Our mood is the foundation of our well-being. We take it with us wherever we go, and we behave as though we have no control over it. But our mood is not all-powerful. It can be reined in and regulated. In short, it can be managed, and the best bit is, it’s all free!
Forget gadgets and gizmos. Leave the pills at the pharmacy where they belong. Drop out of the latest wellness trend… Ignore all the rehashed and recycled advice of the trillion-dollar self-help industry… And you certainly don’t need a gym membership (not much good at the moment anyway!)
If you want to alter your mood, it’s all free. Keeping yourself sane, mentally fit, and emotionally healthy is within the reach of most of us. All you need to do is lose the idea of the quick-fix and embrace the stuff that has kept our species healthy since our early beginnings.
It’s obvious, but then common sense generally is, just try these and you’ll see what I mean.
- Exercise regularly: Set us a schedule, same time each day if possible, get out into the fresh air if you can, walk, run, swim… any aerobic exercise is good, but make it regular. If you want to get better, no excuses. Above all, don’t wait until you ‘feel like it’. Just do it.
- Posture: Stand straight, head up, shoulders back, breath from the abdomen. Any time you catch yourself slouching or slumping, straighten up, breath, and stretch.
- Breathing: Learn some breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi… whatever. Breathing is an important feature and some people say it is enough to change your feelings completely, over time. Again, schedule some time each day to do this.
- Nature: Trendies (and me) call it Ecotherapy. Get out in the woods, the countryside, the seashore, the park, or your own backyard. Look at what you see (I mean really look deeply into what surrounds you). Engaging with Nature reaches the parts that nothing else can.
- Food: Even if you don’t feel like eating much. Do you cook? Preparing your own food is therapeutic (it saved me on two occasions in my life), even if you only eat a little, taking time to select ingredients and prep food can be helpful.
- Social interaction: Keep in touch with people you like. You may feel that you don’t want to bother them, but if they are friends they will support you. You don’t have to go into details about how you are feeling, just say something about ‘finding it a little tough lately’ to explain that you are feeling a bit down. Obviously, pick someone who you think will be supportive and respectful of you.
- A journal: Try morning pages too. If you keep a journal schedule your writing sessions (say, half an hour at a specific time each day). Have some rules. For example, you are only allowed to write negatively every other day, or, you can only review your negative feelings when you are writing. If they crop up during the day (the negative thoughts that go with the feelings, that is), keep a note to pick up on it while you are writing the next time, but don’t allow yourself to sink back into overthinking.
- Look out for positive changes. Here’s a powerful one! Sounds daft I know, but research shows, and so I have found with clients for the past 20 years, that once you take the first step and reach out, tiny positive changes start to happen. You won’t notice them if you don’t look out for them. You can add these small glimmers of hope to your journal.
Just do it!
I could go on, but that is enough for now. Follow as much of this advice as you can. I have worked a lot with people complaining of problems with their mood for over 20 years, and this works! You’ll need to be persistent and begin to boss those negative feelings about a bit.
Above all, just do it. If you wait until “it feels right” you probably never will. That’s where so many people go wrong! Just follow the recipe above, stop letting your mood push you about, and enjoy the benefits.