Everyone goes through down times occasionally, where they feel depressed, frustrated, or unduly irritated. But if you find that your bad moods are becoming more frequent or lasting longer, it may be time to do something about them.
Of course, you can always check with your doctor if you feel unusually anxious, stressed out, or depressed. But if it’s more like a vague “blah” feeling, here are some tips that may perk you up again:
- Get moving. Moderate physical activity releases endorphins in the body’s bloodstream. Endorphins are natural elements that help to regulate hormones and emotions. When you have an adequate supply of them in your system, you feel balanced. If you have any physical limitations or have not exercised in a long time, ask your doctor if walking, swimming, or bicycling might be a helpful activity for you. Start slow, perhaps ten minutes a day at first, and increase your sessions to a half hour or more daily. Just don’t overdo it to end up with sore muscles.
- Write on. Research shows that keeping a journal and writing about negative feelings can help a person feel better and function well. But you also can write about positive things that are happening in your life. Recording pleasant events helps to preserve them, and reliving good feelings can contribute to mental health.
- Eat right. Follow a nutritious diet to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. If in doubt, consider taking a supplement. Include plentiful fruits and vegetables, up to nine servings a day, to enhance your overall well-being. Avoid overeating, which can be a cause or effect of depression. If you are overweight, consult a medical professional to get a healthy eating plan.
- Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself if you feel anxious or sad. Instead, make dates with friends, family members, and co-workers for a getaway lunch or after-work treat. Medical studies suggest that positive interactions with others, especially those with whom we have a friendship or relationship, can enrich our lives and promote a healthy mindset as well as longevity.
- Enjoy some rays. Get a few minutes of sunlight when the weather permits. Avoid outdoor exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the ultraviolet rays are at their worst. Aim for an early morning or early evening outing. Use sunscreen along with sunglasses and a hat to protect your skin. Recent research indicates that even light sun exposure can accent good health by preventing some forms of cancer, with other benefits, too. As with other practices, moderation is your best bet.
While anti-depressant medication may be the next step for some people who struggle with negative emotions, try suggestions like these to see what you can do on your own, first. If you experience extreme sadness or have trouble dealing with even simple daily tasks, consult a mental health practitioner. Chances are, though, that many people can benefit from a few basic lifestyle adjustments like those outlined above, so get started!