More than 8% of American adults suffer from depression. But even if you don’t have chronic depression, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to feeling down and out every once in a while. Even the cheeriest people all have those days where they’re in a funk and can’t seem to climb out of it.
Antidepressant medication is not the only way to improve your mood. There are many natural remedies that can help you start feeling more optimistic and motivated again. The next time you’re having a down day, try one or more of these tips to start feeling like yourself again.
Any kind of exercise, whether it’s yoga, walking, or lifting weights can help improve your mood. Research has even found that exercise works as well as antidepressants for some people. Physical activity helps us release endorphins, a feel-good chemical that is often attributed to having a “runner’s high.”
Exercise also decreases stress and blood pressure and can help you sleep better. Even something as leisurely as taking a 15-minute stroll around your neighborhood on a sunny day can help diffuse a crappy mood.
Crank Up Your Favorite Playlist
It’s no secret that listening to your favorite tunes can dissolve a funky mood fast. Music helps your brain produce feel-good endorphins such as norepinephrine and melatonin. At the same time, it helps decrease stress hormone production.
A familiar song can bring back memories—hopefully happy ones—within seconds. It’s one reason why people with Alzheimer’s may receive music therapy to help them retain memories.
For a double anti-downer mood whammy, get up and make some dance moves while playing your favorite songs. The burst of exercise helps get the blood circulating to further make you feel good again.
Get Enough Sleep
Most people naturally feel cranky when they don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. But sleep and depression seem to be connected, even though doctors are not sure exactly why. Being depressed in itself can make it difficult to fall asleep, creating a dangerous cycle that is tough to break.
A full night’s sleep is important because the deep sleep cycle is when our muscles repair themselves and our body is able to fully recharge. Getting enough sleep improves work performance and you’ll feel more motivated to take on the day.
Keeping your bedroom cool, shutting off screen devices, and eating a light, healthy snack can all help you fall asleep faster.
Frolic With a Furry Friend
Owning a pet can make you a happier and more successful person. Indeed, it’s tough to stay in a sad or cranky mood when you’re cuddling or playing with an adorable cat, dog, or other animal. You’re also likely to get more exercise if you’re a pet owner, especially if you’re a dog parent.
Don’t own a pet? Spend time with a friend or family member’s animal, or volunteer at your local shelter to play with and care for the cats and dogs.
Tickle Your Funny Bone
The old saying “laughter is the best medicine” may have some truth to it. Laughing instantly lightens your mood, reduces stress, and makes you feel good. Watching a funny movie, TV show, or even just a YouTube clip can take your mind off your worries and help you feel better in a jiffy.
Art therapy isn’t just a phrase. Any kind of creativity, whether it’s collecting images for a scrapbook to painting your own personal masterpiece is really good for your spirits. Art therapy has even helped hospital patients feel less pain and anxiety.
Focusing your brain on the task of creating something also takes your thoughts off of whatever may be causing you to feel sad or anxious. So the next time you feel low, try your hand at drawing, knitting, woodworking, or even baking to raise your mood.
Treat Yourself to a Massage
Here come those endorphins again. An hour-long massage helps release the happy chemicals to improve your mood while decreasing stress in the body. Treating yourself to a massage may be just what you need to feel more balanced emotionally again.
If getting a massage isn’t possible, these massage chairs will deliver the same benefits in the comfort of your home.
Make a Gratitude List
It’s easy to feel disheartened when you focus on what you’re lacking in your life, whether it’s a job, relationship, or money. Being grateful for what you do have in your life is a powerful way to start feeling abundant and more optimistic about life again.
The best part about this habit is that everyone has something they can feel grateful for, and nothing is too small to put on your list. Even if you can see and hear, you have something to be grateful for. Make it a daily habit to write down five things you’re truly thankful for each night before going to bed.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts
Too many of us carry around limiting beliefs such as “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not good enough.” It’s time to start composing a new narrative inside your head of the person you want to be, whether or not it is your reality at the moment. Writing down or speaking positive affirmations such as “I am successful” and “I am lovable” out loud will help bring about situations in your life that reflect your beliefs.
The Next Time You’re Feeling Down And Out, Give These Tips a Try
Don’t allow a case of the blues to prevent you from enjoying life. The next time you’re feeling down and out, try one or more of the above tips and you’re sure to see improvement. Always seek professional help if you have depression that lingers for several weeks.
For more advice on how to feel happy and healthy, don’t miss our latest self-improvement posts.