Around 6.7% of Americans have experienced at least one major depressive episode.
And most people go through periods of low mood and have mental health issues at some point in their lives. It is a universal experience. It can often feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel and there is nothing you can do to start feeling better.
What works for one person may not work for another. But there are some effective methods to improve mood worth trying when you need help. Read on to find out what they are.
Ensure You Meet Your Basic Needs
It is very difficult to start feeling better if you do not have your basic needs met. Everyone needs the following things to feel safe and survive:
- Food and water
If you are experiencing a low mood, they are a great place to start.
Our brains cannot function as they should without proper rest. If you are having difficulty sleeping then resting is better than nothing. Lie down in a dark room and listen to soft music through headphones or try to get an early night.
Eat a nutritious and tasty meal. It does not have to be anything fancy but, again, our brains cannot operate without sustenance. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and lots of sugar while you are feeling like this as they will add to your problems.
Many people who are experiencing depression have trouble looking after their personal hygiene. It is 100% normal. But taking a shower and cleaning your teeth will improve mental health.
Then, put on some clean clothes. Tidying up and doing some light cleaning of your general surroundings will help, too. It will make you feel good to do something positive and productive for yourself.
Make a List of Things You Like to Do
Speaking of positive and productive, your mood will improve if you do something you love, something you are good at, or complete a task.
So, make a list of your favorite things to do or your favorite things in general. Here are some ideas to help:
- Watching movies
- Listening to music
- Hobbies e.g. crafts
Then, pick one and do it. Notice how doing something you love makes you feel. It will not be a quick fix but it will allow you to start feeling better.
Also, do something active if you can. That is a difficult suggestion for many with depression, but going for a long walk is perfect. Listen to a podcast or audiobook so you have something to distract you from your thoughts.
Distracting yourself from your feelings and thoughts is not a great solution to mental health issues in the long term. But making time to do things you love to do will make a significant difference to your mood.
So, if you have spent time being active and doing something you love but you are still feeling low, try and complete a task. Here are some examples of small tasks you could do:
- Mail a letter
- Wash the dishes
- Brush your hair
- Fold laundry
Errands and chores are the best types of small tasks because they are impossible to get wrong. They often have a snowball effect and encourage you to complete other tasks and not bury your head in the sand.
Try Natural Remedies to Boost Your Mood
Antidepressants and other prescription medication are not for everyone. There may be some natural remedies you want to try first to help you start feeling better.
Chamomile and lavender teas have proven relaxation properties. St John’s Wort is an old favorite for anxiety but people taking the contraceptive pill cannot take it. Like all medications, make sure you do your research before taking natural remedies.
Many stand by these benefits of the African herb Kanna for mental health help. Kanna benefits include relieving anxiety, depression, and pain.
Contact a Loved One or a Professional
Sometimes, those experiencing depression convince themselves that no one cares or they are unworthy of love. This is not true and is a fictional story you are telling yourself.
Take out a notepad and write down the top five closest people in your life. When was the last time you spoke to them all? Pick a person and give them a call or drop them a text.
The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” is 100% true and speaking to a loved one will help you feel better. You do not have to tell them your problems. But making a connection with someone will remind you that you are not alone and you have a support network if you need it.
You also do not need to have a diagnosed mental illness to be worthy of professional help. Everyone could gain from speaking with a mental health professional from time to time. There are lots of options to talk to someone online nowadays too via companies like BetterHelp.
Be Kind to Yourself
You will start feeling better as soon as you start talking to yourself better. Ask yourself, would you say the same things you tell yourself to a friend? Would you say them to a seven-year-old version of yourself?
Beating yourself up is futile and you do not deserve it. It helps no one, least of all you.
Instead, realize you are a flawed, unique, and imperfect human like everyone else. You will make mistakes, have regrets, and will fail from time to time.
Give yourself time to reset then go forth and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
Start Feeling Better Today
There is no magic wand that will improve your mood and make you start feeling better in an instant. It is an ongoing journey that you need to take one step at a time. But if you follow this guide and ask for the help you need, you will get through this.
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