Experiencing Low Mood
We all experience periods of low mood in our lifetime and feel sad sometimes about things that have happened. For some of us these moments don’t last for long and are manageable, but for others these periods can become prolonged and can affect our day to day tasks and impair our functioning.
People have different ways of dealing with low mood, some are healthy like physical exercise, healthy diet, engaging with family and friends and enjoying moments of relaxation: a warm bath,
meditation, mindfulness, etc. Sometimes, we use coping strategies that may seem good on short term but long term, they affect our relationships and generally, how we feel about ourselves. These unhealthy strategies involve avoiding people, eating more, sleeping less or more, drinking alcohol etc.
The key to dealing better with these periods is to become aware of what’s actually happening and finding out what your body is trying to tell you. Your brain is connected to your body and they
communicate between each other to let each other know how the other one is doing regarding wellbeing. If you become stressed, your body reacts by releasing cortisol and adrenaline (stress
hormones) meant to push you to deal with the stressor. It also works the other way around: your body might react to something perceived as a threat, then your mind comes up with a story to back
up the sensations and flow of stress hormones in the body. After all, we are rational human beings and part of our makeup is knowing why we do certain things or why we react in certain ways.
Here are a few things you could do to make sure you prevent spiralling down into a low mood:
- Monitor your thinking – become aware of your daily thoughts and what goes on through your mind. You can do this by journaling. Take time each day for a week to write down some of your thoughts. Are they negative or positive?
- Connect with people – set a goal to meet friends at least once a week and socialise. By doing
this, you release serotonin and dopamine in the brain responsible for feeling good, happy
- Physical activity – if you don’t want to go to the gym, go for a walk each day for 10-15 mins.
Research shows that being outdoors and especially in the sun boosts your mood. Maybe ask
a friend to join you.
- Mindfulness – practise meditation. Learn to breathe deeply and allow your body to relax. It
is amazing how the body reacts and how it relaxes just by you taking time to breathe in
slowly and exhale at the same pace.
- Interests/passion – I would encourage you to choose one thing you want to do for yourself
every week. It can be going to the cinema, buying a dessert, drawing, volunteering. Choose
something that gives you satisfaction.