Most of us cope with life’s quotidian stresses most of the time. Occasionally something happens and we feel miserable and down in the dumps. Bad times are unavoidable and feeling low is normal as long as we can bounce back. Healthy habits and the right outlook make all the difference to how well you cope. Here’s how to beat a bad mood and get your life back in balance.

1. EAT WELL

Food is one our greatest pleasures. Eating well supports good mental as well as physical health. Maintaining a nutritious diet, no matter what life throws at you, is key to a stable mood.

Those little treats are comforting when the going gets tough, but over-indulging makes you feel worse.

THE ENERGY HIGH YOU NOTICE WHEN YOU EAT SOMETHING SWEET IS FOLLOWED BY AN ENERGY LOW, WHICH MAKES YOU FEEL SLUGGISH AND IRRITABLE. IT’S SENSIBLE TO MINIMISE SWEET TREATS IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR MOOD.

Carbohydrates that slowly break down into glucose — like brown rice, grainy bread and vegetables — keep your blood glucose levels steady. This is much better for your body and your temper.

2. EXERCISE TO BEAT STRESS

When you’re troubled, exercise has numerous beneficial side effects. Here are a few:

  • It releases feel-good brain chemicals
  • It reduces immune system chemicals that make depression worse
  • It takes your mind off your worries while you focus on your body
  • It improves the quality of your sleep
  • It gives you a sense of accomplishment – something positive to log in your online diary!

It might seem like the last thing you want to do, but once you’re moving you’ll cheer up. Light activities are sufficient. Taking a brisk walk or breathing deeply in a yoga class is just as effective at clearing the cobwebs as a tough workout.

3. SLEEP WELL

Stress and worry make you exhausted, but anxiety often inhibits sleep. The result? Less energy to cope with the next day’s stress and worry—and more exhaustion.

Break this cycle by establishing good sleep habits:

  • Routine is essential, so go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including the weekend.
  • Don’t overheat your body as your core temperature has to drop 1 degree in order for you to nod off.
  • Make sure you have relaxed before hitting the sheets. Switch off the computer and focus on calming down and bringing the day to a peaceful end.

If your insomnia is persistent (i.e. it lasts longer than 3 weeks), talk to your medical practitioner.

4. HABITS THAT DON’T HELP

When you’re down, it’s all too easy to slip into habits that indulge your desire for escape or comfort, but don’t help you to cope effectively.

As such times you should be looking after your health more not less. Watch out for these unhelpful behaviours:

  • Self-medicating. An extra glass of wine, a large dessert, a couple of sleeping pills or even a few cigarettes at the end of a bad day only increase your risk of depression.
  • Hiding from the world. You’re not your usual cheerful self and you can’t be bothered making conversation. But avoiding social contact deepens your sense of isolation and gives you more time to ruminate on your troubles. Making the effort to connect with people, to feel accepted and – best of all – to have a laugh are powerful antidotes to a blue mood.

5. BEING GRATEFUL

Being depressed means you tend to focus on what is wrong in your life. It can take over your thinking so you are totally preoccupied with your problems. You can become stuck in this type of thinking.

ACKNOWLEDGING THE GOOD THINGS YOU HAVE KEEPS EVENTS IN PERSPECTIVE. ONE WAY TO STAY MINDFUL OF THESE GOOD THINGS IS TO WRITE A GRATITUDE LIST EVERY DAY.

It need not take more than a few minutes, you don’t have to list more than 3 or 4 items and they can be as big or small as you like. The funny song your son sang to you, the smell of jasmine in the air …

Special little moments happen even in the difficult days. Reminding yourself of them can make a huge difference to the way you feel.

WHEN FEELING BLUE BECOMES DEPRESSION

Problems with depression are widespread, but not always well understood. People who are seriously depressed and their families don’t always realise that they have a medical problem or that it can be resolved with the appropriate help.

Clinical psychologist Dr Cindy Nour explains the 7 signs that indicate possible depression:

  1. A low mood over a period of 2 weeks
  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in all activities most of the day for at least 2 weeks
  3. Weight loss or gain, or decrease/increase in appetite, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks
  4. Insomnia or sleeping more
  5. Feeling worthless, hopeless or helpless
  6. Recurrent thoughts about suicide
  7. Diminished ability to concentrate or make decisions, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks

Don’t suffer because you feel depressed. Seek the help you need:
Depression UK
Mind
NHS Choices

TIME TO SHED SOME TIMBER?

If this has inspired you to shed some timber then why not head over to our Weight Loss Calculator. Step on those scales and then pop your details into our Weight Loss Calculator. We’ll let you know how we can help.

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