If you’ve been going through a difficult time, I know how overwhelming it can feel. Mental health challenges can make every day feel unpredictable. You can experience a lot of ups and downs in a short amount of time.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to include our mental healthcare as part of your overall healthcare. You may need to see a doctor or psychiatrist so they can prescribe medication to help correct physical or chemical imbalances.
But there are also many simple ways to improve your mood that may help in addition to prescribed treatments, starting with building healthy habits.
If you are struggling with depression these ideas may not seem simple to you, but try one thing at a time, one day at a time. Give yourself a lot of grace and keep trying. You are worth it!
Unplugging from Your Devices
We need our digital devices to some degree to work, learn, or communicate with our loved ones. But sometimes too much digital device use can lead to feelings of anxiety or overstimulation (where you’re wound up by lots of things happening around you at once).
Taking breaks from those devices is a great way to calm your mind and help you feel more relaxed, which may improve your mood.
You could try silencing your phone after school or work, deleting apps that constantly notify you of activity, or putting your phone in your bag or pocket when spending time with loved ones. Taking any of these steps, in addition to calming you down, could also make you feel more focused on the conversations or activities around you.
Listening to Music
Numerous studies have been done about music’s impact on the mood. And the news is good. Music can improve mood, even if the songs are sad.
Next time you’re feeling depressed or anxious, listen to some music. No matter what you choose, you’ll likely experience a sense of calm, relief, and feeling more connected to others.
One of the most important parts of a healthy self-care routine is regular physical activity. While some people enjoy long runs or intense workouts as a form of stress relief, intensity is not necessary to see a benefit from physical activity.
It could mean gentle stretching, a daily stroll, or using hand weights. Whatever you’re able to do, regular physical activity releases endorphins. Endorphins make people feel happier, and stress can be reduced as muscles move and relax.
Meditation or Prayer
Many people find they feel better on their journey to emotional healing when they take a little time out of each day to center themselves. Meditation and breathing exercises can be a great way to check-in with your mind, body, and spirit. And taking a moment to slow things down can have a positive impact on your mood.
Likewise, spending time in prayer and worship could be very beneficial, especially if you have found comfort in your faith in the past. Prayer is a great way for me to remember that God cares about me and is listening to me, even on days when I feel like no one else is.
Prayer is also a great time to pause and think about good things in your life and thank God for those things. Practicing gratitude and remembering what you are thankful for is important in shifting your thoughts away from negativity.
Talking Things Through
Once you’ve had some time to yourself to understand how you feel, it could be very helpful to talk about your feelings with someone else. A close friend or family member can offer a listening ear for the day-to-day stressors.
If you feel like you need extra support, TheHopeLine is here for you. Talk to a HopeCoach to get ideas about how to improve your mood and better care for your mental health. We are here for you, and we believe things will get better.
Are you feeling worn out and down about life? Read 31 tips to boost your mental health by our friends at Centerstone.
Photo by Harry Pappas