There are times when you feel happy, and times when you feel down. Sometimes you just feel tired and have no energy or motivation to do anything. But there are a number of ways you can improve your mood naturally, without resorting to drugs or drink.
Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself too hard and taking on more than you can handle. Or maybe there has been an external situation beyond your control that has caused your mood to drop… The good news is, you can take back control.
Understanding why our mood is low
Mood swings are normal and are triggered by our day-to-day experiences. At times, you may feel gloomy for no apparent reason. The gloom may be due to hormones, or factors such as burnout or strain. In the UK, we are often deprived of sunlight for extended periods, and the grey, rain and gloom can have an impact on our mood.
Another common issue is a diet lacking in certain nutrients. If you’re not getting enough fruit and veg or a balanced diet in general, it can cause a number of emotional and mental health concerns.
When this somber mood lasts longer than usual, the sadness might develop into depression, which is significantly worse and a real cause for concern. Depression is often caused by stresses in life such as financial struggles, relationship problems, the loss of a loved one, or similar emotionally draining situations.
If you’re suffering from depression, you should seek medical attention. Depression is treatable. If left untreated, depression can cause long term mental health problems and, in the worst cases, drive a person to suicide.
When you’re in this low state, the best thing you can do is be gentle on yourself, slow down, and allow yourself to heal. Just accept that it’s completely normal to feel down, and allow yourself to be. This would help you boost your mood.
The next time you feel your feelings drifting towards depression, you might want to try doing any of the following things to try and improve your mood naturally:
Most of the time the low feeling is due to burnout from overworking yourself. In this situation, the best thing you can do is simply take some rest and let go. Don’t put any expectations on yourself, just let yourself be. Rest helps you to improve the mood around you and release good energy naturally.
2. Expose yourself to sunlight
It’s scientifically proven that a lack of sunlight can cause depression. Studies show that depression rates are highest during winter, and significantly lower during summer when there’s a lot of sunlight.
When you’re feeling down, consider opening the windows or your windows blinds and letting some natural light into your home. Whatever the weather, step outside, take some deep breaths of fresh air, and soak in some natural light (yes, even if it’s a bit grey and rainy like it often is in Devon). It won’t be long before you notice a shift in your mood.
3. Drink more water and eat something healthy
Sometimes you feel down because your stomach is empty. This might sound funny but it’s actually true. Going an extended period without food can make you feel irritable and sad.
When you’re feeling low, grab a simple healthy meal and a glass of water. Although it can be tempting to rely on sugary or fatty foods to improve our mood, this often has the opposite effect of making us feel worse after the initial boost. Try to eat some form of whole foods (i.e; not processed) meal, such as fruit and vegetables, fresh fish or something spicy. Yup, life hack here… Spicy food releases that happy hormone serotonin!
Focusing on improving your diet is a top tip for naturally improving your mood.
Walking or doing simple exercise can help you relieve stress very quickly. If you’re feeling down, you could take a walk outside in the fresh air. It’s therapeutic, calms you down, and is actually pleasant too.
In fact exercise or playing a sport is one of the best ways to naturally improve your mood and feel better about yourself. Here in Devon, we have plenty of fabulous great outdoors, so take a walk on the moors, along the coast or around one of our great towns…
Another natural way of releasing stress and improving your mood is through sleep. There’s nothing like a good old nap. When you feel low, try taking a nap and see if you don’t wake up feeling better. You wake up from a nap with greater energy, are able to concentrate better, and think more clearly overall.
Research proves there’s a link between depression and lack of sleep. It’s therefore important that you develop good sleeping habits to minimize the chances of becoming depressed.
6. Meditation and mindfulness
Research proves that as little as three minutes is enough to change your mood. If you feel that tension rising, try meditating for five minutes. Breathe in and out and allow the tension to leave your body. Meditation can rest your brain and help you relax and calm down, releasing worry and anger and leaving you in a better mood.
7. Helping someone in need
Giving things out to people in need, whether old or new, makes you feel better about yourself. Something insignificant to you could be substantial to someone in need. It’s difficult to explain the sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that comes with a sense of purpose when you help others.
8. Clean your house
When you’re down, the worst thing you can do is let it overwhelm you. Keeping yourself occupied is essential, particularly with activities that might help relieve stress. Cleaning your entire house is one of these things. There’s no better feeling than finishing a cleaning task and seeing everything sparkling clean and fresh. It instantly boosts your morale.
It could be the thought of the pending tasks that was making you feel low. Doing the cleaning and clearing any assignments you had, therefore, relieves any stress you had of unfinished work, lifting your mood almost immediately.
9. Watch a comedy
Laughter is the most effective way to release happy chemicals, which can elevate your mood instantly. Next time when you’re feel low, try watching a sitcom like ‘The Office’ or a really funny comedy to see if it doesn’t lift your spirits.
10. Hang out with friends
In the same way that laughter is the best medicine, a great way to improve your mood is to hang out with good friends or family. And in our digital world, this can be something that is easily overlooked. Chatting to friends on Snapchat or Facebook is NOT the same as going for a coffee with a buddy, or just having a chit chat in the park.
Make a point of reaching out to old friends if you’re feeling down. It really does help!
11. Shift your focus
You may feel unhappy because you focus on the hard and challenging problems rather than the simpler alternatives. Changing your perspective can be all you need to lift your spirits. When things aren’t going as planned, it’s best to focus on the positive aspects that make you feel good rather than the negative aspects that make you feel miserable.
12. Listen to uplifting music
Music has a direct impact on your mind, emotions, and soul in subtle but significant ways. Listening to upbeat music when you feel low can instantly improve your mood. It’s even better if you have a playlist ready for such situations.
There you have it, some of the best natural remedies for depression. There are a lot of different other things you can do to boost mood, but the ones on this list are some of the most effective natural remedies for depression. Next time you feel low, try any of the various steps listed above and see if it will help you feel better. Remember to have a positive attitude while at it, to increase your chances of success.