Periods of low mood can happen to us all, often for no reason. The way we think can affect the way we feel. Moods are feelings that are longer lasting than emotions and have no clear starting point of formation. It is a general feeling rather than a reaction to a particular situation. You might not even be consciously aware that you are in a good or bad mood until you reflect on a particular circumstance.
A low mood is an emotional state often characterised by sadness, anxiety and low self-esteem. External factors can trigger a low mood such as illness, stress, change but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes there is just no obvious cause. When we experience a low mood we are inclined to lose pleasure in doing the things we would normally enjoy. We may feel tired, low in energy, anti-social. Our sleeping patterns can change leaving us agitated and easily irritated.
Under the Influence
Our moods can be influenced by so many different things – the weather, the food we eat, our health and hormones etc. A time of change is often a trigger for a low mood. But if we expect things never to change, we are bound to be disappointed. Things don’t always go as planned. When our expectations go unmet we become disheartened and find it hard to handle. A person’s sense of self is often tied up with what they do for a living. For example retirement can often bring about a sense of loss. Home dynamics can change and people may struggle with feelings of ageing.
The reasons for a down mood are often multi-faceted and can be difficult to determine. All of us want to be happy, positive and optimistic. To set ourselves on the right course for a happier self, we need to develop a toolkit of coping strategies. Having this in place will help to lift our mood more skilfully so we are able to cope better with life’s ups and downs.
Finding your Strategy
You don’t have to make big changes to feel happier. Sometimes it’s just the small things that can make a difference. Getting out in the fresh air and enjoying some gentle exercise can be a great place to start. This one small step can have a positive knock on effect to improving your sleeping patterns. Get a friend to join you, having a friend to share a laugh with has benefits far beyond an elevated mood. Re-evaluate your diet and lifestyle. If you’ve retired and feel your life lacks a sense of purpose how about volunteer work or consider trying out a different job!
Taming negative thoughts and trying to approach each day with optimism can have a really positive impact. Some days staying positive and upbeat can feel like an uphill battle. Bad moods can sneak up on us so often, as we humans are such sensitive creatures. So start each new day with a thought about the things that can make you a little happier and try to do them.