Life comes with uncertainties, and these instabilities are inevitable. It is okay, to sometimes not be okay. It makes us human, our existence real and to a point arguably interesting. David Levithan in his book, the Lover's Dictionary says "The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.”
We need effective ways to cope with the instabilities that come with living. Difficulties in life can result in low moods, stress and heightened anxieties which can take a toll on our general health. Below are some of the most effective and simple ways of dealing with low moods:
Talk with a good and trusted friend or family member:
Talking to a friend who listens without judgement can help you feel heard, seen, supported. They can help you pull through dark times and help you cope with ordeals, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one. Studies reveal that people who have solid friendship groups have a good quality of life. It is recommended, that people experiencing low mood and mental distress keep friendships going, especially during difficult times when most people would prefer to withdraw (Friendship and mental health, 2020). Good friends help you recover from a mental and emotional difficulty and help you overcome the isolation that often comes with it. So, please reach out to your loved once for support.
2. Go outside for a walk:
Being physically active can improve mood, decrease the chance of depression and anxiety and lead to a better and more balanced lifestyle. Walking is not only good for your physical wellbeing but your mental health. Walking releases endorphins and also helps you pull out of the feeling of being stuck and isolated, (Health benefits of walking - Ramblers, 2020). Fifteen minutes walk in parks and green spaces can help you connect to nature and the outside world. If you can, consider walking to work in the morning or taking a short stroll during break and lunch. Small steps go a long way.
3. Listen to some feel-good music:
A study by McGill University in Montreal shows music releases dopamine of up to 9%. This helps in enhancing our mood because dopamine is the chemical messager that encourages us to strive, focus, and find things in life interesting. A 2006 study showed that people with chronic pain found that music aided in reducing pain and acute anxiety and depressions. (Harvard Health Publishing, 2011). When you are not feeling like chirpy self, turn on your feel-good music and allow it to transport you to a happy place. Sing along if you want to and dance if the song hits you.
4. Look through some of your old favourite photos:
A research conducted by Peter Nash, a senior psychology lecturer at The Open University reveals that looking at photographs could enhance mood by 22% which is much more than drinking wine and eating chocolate. Going through your old photos can remind you of many happy and cherished memories. Laughing at old funny photos release endorphins.
Endorphins act the receptors in our brains that reduce pain and stress and boost pleasure, which assist in a feeling of well-being. Looking at photos of loved ones at various stage of their lives has proven to be an effective way of enhancing our mood.
5. Treat yourself to a special day out:
Going to the museum, visiting a famous landmark, having a spa day, going dancing or inviting your friends to meet up are all sure ways of improving your mood. If you enjoy taking photographs and painting the world about you, definitely go out and do it. Some of these activities can help you gain a great sense of achievement.
Try to avoid doing things that are enjoyable at the time but make you feel worse afterwards, like eating a whole bowl of ice, drinking too much alcohol and junk food. Whatever activity you choose, make sure it brings you happiness and joy.
References: Mcgilchrist, S. 2011. Music 'releases mood-enhancing chemical in the brain'. [Online]. [24 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12135590
Harvard health publishing. 2011. Music and health. [Online]. [24 July 2020]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/music-and-health
Mental Health Foundation. 2020. Friendship And Mental Health. [online] Available at: <https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/f/friendship-and-mental-health> [Accessed 6 August 2020].
Ramblers.org.uk. 2020. Health Benefits Of Walking - Ramblers. [online] Available at: <https://www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/facts-and-stats-about-walking/health-benefits-of-walking.aspx> [Accessed 6 August 2020].
Psychologies. 2020. The Power Of Photographs. [online] Available at: <https://www.psychologies.co.uk/self/the-power-of-photographs.html> [Accessed 7 August 2020].
Lyle, L., 2015. Improve Your Mood With Photography - The Positive Psychology People. [online] The Positive Psychology People. Available at: <https://www.thepositivepsychologypeople.com/improve-your-mood-with-photography/> [Accessed 7 August 2020].