5 Simple and healthy ways to boost your mood and beat the blues
What are the blues? To begin with, ‘the blues’ are not depression.
“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest,” according to the Mayo clinic and, unlike having the blues, can lead to difficulties with physical health, partaking in daily activities and may lead to suicidal thoughts.
People often say they are feeling blue when they are sad or feeling ill. Sometimes these feelings are triggered by lack of sleep, being lonely, an argument with a loved one, a bad day at work, being run down or having money worries. But sadness can also seem to come out of nowhere and overwhelm you. The days you want to stay under the duvet, switch off the phone or eat comfort food while crying over a classic movie have been experienced by us all, but don’t let it continue for too long as you can find yourself stuck in a rut, unable to figure out what to do next to banish the blues. If you are feeling down, then read on for my tips that help me to re-focus and feel like me again, at little or no cost at all.
What can you do to boost your mood?
1. Change your environment
Although you may feel like locking yourself away and keeping the curtains closed, in the long run, this is not beneficial. Try getting up, making the bed and committing to giving the day a complete re-fresh. I always feel the benefit from de-cluttering, whether it’s paperwork piled high on the floor or unworn clothing which can be donated to charity or thrown out.
Another tip could be re-vamping your home. Pick your favorite room, the one you spend most time in, and re-arrange the furniture, add some items to brighten it up such as candles, a piece of art or cushions and create a clean, calm, beautiful space that makes you feel good when you enter.
If you don’t fancy tidying, you could go somewhere quiet like your local public gardens, to still be alone but enjoy a change of scenery in nice surroundings and plenty of fresh air.
2. Talk to someone
It’s good to take the weight off your shoulders and un-burden that heavy heart by speaking to someone else about what’s going on. Think about your family, friends or colleagues and approach someone who is easy to be around so you feel comfortable opening up. If it’s feels like everyone you know is too busy or you would prefer to talk to someone in confidence, guaranteed not to judge or tell you what to do next — then you can try contacting the Samaritans online; they are open 24 hours a day and always willing to lend a listening ear.
3. Re-read your favorite childhood book
Years of scientific study have revealed the link between reading and reduced stress, improved sleep quality, increased vocabulary and support of memory function. Reading gives you time to pause, think and lose yourself in a good story, taking time out of our hectic lives and concentrating on something other than our selves. Why a childhood book? As children, most of us spent hours at home or in libraries, deep in the world of bizarre, humorous and captivating stories that worked our imagination and kept our interest. I personally feel, if you want to do something to feel better, brighter and more energetic, then re-living those childhood favorites and bringing back all of the memories of being carefree can only be a good thing.
I also advocate for real books you can hold, lend, feel, smell, write notes on and really make your own, as the most beneficial way to enjoy reading. Plus, it mitigates the effects of back-lighting on electronic devices, which can reduce the release of melatonin (hormone that signals to our body it’s time to sleep). The full effects of these devices on our body are still unknown, so time away from a screen may do more than support your eye health.
4. Practice affirmations
An affirmation is a positive declaration of words intended to focus the brain, connecting the sentence to mental imagery and emotions to motivate wanted behaviors and outcomes. To build your confidence, gratitude and re-train the way you view yourself and the future, you can start by adopting other people’s affirmations (see examples below) until you feel ready to create your own. You need to dedicate time daily for this practice, recognizing what’s already good in your life (i.e. your health, having a job you enjoy or being able to pay your bills with ease) or affirming what you want to create next (being more active or making new friends, for example). You can repeat your affirmation each morning and at bedtime — and to make even more of an impact, try saying them while looking at yourself in the mirror.
- “My health is improving and I am becoming more vital and flexible everyday”
- “I know exactly what I need and enjoy eating foods that nourish my body”
- “I’ve got the skills to get the job of my dreams”
- “I am fun to be around and people enjoy my company”
- “I let happiness into my life now”
It’s really worth giving this a go, especially as those who are more optimistic have healthier hearts, revealed by a recent study.
5. Give yourself flowers
It’s so lovely to receive flowers as a gift, to feel thought of by others, to brighten up your home and have an object to give attention and care to — all soothing benefits — but you don’t have to wait for someone else to buy them for you. If it’s a one-off to give you a burst of joy or you decide to fill your home with fresh flowers on a regular basis, you can take a walk to the local florist, support a local business and hand-pick your own bouquet to complement each season.
Not sure where to begin? Try one of the following flowers known for their positive impact on emotional well-being:
Pansies (viola wittrockiana): small, come in an array of colors and elevates mood.
Sweet pea: easy to grow, produces a stunning fragrance and you can choose from bright or pastel shades.
Jasmine: sweet scent and triumphed in the top 3 flowers to evoke happiness during a scientific study at Chelsea Flower Show, by TV gardener David Domoney.
Lavender: apart from the gorgeous color, the scent is also widely known for its relaxing effects and medicinally its useful for treating anxiety, insomnia and stress.
Daffodil: bright, bold and always reminds me of spring coming with longer, lighter, warmer days and evokes great childhood memories. When used medicinally, daffodils act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant.
Various studies have revealed that the presence of fresh flowers in your environment reduces depression, anxiety and increases compassion, with many more positive impacts on your emotional and physical health. So why not treat yourself today or maybe look into taking up gardening as a new hobby to grown your own beautiful variations?
How do I know if I’m suffering from depression?
If you are worried because your symptoms are out of character, have been going on for some time or you feel as if you can no longer cope, it’s worth considering if you are suffering with depression. This disorder impacts many lives, with over 300 million men and women suffering from depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Many people can recover quickly when provided with the right help, which is widely available.
Depression can impact every area of your life and even become debilitating. Please don’t suffer in silence — support is available. If you are concerned, seek further advice from your doctor or nurse practitioner to talk things over and find support that’s right for you.
You deserve to be happy — always remember that!
>You may also enjoy My Return to Medication for Depression and Anxiety Disorder, by Indira Abby Heijnen