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Do you feel like you could accomplish much more and be who you were meant to be if only you weren’t in such a bad mood? Maybe you often feel depressed, or maybe your mood fluctuates wildly and you just want relief. What is helpful to remember about moods is that they are temporary states of mind. Recognizing their ebb and flow can help you regain control over your internal state and lead you to feel empowered. You can do things to influence and change your mood.  

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to provide you with some tips and tricks to boost your mood as well as some ideas of things to add to your routine that can make lasting improvements in your mood. Whether or not you are struggling with a mental health disorder, these tips can contribute to your overall wellbeing, while hopefully making you feel just a tiny bit better throughout the day. 

What Can I Do To Help My Mood RIGHT NOW ?

People tend to want to avoid negative moods and emotions because they are uncomfortable. This is understandable, but acknowledging even our most negative and dark moods can help them pass quicker. Here are a few quick things you can do to honor your current mood state, no matter where you are. First, go through the following questions: 

  1. How would I label my mood? 
  2. What do I think are the contributing factors?  
  3. What do I need right now, and can I give that to myself? Or promise to do it later?  

When we feel badly, whether sad, mad, fearful, traumatized, panicked, or any other uncomfortable emotion, we often desire a quick fix to make it go away. But part of taking care of yourself is honoring all your states of mind. To that end, can you label, specifically, what emotion you are experiencing? If you feel sad, can you go beyond that primary emotion to find a more specific description? Maybe you really feel inferior, guilty, or ashamed. The feeling wheel can help you go deeper within yourself to determine what you are experiencing. 

Try to determine what is contributing to your mood. Maybe that is easy to describe or maybe not. Maybe you just experienced a huge loss and you can easily connect that to your mood. Or maybe you feel depressed and you can’t connect it to any circumstance. That’s ok. ,

What is it that you need the most right now and is it attainable? If you feel you need a beach vacation, but can’t jump on a plane tonight, it’s best to commit to taking care of yourself in another way, while promising yourself that you will honor your need for a vacation/break as soon as possible.  

Quick and “Easy” Mood Boosters 

Regarding number three on the above list, if you can’t do what you feel you need right now, don’t despair! Sometimes when we are feeling badly, the very things that can help us are things that we are reluctant to do. Such as, talking to a friend or getting out of the house. As such, here are some relatively simple things that can help your mood.  

  • Deep breathing for 3 minutes 
  • Listening to a favorite song 
  • Looking at a picture that brings you joy 
  • Engaging in a healthy distraction  
  • Going outside 
  • Drinking a glass of water 
  • Free writing 
  • Take a 3 min walk 
  • Sit in the sun for 2 min (assuming you can find sun in New Castle) 

Deep breathing has many benefits, especially when you’re feeling down. There are several ways to do this. First try to imagine filling your belly with air. Then try breathing in for 4 seconds (through your nose) and out for 4 seconds (through your mouth). This helps to slow your heart  and respiration rates and ensure that your body is getting the oxygen it needs. When we’re anxious, we tend to breathe shallowly, which can cause headaches and make anxiety worse. 

Along the same level of healthy breathing, proper hydration can have a two fold impact, drinking a glass of water can both nourish and help to ground you and center you back into your body. It also guards against overeating or stress eating!

Doing something kind for yourself
  • listening to a favorite song can help improve your mood. If you can’t think of any song that appeals to you, try instrumental music on YouTube or Pandora. Here is a link to calming piano music (Nessa’s favorite when she is stressed)Music can truly be medicine for the soul.
  • sometimes ‘non music’ sounds are the necessary outlet. At Angelus the twomost frequent apps we recommend are Relax Melodies & Insight Timer (Learn More in our Mindfulness Blog).  Other Great Apps inlclude Headspace & Calm.
  •  looking at the image of a loved one, a pet, beautiful scenery, or something that is meaningful to you can help bring you peace in a moment of pain. Keep a few of those types of photos handy, either on your electronic device or in your wallet.  

Engaging in a healthy distraction for a few minutes also can boost your mood. This does not include mindlessly scrolling through social media!

  • This might involve coloring in an adult coloring book (even if you are decorating expletives!). 
  • Getting some sunshine or enjoying nature for a few minutes can take you out of the negative thought tornado in your head and provide some relief. 
  • Free-writing, even for a few minutes, can take some of the negative energy out of you and put it on paper It also gives you a way to process what you are experiencing. All you must do is keep your pen moving and write about what you are feeling/experiencing in a nonjudgmental way. You might even find yourself creating poetry!

If you are to the point where your mood is low enough that you struggle to get out of bed, the above suggestions may help bring you some relief. However, if you are not finding any or enough relief from the above suggestions you may need additional support and guidance to help you through this period. This can come in the form of natural supports or from a therapist. Your suffering doesn’t need to continue. Click here to get in contact with a therapist at Angelus Therapeutic Services.  

Check back next week for our blog on How to Manage a Mental Health Flare Up!

Blog Credit: Natalie Drozda, MA, LPC is a PH.D student in Counseling Education and Supervision at Duquesne University and soon to be clinician at Angelus Therapeutic Services