Lifestyle Choices affect Mood
It is normal to feel down from time to time. No need to be ashamed of your feelings. Suffering shows you that you have to change something! The “feel good” hormones run low. Stress affects you more. With daily lifestyle choices and a whole lot of love, you can change your wellbeing. I am equipped with depression genes, grew up in such an environment and learned to pull out all the stops with a lot of TLC when things get tight. It is a personal concern of mine to spread the word…. Please read and share!!!
Becoming aware in time of what is really going on inside you is a prerequisite for being able to change something.
Today we know that well-being is the result of daily lifestyle choices that influence hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. Below is a list of behaviours that can help you slowly boost your mood. Common sense tells you:
Do not wait until you feel like doing it! Obviously, you won’t feel like, so just do it!
1. Face the Situation 🚒
Become aware of your status quo. We are all good at fooling ourselves. A fake smile, a cool joke, sarcasm, escapism are coping strategy to an extend. Even if you did not suffer from depression before, denial and fear of depression is normal. Step 1 is facing how you feel! Key warning signs of depression according to the CDC include:
Depressed mood: Feeling sad or anxious.
Loss of interest in activities: Taking less pleasure in hobbies, sex, and other interests that the individual usually enjoys.
Social withdrawal: Avoiding social situations or losing touch with friends.
Fatigue: Daily tasks, such as washing up may feel more difficult and take longer.
Feeling agitated: Agitation, including restlessness and pacing.
Changes in sleep patterns: Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
Changes in appetite: This can lead to weight gain or loss.
Increased irritability: Getting annoyed more easily than usual.
Feelings of worthlessness and guilt: Thinking over past events.
Concentration and memory problems: Thoughts and speech may feel slower.
Physical aches and pains: Unexplained headaches, stomach aches, or muscle pain.
Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts: This may signal a severe depressive episode.
Once you know you can take action!
2. Talk to a Specialist in time
Reach out to a specialist you feel comfortable with: a psychologist, a consultant or a life-coach. Science has shown that speaking about your “inner world” already changes the chemistry in the body. Let it out. Learn that it is normal and necessary to have all kinds of emotions and how to use their energy constructively.
3. Express Yourself in writing
The process of writing about how you feel brings outwards what bugs you inside. It can give you relief and compassion with yourself instead of going around in circles in your head. You may notice negative self-talk, excuses and all kinds of Monkey Mind’s games. No problem. You can allow yourself to observe without identifying with it. If you need inspiration to get started ask me for this eBook. It’s full of writing experiments that connect you to your inner world without making you feel useless, guilty, ashamed or at fault. Science proved that memoir writing is healing. Author and clinical psychologist Carl Greer (2014) said that when we write our stories, we stop feeling confused about the events in our lives and thus begin to access the wisdom that we might have lost when we disassociated ourselves from traumatic emotions or insights.
4. Boost Your Self-Image
I admit: that’s a tough one! When feeling low the image you have of yourself tends to be super low too. Make an effort to appreciate your assets, remember your very personal actual values, things you have done, friends you made, positive traits you cannot deny. Put on some extra nice clothes, get a hair cut. If you really can’t think of anything, dare to ask your friends what they appreciate about you to remember! Even though you might not feel like at all, you do it anyway! You are in charge of your life, even though you might not be able to appreciate it right now.
5. Stick to a Schedule
Plan a routine that walks you though the day. It is essential to get you out of bed on your feet and out of the house. If you are the type of person who is very hard on yourself, plan really nurturing habits into your day. If you feel you have no time, remember the value of quality rather than just quantity. If you procrastinate make it a point to do first things first and less important things later. Compulsive ponderers schedule a “train to master your brain focus+concentrate” time with a 10 minute guided breathing session or guided meditation. It’s not that easy to get trapped when you decide to keep sticking to you schedule. Don’t think. Just do it. Set eating and sleeping times.
6. Get Involved
Make it a point to meet some friends, go for a coffee, call up your neighbor or pass by to see if they are doing ok. We are social beings. Reaching out will feel good, even if you don’t feel like.
7. Depend on Others
Reach out to your friends and family to get support. They can motivate you to stick to your plan. Loving and feeling love is the ultimate healing.
8. Sleep Well 💤
Make sure to take care of your sleeping habits. There are many things you can do to improve sleep besides cutting down coffee, tea and alcohol. Get up before or not much after sunrise for sure! Do not think, or ask if you feel like. Just go for it. Check out the Early Birds Club if you need a support group to adjust your sleeping patterns. You don’t need to become a yogi, to practice healthy habits.
9. Enjoy the Emotional Benefits of Physical Exercise
Starting a regular Walking Routine in Nature can work miracles for your hormones. The light, the breathing, the muscle work, the cross-over movement of hands and feet all have an impact on your health. Super simple, super effective. If you prefer the gym, swimming, biking: go for it!
10. Eat the Food that boosts the Mood
Omega 3 rich foods of supplements boost mood. You might crave junk food or have no appetite at all. That’s normal. Now you need to get in charge and do what is good for you: lots of fresh veggies and fruit, less plain sugar and white flour. It must not be complicated but natural. A nutritionist can help you. Coffee is supposed to be a dopamine booster, the motivation hormone. Just make sure you don’t drink too much and not long after lunch so it doesn’t affect your sleep.
11. Say No to Alcohol 🤟🏼
Alcohol and drugs are a big problem especially now. It is not helping you but increasing the downwards spiral. One drink may feel like a relief, you get funny, flirty or outgoing, but it is just numbing you and tomorrow you need two or just want to get drunk. Numbing feelings obviously doesn’t just numb the sadness but all feelings. BTW many people with addictive behavior actually suffer from unrecognized depression.
12. Create a Space of Love and Compassion
It’s ok to think and feel anything. Stop judging thoughts, feelings and yourself and notice if you are trying to escape feelings with compulsive behavior. When tempted to ponder and overthink switch your perspective and experiment whether you can observe your thoughts and feelings with an imaginary “torch of awareness” from about, without judging them. Do not get hooked in analyzing!!! Go back to observing thoughts, not analyzing the reasons, where they come from and why. Let them be, let them go, and give feelings a space. Observe without judgement, let it be, let it pass on. Feelings want to be felt not analyzed. Feelings are not reason. Make friend with feelings, all feelings. Anger, fear, sadness and joy have a purpose by nature. Be brave and free yourself from escaping “negative” feelings.
You can’t wash the laundry in the coffee machine
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