By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Sometimes a low mood is a mental illness; sometimes it’s not.
Everyone has days when they’re feeling down. When that down feeling goes on too long, and it interferes with your life, it becomes a thing we know as clinical depression. Treatment for depression can involve three separate approaches, medication, counseling, and changes in thinking and behavior. For that occasional blue moon, medication is not recommended. Using chemicals to change the way you feel can result in a substance use disorder.
Talking to people whether you’re in counseling or have a support system is useful even when your down mood hasn’t reached a diagnosable mental illness. People who incorporate talking and active behavior reduce the risks of developing depression, and these tools can be used to prevent relapse if you have been treated for depression.
Being more active will improve your mood.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous for you to receive benefit from it. Walking as little as 20 minutes a day can improve your outlook on life. More important than the intensity is the frequency. You can’t sit on the couch every day and then expect to make up for it by exercising all day on Saturday.
Getting into motion has lots of benefits. Many people report that they don’t feel like doing anything, but once they start moving, that sluggish feeling disappears.
Going outdoors makes you feel better.
Brighter light helps your mood, so does fresh air, and being in nature. If you’ve ever been to the mountains or the lake you probably felt better. Researchers believe that there are healing benefits for humans being around nature. The recommended dose of mother nature is at least two hours a week.
Connect with positive people to improve your mood.
Positive outlooks on life are contagious. Humans are social animals, and they tend to copy the people they spend the most time around. Pick your friends wisely. If you hang out with gloomy people, the joy leaves your life.
We all need a support system. It’s terrific if you have one person in your life you’re close with. But a support system needs to be more than one person. Having good Friends keeps you connected and prevents Loneliness.
Improve your self-care.
Get plenty of sleep on a regular basis even if you have to cut some things out of your life to do it. Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. When you’re tired, hungry, or thirsty, your mood suffers, and you become irritable.
Scratch something hard off your to-do list.
When you have difficult tasks on your to-do list, don’t procrastinate. The longer that hard-to-do project sits on your to-do list, the more anxious or depressed you’re likely to become. Tackle that challenging project first, and as you see progress, towards your goal, you can take pride in your accomplishments.
Taking back your environment will make you feel better.
Straighten the things around you. Do a quick cleaning up project. Eliminate clutter. A little bit of rearranging can make you a lot more comfortable in your surroundings.
Do something for someone else.
Doing for others is a proven way to elevate your mood. Any time you spend doing for others is time you’re not thinking about your challenges.
Learn something new to build a sense of accomplishment.
The process of learning something can elevate your mood. Learn a new skill. Study something you’ve always wanted to know about.
Read a book to spark your imagination.
Lots of people watch TV or online videos. But there’s something about “reading” a book that has a lasting impact on people. Whether you read a physical paper book, read an electronic version, or listen to an audiobook, you will engage your imagination. Videos show you everything. Books suggest things, leaving you to fill in the details. Reading more can increase your creativity and make you feel better.
Acting as if you are happy makes you happier.
One way to break out of a down mood is to smile more. People who smile begin to feel happy. People who laugh more are more fun to be around.
Being happy makes you a better person.
Being happy is not selfish. It makes you an easier person to be around. Happy people are easier to get along with, more productive, and more likable.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Five David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Books are now available on Amazon.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.