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Last Updated on January 5, 2021

10 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You Are Feeling Down

10 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You Are Feeling Down

Any time you’re feeling down, you have two options. You can keep doing what you’re doing, which means continuing to feel less than ideal. Or, you can make a change and try to pick yourself back up.

The latter isn’t always easy. If you’re feeling down, you’re likely suffering from a lack of motivation, sadness, or stress, which can all cause you to want to stay exactly where you are. Because it can be difficult to know what to do when you’re down, we came up with 10 things to try to get that smile back on your face.

1. Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. While it’s beneficial to aspire to greatness, sometimes you need to sit back, reflect, and recognize all the good things you have going on right now.

When you’re feeling down, try this: think about the things in life you’re grateful for. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to constantly achieve, and be content with who you are right now at this moment. And remember, happiness is a choice.

2. Get up and Move

One of the best ways to pick yourself up when you’re having a tough day is to get up and do some exercise.

One study found that “exercise, whether performed at a low (yoga or similar), moderate or vigorous intensity (aerobic training) is effective in treating mild to moderate depression and is at least as effective as treatment as usual by a physician”[1]

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Therefore, even if you don’t enjoy Zumba or Pilates classes, taking a walk around the block can be just as effective in lifting your spirits. Whatever you do, get up, get moving, and get over it.

3. Surround Yourself With People You Love

Family members and friends can be the best medicine when you are feeling depressed or stressed from time to time. Even if you can’t see them in person, pick up the phone and call someone you love. Sometimes all you need is a friend to listen to you and offer some positive thoughts.

Many studies have pointed out the importance of social support on overall well-being[2]. Tough days are inevitable, but having people to go to at those times makes a world of difference and can help you turn things around. If you’ve been suffering from depression or excessive stress for a long time, support groups can also be a great way to find connection.

4. Find a Way to Laugh

We take life a little too seriously sometimes, so let’s put this in perspective: how you’re feeling right now is one tiny moment out of the thousands you will experience in your lifetime.

Know that sadness is temporary, and pick yourself up by watching your favorite funny show, movie, or video online.

One study has pointed out that “laughter decreases serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (a major dopamine catabolite), indicating a reversal of the stress response”[3]. Therefore, laughter can be especially effective if you’re had a stressful day at work or are feeling frustrated with life.

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5. Eat Something Healthy

When people are feeling down, most turn to junk food. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things you can do for your mental health.

Recent studies have pointed to a link between food and mood. Some suggest that Vitamin D can help lower rates of depression, while another found “an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat”[4].

Feeling Down? 10 Foods to Eat to Fight Depression

    While a general consensus on diet and mood has not yet been reached, it’s safe to say that eating healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds can help you feel better and fill your body with proper nutrients[5]. That’s a win-win.

    6. Take Deep Breaths

    Focusing on your breathing may not sound like much, but it can make a world of difference if you’re feeling down. When you breathe deeply, your brain sends a message to your body to calm down, which decreases your body’s overall stress response[6].

    Spend a few minutes focusing on nothing except your breath. Take long, slow breaths, and get rid of all negative thoughts on each exhale. Try these 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly).

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    7. Spend Time With Animals

    Pets are therapeutic, and they’re smart; they can sense when you’re sad. Dogs are especially good for when you’re feeling down as they can motivate you to get out and walk. However, simply stroking a dog or cat can provide relief from stress and frustration[7].

    Even if you don’t have a pet, you likely have a friend who does. Try spending some time around animals, and watch your stress melt away.

    8. Do Something Spontaneous

    You may not feel like doing much when you’re feeling down, but one of the best ways to free your mind of those pesky negative thoughts is to go out and do something totally spontaneous.

    Take an impromptu road trip to go visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Visit your favorite store and treat yourself to a new outfit. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

    By stepping outside of your comfort zone, even for only a few minutes, you will inject some motivation and positivity into your day.

    9. Read Something Inspirational

    Words have the power to heal and pick you back up when you’re down. Go online and search for inspirational quotes. Watch a speech from a famous and inspiring leader you admire, or read a thoughtful or inspiring book.

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    This is great for a rainy day when you’re stuck inside, or when you’re trying to build up the motivation to do something more active.

    10. Get Some Work Done

    Here’s an easy way to take your mind off negative thoughts when you’re having a bad day: do some work.

    Whether it’s your job, doing chores, or working on a project you’re passionate about, getting work done will help you feel productive and free up your mind. Working around the house can also be a good way to get into a state of flow, which will occupy your mind and get you away from negative ruminations.

    More for When You’re Feeling Down

    Featured photo credit: Cameron Stow via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Preventative Medicine: Training fast or slow? Exercise for depression: A randomized controlled trial
    [2] ResearchGate: Close Relationships and Happiness
    [3] The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine: Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review
    [4] Harvard Health Publishing: Food and mood: Is there a connection?
    [5] Top 10 Home Remedies: 10 Foods to Eat to Fight Depression
    [6] University of Michigan: Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
    [7] Mental Health Foundation: Pets and mental health

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    Scott Christ

    Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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