Our moods are affected by a number of factors. Many of these factors are within our control. The skills below can help you to control ‘mood swings’ and make you feel better more generally. Don’t feel pressured to try all of these at once. Start with one that applies most to you, pace yourself, and add others as when you’re ready:
Exercise has been consistently shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Simply going for a walk can help. Be sure to get clearance from your doctor before you start.
A balanced, healthy diet can aid our mental health. Aim to fill most of your diet with fruits and vegetables, high fibre foods, and lean meats. Limit junk food where you can.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can adversely affect mood. Alcohol and marijuana can depress mood, and disturb sleep. Cocaine and other stimulants (e.g. caffeine, and nicotine) can cause agitation and worsen anxiety.
Sleep is another factor that has been consistently shown to impact mood. Aim for 8-10 hours a night. For tips on how to get better sleep, visit here.
Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression. Make time for friends and family. Everyone differs in the amount of socialising they need, however. Do what’s right for you.
Treat Medical Conditions
It’s hard to feel at our best when we are afflicted by pain or sickness. Do what you can to address these conditions. If you’ve been prescribed mediations, take these as directed.
Setting and achieving goals makes us feel productive and happy. These goals can be as simple as completing your chores for the day (e.g. cooking, cleaning). Take breaks when you’ve earned them.
Make time for pleasant activities that soothe or lift your mood. These can be fun (e.g. hobbies, seeing a movie, doing a fun new activity) or soothing (e.g. take a bath, light candles or incense, get a massage).
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