Has a stressful day, week or month got you feeling down? It can help to remember that everyone experiences stress and worry at different times in their lives. And while it is for the most part perfectly normal, it doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable!
Whether you’re suffering garden-variety stress, or clinically diagnosed anxiety or depression, there are a whole host of things you can try right now that may help boost your mood and make the day a little brighter.
Say thank you
There is compelling science to support the positive impact of gratitude and kindness to boost wellbeing and bolster against stress, anxiety, low mood and burnout. Take some time each day to remember three things that you are grateful for.
Move your body
Exercise is one of the best therapists out there! It stimulates dopamine, endorphins and positive mood states. And you don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits. Exercises that have a regular rhythm such as walking, running, dancing or swimming are excellent to reengage a calmer and more positive mood state.
Taking just 5-minutes to focus on your breathing can really help you relax. Try sitting up straight, closing your eyes and breathe in through your nose slowly and exhale through the mouth slowly. Use your breath to let go of any tension you may be holding in your muscles and bring your mind back to the present.
Too often, we focus only on the outcomes we’re supposed to be achieving, not leaving any room to acknowledge the effort it takes to get there. Celebrate the effort you make each day, no matter how small, and give yourself a pat on the back. This will stimulate positive neurochemicals and start to break down the power that stress and worry can have.
Phone a friend
Human beings are social animals, and we crave interpersonal connections. The evidence shows that being socially connected to others is a key contributor to our mental health, important for our mental and physical wellbeing and protecting against anxiety and depression. Touch base with a loved one for a chat on the phone or organise time to catch up for a coffee or a meal.
There is a reason they say that ‘laughter is the best medicine’! Laughter is a great stress reliever, minimising your body’s stress response and relieving muscle tension. It can also stop us from taking ourselves too seriously. Make yourself laugh by hanging out with friends with a good sense of humour, or watching a comedy show or quick YouTube clip.