Dietitian, personal trainer, and yoga therapist, Suzanne Pearson shares her tips on how to improve your mood when you’re feeling low or lacking energy. We all feel low from time to time, and staying positive can sometimes feel like a battle. Try these tips should you want to shift your mood and change your energy.
‘Fake it till you make it’…literally. The simple act of smiling can shift your mind into thinking you feel better than you actually do. How? Smiling activates the release of messengers from your brain that help decrease stress and increase feelings of happiness. Eventually, your emotions and mindset will follow suit. Try it for yourself.
Helping others helps us feel better about ourselves. Even small acts of kindness, like helping someone with their groceries, giving a genuine compliment or saying please and thank you, can impact the way we feel. Extend that kindness to yourself and do something that brings you joy every day.
We all experience stress. Occasional stress is manageable; it can even motivate us to get things done. But when stress is intense and ongoing, it impacts both physical and mental health and can influence your mood. Take the time to figure out what tools and techniques help you to manage stress. Go for a walk, take a few breaths, call a friend, etc. Engaging in these activities regularly will help manage stress over the long term.
Acknowledging the things in life that you are grateful for can help shift you from a low to uplifted mindset. Take a moment to think about a few things that you appreciate or keep a list you can refer to anytime you need to reframe your thinking and lift your energy.
When feeling low, succumbing to the sofa may have more appeal; but getting up and moving may be what your mind and body need. Movement prompts the release of endorphins in the brain. These feel-good chemicals are natural pain and stress relievers that help boost mood. Find something you enjoy doing and move in any way that feels good to you.
Our posture speaks volumes. When crossing the finish line, a gold medal athlete reaches their hands up in victory, chest and heart open. Conversely, we tend to cross our arms and hunch our shoulders when we are hurt or in need of protection. In addition to expressing how you feel, how you carry yourself can affect your energy levels, mood and ability to focus. Research shows that simply altering your posture to a more upright position can improve mood and energy levels. Easy as!
Your mind works hard and requires quality fuel to function well. What you eat affects your brain and, ultimately, your energy and mood. Enjoying a variety of high-quality whole foods like fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and nuts and seeds ensures you get the nutrients you need to nourish your mind. Take your time when eating, enjoy each bite, and tune into how you feel after eating different foods. You may be surprised by how foods make you feel.
Share your feelings with friends or family. Talking is a great way to recognise and release thoughts and any related stress and tension. And the social connection supports emotional well-being. If your low mood is long lasting or you don’t feel comfortable talking with relatives or friends, reach out to a trained professional who can help.
Sleep and mood are intimately connected. You may feel irritable and more susceptible to stress following a sleepless night, whereas a restful sleep can support mood and energy. And it works both ways – sleep loss can affect your mood, and your mood can affect how much and how well you sleep. Set yourself up for sleep success by heading to bed around the same time each night, minimise screen time before bed and make your bedroom a sleep haven. Sweet dreams…