5 Simple Ways To Boost Your Mood Today
Not feeling like yourself is never fun. Whether you’re feeling a little off and can’t pinpoint why or are just seriously down in the dumps, getting back into the swing of things can be bloody difficult at times.
Whatever your circumstances may be, it seems that avoiding our mental health issues is never the answer – it’s as if the longer you go without proactively trying to shake those intrusive thoughts, the worse they get.
If you’re not feeling your best, there are some ways you can go about boosting your mental health, today.
#1 Get a good night’s sleep
Make’s sense – waking up tired and cranky isn’t exactly a cracking start to your day. Not only will this make you a formidable force at work that anybody with regard for their own life should actively avoid, it might be influencing how well you retain and interpret information.
According to the Sleep Health Foundation the relationship between health and mental health is not clearly understood, but getting a good night’s sleep has shown to foster both mental and emotional resilience.
During the day, we are bombarded with a bunch of new information and having had a good night’s sleep the previous night gives your brain some ‘down time’ to process all of this information and store it in your memory bank.
The Harvard Mental Health Newsletter states that, “Once viewed only as symptoms, sleep problems may actually contribute to psychiatric disorders”. People with crappy sleep patterns are more likely to develop mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, than those who get a good night’s sleep.
If you aren’t sure what constitutes a good night’s sleep, the Sleep Health Foundation suggest that most adults should get around eight hours a night.
#2 Go for a run
Arguably the greatest distraction from intrusive thoughts or a negative mindset is exercise. Who has time to be sad or worried when your thighs are burning as if they’re actually on fire?
OK, that isn’t the most compelling argument, but when you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins in your brain, which is essentially the ‘happy hormone’, which reduce your perception of pain.
A Dutch study of more than 7,000 adults found that regular exercise reduced the risk of developing a mood or anxiety disorder over the following three years, even while taking into account socioeconomic factors and physical illnesses.
Besides kicking depression’s butt, you’ll be getting some serious gains with all that exercise.
In saying that, it doesn’t really matter how you choose to exercise, so long as you’re getting your heart rate up. You may choose to go for a bike ride, swim some laps or even take a long walk – totally up to you.
#3 Get outside
Stepping outside and taking a few deep breaths in some fresh air is sometimes enough to ground us – this isn’t a new revelation. The belief that contact with nature eliminates stress and benefits humans can be found in the earliest documented histories of China, Greece and Persia.
Since the early ‘80s, environmental psychologists have studied the health effects of contact with nature, and a study funded by beyondblue concluded that humans depend on nature not simply for material requirements – such as water, food and shelter – but also for emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.
Those who regularly get out amongst the greenery were found to benefit in a variety of ways, including improved mood, lower levels of anxiety, lower stress levels, lower levels of depression and increased physical activity.
#4 Set some time aside to do something you enjoy
What better way to make you feel better than to do the thing you like most? When you’re in a slump, it’s good to indulge in the things that make you the happiest.
I get it though, when you’re not feeling like yourself you might feel as though you’ve lost all interest – it’s just not the same as it once was. Fight this feeling though: you’ll thank yourself for it.
Whether it’s spending the day in bed binge-watching your favourite TV show or setting aside time for your favourite hobby, it’s important to make room for the things that make you happy in life.
In saying that, it’s also important to practice moderation. So don’t block out two weeks in your calendar to lie in bed and consume kilometres worth of pizza.
Meditation may seem scary or foreign to some, but it shouldn’t. It’s been around since, well, forever with some of the earliest written records from around 1500BCE.
Some research suggests it may help people manage psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as physical conditions such as asthma, chronic pain and heart disease.
It’s important to note that these are all suggestions to boost your mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis, but it’s vital to regard your mental health in the same way you would your physical wellbeing.
If you’re struggling, and are looking for a helping hand, you’ll find all the contacts and assistance you need on the beyondblue website.
Look after yourselves!
Bradley is a writer from Newcastle who enjoys travel, Tina Fey and is a connoisseur of cheap red wine.