5 Practical, Creative Tips for Soothing a Low Mood
1. Do something “perspective expanding” either in terms of time or space.
Time: look into the eyes of someone alive in the 1400s by visiting an art gallery.
Space: A walk/coffee somewhere with an expansive view, a drive.
Both time & space: A trip into the mountains (they’re giant & they’ve been there a long time).
2. Get hooked on a TV series you missed but got raves.
A little light hibernation can sometimes be just what you need to weather the storm of a disappointment or recharge if you’re feeling exhausted from over stimulation.
Snuggle on your sofa and binge watch something you missed when it ran on TV e.g., Battlestar Gallactica, Big Bang Theory, Nurse Jackie, Homeland, Modern Family.
3. Do An Act of Love
I prefer “acts of love” to “acts of kindness” for boosting mood. You’re likely to get more benefits from investing love and kindness in one of your important relationships than from a random act of kindness.
- Leave a love note somewhere surprising (My significant other gets up earlier than me and I like to leave a sticky note attached to the jug)
- Email or call a relative you care about but you’ve lost touch with.
- Get some chalk and draw a giant heart on your significant other’s parking space.
There are heaps more of these types of suggestions in Fun Love Project for Couples – Max Your Relationship in 30 Seconds a Day (9.99)
4. Hit Up A Salad Bar
If you’re depressed, making a salad from scratch might be too hard but going to a salad bar and selecting yourself some greens and proteins reinforces the message that your wish is to treat yourself kindly and well. Think of it as an act of love to self.
5. Give Yourself Self Compassion Rather Than Self Criticism
A basic self compassion statement is:
This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I treat myself kindly in this moment. May I give myself all the compassion and kindness I need right now. [Source]
Research has shown that self compassion increases self improvement motivation. Self criticism, or even attempting to boost your self esteem after a failure, typically does not.
Why You Should Typically Focus on Actions in the First Instance Rather Than Changing Your Thoughts.
Your thinking will naturally become more flexible, expansive and balanced if you can boost your positive emotions. If your mood is currently a 2 out of 10, if you do something that lifts it to a 4/10 your thinking will naturally become less negative and stuck.
How the Cycle Works (> means leads to)
Positive behavior > positive emotions > more positive thoughts without necessarily a lot of extra effort to change your thoughts >
positive behavior > Positive emotions, successes, and you’ve built skills through your positive behavior > more positive thoughts….
Why You Generally Shouldn’t Try to Think Your Way Out of Rumination
Studies have shown that rumination impairs both the quality of your problem solutions and your motivation for problem solving, so it’s generally best to improve your mood a bit first & then try to straighten out your thoughts.
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