Dealing with low mood; what can help.
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Dr Rosa Pastena -individual and couple therapy-
24th February, 20150 Comments
We can all experience ups and downs in our lives; it is a natural and normal response to all the different events we are continuously exposed to. A difficult childhood, bereavement, bullying, illness, relationship problems are just some of the reasons why we can feel hopeless and in low spirits. Actually, some people find difficult to identify a specific trigger; being either unaware of it or having more than one direct link to their low mood.
Is there a difference between low mood and clinical depression?
As many other psychological difficulties low mood/depression ranges from a general sadness to a serious long-term condition which can even affect the body.
A general low mood can be also accompanied by:
- low self-esteem
- frustration and anger
Usually a low mood doesn’t last long and will have a tendency to improve after a few days. When a low mood doesn't go away and lasts for months, this could be a sign of depression. The symptoms mentioned above might become more present and intense and one can also experience:
- tearfulness (also sudden, for no apparent reason)
- intolerance of others
- lack of motivation or interest in things
- not getting enjoyment/pleasure out of life
- suicidal thoughts.
Depression can be successfully treated especially if one seeks for help as soon as possible. However, there are some self-help tools to be used when a low mood is not a proper clinical condition but a temporary state of mind.
What can help?
The first basic rule when your mood is low is trying to re-establish a structure that has been temporary lost, therefore it is important to try to have a simple daily routine. The following actions can be useful to manage and better deal with temporary lack of motivation and sadness:
- Getting out of bed, having a shower and wearing comfortable clothes - even if one does not have any intention of going out.
- Set up a very simple, achievable goal for the day. It can be as simple as watching a movie, preparing a meal or taking care of something in the house.
- Try to have regular meals and avoid junk food. In fact skipping meals and/or comfort eating creates a vicious cycle that increases low self-esteem and a sense of being worthless.
- Think about making a small change. It could be resolving a difficult situation, starting something new or doing something one has never done before. Again, it doesn’t need to be complicated - you could buy a new plant, go to a new coffee shop etc.
- Talking about your worries with someone else can simply give you a new perspective.
- Getting enough rest and sleep can improve your mood as well as physical exercise. Regular walking has proved to be a very helpful for people experiencing low mood.
- Breathing exercises, progressive muscular relaxation and guided mindfulness meditation are just some of the very beneficial tools easily available online and for free.
About the author
Rosa Pastena, chartered clinical psychologist and Senior Psychotherapist (HCPC, BACP), working for both the NHS and privately. Individual and couple therapy.
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