7 Ways to Shift Your Mood
I had what I call an ‘Eeyore’ day yesterday (from the donkey character in Winnie the Pooh, who is always mildly depressed about everything). My Eeyore day started in the early morning, surfacing to the dawn chorus and then fitfully dozing until I finally woke again, late to the start of my day. Nothing seemed to engage me, or lift my spirits.
Energy levels in the basement, I munched my way through the day on an overload of sugary carbohydrate and extra coffee, until I could justifiably say that the day was over and could vegetate in front of the TV screen to some mind-numbing programme.
Despite knowing all the stuff that I should have been doing to pull myself out of my Eeyore state, I just didn’t have the energy. And so I succumbed, letting myself have a day where I was just miserable, for no apparent, easily discernable reason.
I’m fortunate, in that my Eeyore day was just that, one day. Today I woke at 6am, did some exercise, tended my vegetable seedlings, spoke to loved ones on Facetime, taught a Dru Yoga session, and so my day continued. But for those who can see no end to their Eeyore days, or their periods of the Black Dog, life is not so simple.
Anyone who has experienced a deterioration in mental health, either their own or someone close to them, understands that mental resilience is a cornerstone of a healthy, contented life.
Mental Health Awareness week has drawn to a close, but its purpose remains. Reminding us all that mental health is not a division that sees some people on one side of the fence and some on the other.
We are all in the same line, sometimes in one place in the line and sometimes in another place, constantly shifting. We all have mental health issues at some point in our lives, in the same way that we all have physical health issues at some point. We adjust, we adapt, we get help, we move forward.
With that in mind, I have updated my Blog ‘Where to turn to for help – Mental Health support services information’ to ensure that it offers up to date information for those of you who have a need, when you have a need.
And for those who, like me, are simply having an occasional Eeyore day, I would like to share some of my strategies for shifting the mood from cloudy to clear.
Physical movement raises endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormones that we hear so much about. Dru Yoga Energy Block Release (EBR) sequences are all about releasing this ‘stuck’ negative energy from our bodies and, more importantly, replacing with positive energy.
Go out Into Nature
Being out in Nature, particularly if you can be close to trees, is a great mood enhancer. ‘Forest bathing’ has become popular in Japan, as urban dwellers are shown to have higher stress levels than those with greater access to the countryside.
Listen to Uplifting Music
Music stimulates three important parts of the brain – amygdala, nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus, and can reduce the release of stress hormones like cortisol.
Write it Down & Let it Go
Journaling can be a useful way of acknowledging what is bothering you, and letting it go as you write it down. Naming an emotion seems to help to reduce its negative impact, a phenomenon seen in mindfulness meditation.
Give Thanks for the Good Stuff
Thinking about the stuff that you are grateful for can help to re-frame your day, even small things can make a difference. Many studies have found that people who practice gratitude are happier and less depressed.
Connect with Friends
An electronic exchange, or even better a face to face chat, can help to take your mind away from negative thoughts.
The ‘fake it until you make it’ strategy can work, as the movement in our facial muscles seems to send positive signals to the brain, which then re-inforces a positive state of mind.
So let's all smile.
How Trees Help You Stress Less
‘Music, Emotion and the Brain’
Stefan Koelsch ‘Brain correlates of music-evoked emotions’ https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn3666#Sec11
Putting Feelings Into Words Produces Therapeutic Effects in the Brain
‘How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain’
Why Talking About Our Problems Makes Us Feel Better
‘Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery’