boost your mood when you’re feeling down.
1. Force yourself to smile
This might seem impossible or silly, but research shows that it actually does work! You just have to try. It’s hard to feel sad or down when you’re smiling. Try smiling when you talk to people – it will make you feel better and seem more approachable. Look for funny videos online or watch a funny movie. If you’re more approachable, there is a higher chance of people talking to you, and that might help forget the bad mood or the thing that you may or may not realize caused it.
2. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad
This might seem like the opposite of the first tip, and it is to some extent. The first tip would be more appropriate for extroverts, and this one – for introverts. What is the difference? Introverts feel like they have to explain why they are quiet or want to be alone. This can be a hassle because people think you are upset or sick if you say you want to be alone. An introvert needs time on their own to recharge their batteries. Introverts derive energy from relaxing and being alone, while extroverts get theirs from the outside world, hence the tip to smile, communicate and socialize. Whoever you are, that’s who you have to be. You don’t need to pretend to be an ambivert, introvert or extrovert. Did you know that forcing yourself to be amicable can cause stress and burnout? Don’t feel guilty about saying something inappropriate because you are in a bad mood, leaving a party early or anything else. If you are tired, you need to rest. Social people are much more prone to saying something inappropriate or awkward, because they are always talking without thinking. Don’t beat yourself up over blurting something stupid or insensitive out. The people you said it to have long forgotten about it.
3. Go out for lunch or dinner
Plan some lunch or dinner dates with relatives, friends, or coworkers or go out on your own. It’s time to check out that new cafe or restaurant that you always wanted to go to. You might feel better if you have something to look forward to. Actually, you’ll definitely feel better.
4. Practice Mindfulness
The basic principle of mindfulness is not to focus so much on the past or the future, and instead focus more on the here and now – the present. You’re wasting energy by continuing to be angry about something that is in the past, or worrying about something that it is in the future that may never happen. Try practicing Mindfulness by focusing on the present moment instead.
5. Be Grateful
Find something to be grateful for, no matter how small or insignificant it might be. It could be being grateful for beautiful sunrises or sunsets, fresh air, the ocean, flowers, loving and supportive family and friends, pets and other animals. Practicing gratitude by really feeling this gratitude and bringing all of this glory into your heartspace is a sure way to boost your mood quickly as it’s hard to feel sad or down when we’re feeling grateful.
6. Get talking to people
You can alleviate depression by showing interest in other people. Ask people about everyday stuff like what they did over the weekend, what they are working on now, how their kids are or how their elderly parents are doing. You’ll find people have interesting stories to tell when you least expect it. And even if they don’t, it’ll offer a welcome distraction. Asking questions results in brain activity that is similar to real curiosity.
7. Find something to do
If you are feeling down, don’t dwell on it. Think of some fun activities that you could start doing, or if you can’t think of any, ask a friend, family member or a colleague for ideas. It is good to have an open mind as it can be easy when we’re feeling down to not be interested in doing anything, so we’ll easily reject any idea that comes to mind when it could actually be something really enjoyable. You could also even find an activity to set a goal for the day or the week – something small and achievable. You will get a sense of closure that will make you feel better every time you achieve a goal, no matter how banal.
8. Give compliments, and learn how to take them
Compliment others, and be grateful for their compliments to you. Being nice to others will improve both your mood and theirs, so find something nice to say to the people you meet and talk to, like something about their choice of clothes or jewellery, or their appearance such as they are looking really vibrant and healthy. Something that’s just as important is to learn to take compliments. When people are in a good mood, they can really appreciate a good compliment. This isn’t quite the case when they aren’t in a good mood. If someone says you look great, it can be tempting to reply, “OK but I feel like…” or say “Really?” in complete and utter disbelief. If you come back with a retort, the person will be less inclined to compliment you in the future. Instead of being humble or in disbelief, show some appreciation and say “thanks” at the very least.
9. Avoid negative people
Some people can be fairly negative. They don’t think negatively on purpose and they don’t mean any harm, but it can be helpful to minimise time around negative people as being around this environment can ruin a good mood and you can imagine how they’ll make you feel if you are already down in the dumps. Negativity is contagious. Hanging out with grumpy people will rub off on you. Instead, find cheerful people to speak to and spend time with. Positive thinkers lend positivism to those around them.
10. Get Active
Getting the body moving or doing some sort of physical exercise is a wonderful way to boost mood as so many mood boosting hormones are released into the body. It doesn’t have to be a 5km run to boost your mood, it could just be going for a bike ride, a stroll along the beach, a walk through the park, or a skateboard. Or it could be something indoors like rollerskating, or going to the indoor trampoline parks. Anything that gets the body moving is ideal.
Getting Professional Help
If you’re struggling with a persistent down or depressed mood, or finding that you just can’t seem to get your happiness back no matter what you do or how hard you try, it is absolutely okay to seek the help of a professional like a Clinical Psychologist. It is especially important if your down mood is part of an issue such as a depression or other mental health condition. Sometimes depression and the like can be going on without us really knowing it at the time, particularly if we don’t really know what to do look for when identifying a depression or other mental health condition. Our fully qualified Clinical Psychologists at Vitality Unleashed Psychology are trained in helping people to find their happiness again, and to identify and treat any other more serious psychological issues that might be going on causing the unhappiness you’re feeling.