There are days when the weather is so awful, you have a million things to do and you’re up against a deadline – that’s not even including long-term problems like being stuck in traffic every morning. When this sort of pressure hits, people might not realize they’re feeling depressed because they believe that feeling sad is just part of our primitive wiring. With science proving otherwise and showing us there are some effective ways to bounce back, it can help us feel happier, more motivated and more positive about life.
Take care of your body
You might not realize, but the way you treat your body directly affects your mood. If you're not exercising regularly, eating right, and getting enough sleep, then the odds are good that you're not in the best mood possible. Get back on track by making small changes in these areas to see how they affect your overall well-being. For example, start walking every day or eat more fruits and vegetables (and fewer processed foods).
When you’re ready to rest, turn off your TV, phone and social media apps. The blue light from these devices can make it harder for you to fall asleep because it suppresses melatonin production, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Stop using screens an hour before bedtime and read a book instead.
Be kind to yourself
This may sound like a no-brainer but it's not easy. It's so easy to beat ourselves up for our mistakes, failures and shortcomings. I've always had a hard time forgiving myself when I make a mistake, or even if someone else points out something I should have done differently. This has gotten me into trouble with my kids because they can see right through me when I'm not being nice to myself. They can tell when I am feeling down on myself and they don't like it at all!
So what's the solution? The answer is simple: be kinder to yourself! Forgive yourself for your mistakes, learn from them and move on! Don't let them define you as a person or make you feel bad about who you are! This is definitely easier said than done but with practice it gets easier every day.
Being present is one of the best things you can do for your mood. It helps you focus on what's happening in the moment and be less likely to ruminate or worry about the past or future.
When you're focused on being present, it's easier to identify negative thoughts and recognize that they're just that — thoughts. They don't have to dictate how you feel about yourself or your situation.
It can be hard to stay present when you're stressed out or upset, but there are ways to make it easier:
Take a deep breath. Breathing deeply helps calm your body down, so take a few minutes to breathe deeply as soon as you notice that your mind has wandered off into the future or past. This is also known as a relaxation response because it slows down your heart rate and blood pressure while lowering stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Let go of expectations. When you have unrealistic expectations for yourself — like trying to be perfect all the time — it can be hard to enjoy the moment because you're constantly comparing yourself with others' accomplishments instead of focusing on how far you've come in life thus far. In reality, no one is perfect; we all make mistakes from time to time!