Dealing with low mood; what can help.
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.
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