Putting positive energy out into the world is how you get the same in return, but it can be very hard to send out good vibes when your mood is so low that positivity just seems out of reach.
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One bad situation or event can instantly ruin your day and make you feel angry and upset, which attracts even more negativity to your life. In short, it becomes a negative cycle, and you end up feeling as if you will never be the person you want to be or live the life you want to have.
If that’s the place you’re in right now, feeling as if nothing is working out and you’ll never realize your dreams, you can do something about it. Try these ten tips for coping with your depression or down mood to start taking care of yourself and move forward to better days.
1. Get Yourself Hydrated
Your body is mostly water, and it needs the right level of this fluid in order to work properly so you can feel your best physically. WebMD says that dehydration can cause a whole host of problems, including weakness, loss of focus, and a dry mouth.
According to Health, your body needs water each day. While the rule used to be that you should drink eight ounces of water eight times a day, you may need more or less depending on your age, gender, weight and other factors, such as how physical you are. Try adding in water more often by trading out other drinks, such as your usual soda at lunch, for water. Start carrying a water bottle so you can sip throughout the day, too!
2. Make Sure You Eat Regularly
While it can be hard to eat when you’re feeling down and have no appetite, not eating can actually make you feel worse. Like water, your body needs food to function correctly, and a lack of nutrition can really affect how you feel. Plan meals out ahead of time that include plenty of vitamin-rich fruits and veggies and eat at your scheduled times to help get back on track.
Sometimes, people struggling with depression and other mood disorders will crave sugary or other “bad” foods for the associated mood boost, but that’s actually just a temporary fix that can do more damage in the long run than good. Fight against this by only having healthy foods around when you’re feeling low and are more easily tempted by junk foods.
3. Get A Little Exercise
Even if you don’t have the energy for your usual morning run or trip to the gym, you still need some exercise. Try a short walk outside or a trip to the local mall for some walking and browsing. According to the American Psychological Association, studies and research have shown that physical activity can help you relax and release stress. It’s a free and natural way to help yourself feel better, so make a little time for exercise each day, even if it’s just a brisk walk at work while you’re in on lunch.
4. Try Giving A Hug
Hugs are actually more important than you may think. U.S. News and World Report covered a 2015 study in which 404 participants were evaluated for their ability to resist colds during the flu season after receiving hugs and the perceived social support that comes with the physical gesture. Those who received hugs turned out to be less likely to come down with a cold, and even if they did get sick, their reported symptoms were less severe than those who didn’t receive hugs.
Giving and receiving hugs makes you feel better and more supported, which reduces stress. It’s the stress reduction that researchers in the 2015 study cited as a determining factor, so get out there and start getting more physical with your loved ones today.
5. See A Therapist
Sometimes, talking to someone in an honest way about your mood and life is the best way to make some progress. If you already have a therapist, make an appointment to see him or her. If you don’t, consider finding one or at least talking about how you’re feeling to trusted family members or friends.
6. Dress For Success
You don’t need to polish your shoes or dress for a ball, but if you’re spending your days in dirty pajamas, it may be affecting your entire mood. How you look on the outside can and often will impact how you feel inside, so get cleaned up and put on some nice, clean clothes.
7. Get Some Sleep
Insomnia, says the National Sleep Foundation, can be caused by medical and mental health conditions, bad sleep habits and other things. The NSF also notes it has been linked to depression and other mood disturbances, so not getting enough sleep can be contributing to how you’re feeling.
Try setting up a routine for bedtime. Take a hot bath or shower, put on your pajamas, shut off all of your electronic devices and try reading a book for 15 minutes or so to get yourself to sleep. If you find you’re still up after 30 minutes, you can always get up again, but it’s worth a try.
Speak to your doctor if your insomnia persists or worsens. You may have an underlying medical condition that is contributing to your lack of sleep and needs treatment.
8. Say Something Nice To Someone Else
When you’re feeling down, try to pay a compliment or give a little praise to someone else. You can do it in person or send a message through the web. Try doing this to make others feel better, which will lift your mood and help you feel more connected socially.
9. Take A Break
If you’re running yourself ragged in an area of your life, it’s time to take a little break there. Sometimes, you need to relax and be kind to yourself. You wouldn’t expect a loved one to run themselves into the ground, so don’t set or try to meet unrealistic expectations for yourself.
10. Let Negative People Go
Ask yourself if there is a specific person who is making you unhappy, and be honest. If someone else is the chief contributor to your unhappiness, you need to acknowledge that the rest of your life is good and confront that person about what he or she is doing. If that person won’t change, seriously think about cutting him or her out of your life. That may seem harsh, but in reality, you only have one life to live and you can’t live it at the expense of someone else.
Try using the hints above each day to help improve your mood and your life overall. Keep in mind that your current mood won’t last forever and that you can take some steps to make yourself start feeling better today!