There are a gazillion things we human beings have in common, and one of those things is the fact that our moods can shift for no reason at all. Sometimes we know exactly what’s got us down, but other times it may just be a symptom of boredom, lack of inspiration, or a somber rainy day.
It really doesn’t matter how our mood took a swan dive, the focus now is to stay aware of our feelings and then to find ways to make ourselves feel better in the face of it all. If there is an illness of any kind affecting your mood shifts, then the advice of a doctor or holistic practitioner, or both, may be the best way to help yourself get out of an unexpected funk.
Some medications can cause unexpected mood shifts, as well as many natural forms of treatment, such as the taking of herbs. So the best thing to do if you are being treated with plants or prescription drugs, is to educate yourself fully on the side effects.
Having said that, if you are otherwise healthy and happy but still dealing with a “downer” period, there are things you can do to help your spirits get back on the elevator going up.
- Have Your Own Moment in the Sun – There is a reason why a lot of people get what is called, “the wintertime blues” or medically and scientifically called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) We all need our share of sunlight to help keep our moods in balance. The sunlight is thought to raise the level of serotonin in the brain which is the natural drug our bodies produce that makes us feel happy and hopeful. So just step into the sunlight for a few minutes, not so long to catch any dangerous rays, but just long enough to feel its warmth and to think about all the sun provides for us here on planet Earth
2. Life is a Bowl of Cherries – This is an old saying but in many ways stands true. When your spirits are down, the best diet you can indulge in is one that includes whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Choose, of course, the fruits and vegetables you love the best so that you know you will actually eat them. A steady diet inclusive of these whole foods will help to keep your moods from fluctuating so badly, that even YOU don’t know what side of the bed you chose this morning.
3. Get On Your Feet! – The legendary Gloria Estefan recorded the the song Get On Your Feet, and if you know anything about Ms. Estefan, she knows how to turn life around and lift her own spirits during serious challenges. We believe you can do the same. Dancing is a wonderful way to bring the joy back into your life. So get on your feet and make it happen!
4. Maybe It’s Time for a Little Grounding – The ritual of grounding is an ancient Native American tradition that suggests that at least once a day your bare feet should connect with the Earth. And this is not just woowoo new age stuff. There is science behind the act of grounding that states that in order to have a healthy immune system we need enough electrons and the ones we get from walking bare foot on Mother Earth have antioxidant effects that reduce the amount of inflammation in the body. Emotionally, grounding can bring you back to reality and you will find that the day isn’t as bad as you originally thought.
5. Take Yourself On a Date – Whether you go alone or with an easy going friend, taking yourself out to lunch or dinner is a delicious way to lift your spirits. Sometimes it is simply about doing something different that can shift your mood. There are many communal restaurants now where you can sit and relax at a long table and chat with a few like-minded people, or if you’re not in the mood for socializing or meeting people, then go alone. Sometimes your own company and a good magazine is the best way to go. If your funds are low, make a special dinner for yourself with what you’ve got at home. The idea is about the act of treating yourself and that could be as simple as having dessert when you usually pass on the sweets.
6. Turn Your Focus Towards Someone You Love – Often, our low moods are due to too much focus on ourselves and our problems. Many times the best thing we can do to lift our spirits is to focus on someone we love. Maybe our best friend needs a hug today, or an ear. Maybe he or she is carrying a burden they are reluctant to share with you. A simple question or phone call to say, “hey, I was thinking about you. Are you Okay?” can shift your focus from how you feel, to what you can do right now for someone else.
7. Yes, Chocolate Really Does Make You Happy – Don’t get too hyped about this one before you read further. We are not talking about the sugar laden candy bars that call your name at the grocery store checkout lines. We are talking about high-quality, dark chocolate which most well-stocked grocery stores now stock, often located in the baking aisle. Science has proven that our love for chocolate is not just an excuse to eat candy, but consistently eating a little over an ounce of good dark chocolate a day reduces your stress hormones, even cortisol, which takes fat straight to the tummy area. If you are going to incorporate high-quality chocolate into your daily diet, you must stick with a little over an ounce and no more, because chocolate’s health benefits don’t lower its calories.
8. The Power of Play – Once we feel that we are too grown-up to play, we trigger all sorts of emotional problems that can arise in our lives. We begin to take everything too seriously, and challenges that could have simple solutions find it difficult to find us in the frenetic state many of us tend to live in. So make play a part of your life, all of your life. As long as you can laugh and activate your imagination, you can play. Playing is getting back in touch with our inner child who never leaves us. We are usually the ones who tuck that carefree person who still believes in magic, into the nearest closet. The child in us goes there reluctantly. Certainly, we know that there are important tasks to get done at certain times in our lives, but what we don’t realize is that including sacred play into our lives gives us the strength to handle the tough times. And it also gives us a fresh new perspective on our lives.