REFRAME YOUR BRAIN
The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation
5 Simple Ways To Reverse Your Bad Mood
Waking up on the ‘wrong side of the bed’, feeling down or discouraged about life, happens to all of us at times.
Especially during times of pressure and stress in life, we can get caught up in behaviours that actually add to the cycle of feeling bad, rather than making us feel better.
The good news is there are very simple activities you can use, that neuroscience has found to have positive effects on our brain, and reset our emotional and mental state.
These activities are so simple, you can easily incorporate them into your daily life.
5 SIMPLE WAYS TO REVERSE YOUR BAD MOOD –
Many of us know that exercise boosts endorphins – the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in our brains. But often our idea of getting to the gym or going for a run, feels overwhelming and might not be a possibility on that particular day.
Studies have found that even a brisk 30 minute walk has similar positive effects on the brain as taking anti-depressant medication.
So walk to work; go for a walk in your lunch break; take the kids to the park.
Especially when you’re feeling down, moving your body stimulates all the positive neuro-chemicals in your brain and will give you a great chance at feeling better throughout your day.
One of the best things you can do to reset your negative mood, is to go outside. Studies are now showing the positive effects on our mental and emotional health just from being around nature.
One study found that walking in a park (as opposed to walking inside a shopping centre) reduced depression symptoms in 71% of participants.
Another showed the more green spaces people have in their neighbourhoods, the happier they reported being.
One study even found that patients who had a view of nature from their hospital room recovered more quickly from major surgery than those whose view was a brick wall.
This is an activity that many individuals believe is not for them, but engaging in just a small amount of mindfulness can have drastic changes on your mental state.
Studies have found that engaging in regular mindfulness meditation of even 10 minutes a day, has similar effects on the brain as taking anti-depressants. It also increases empathy and compassion, and reduces stress significantly.
Engaging in mindfulness is surprisingly simple – close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Really notice it… How fast or slow is it going? How is your body feeling? any areas of tension? what can you hear around you? what can you feel?
The simple activity of focusing your attention to completely engage in the present moment accesses a different brain circuitry that will help you to reset your negative feelings.
Although social media or email can often be one way we connect with others, excessive use has been found to not only negatively impact productivity, but decrease memory capacity and increase anxiety.
Often this is because we are sitting alone, feeling down about our life, and we are just looking through everyone else’s highlight reel of their life.
You don’t have to leave social media or disown it; just learn to be aware of when its starting to negatively affect you – you feel even more down, anxious, comparing yourself to others etc – and take a break.
Even one day away from it can make a great impact.
The process of reflection can be a lost art. Many people thinking that it’s unhelpful, a waste of time or not for them.
But without the process of reflection we often remain stuck engaging in situations or activities that continually cause us stress.
The act of writing down one’s feelings (even just a few sentences) has been found to significantly reduce stress and put the brakes on our out of control emotional responses.
Try some of these questions:
How am I feeling right now?
What could have triggered me feeling like this?
What was it specifically about that situation that has really affected me?
What might I need right now to feel better?
SOME PRACTICAL IDEAS –
* go for a walk outside near a park or beach in your lunch break
* take your kids to play at the park and run around with them
* turn off your social media/emails for the day
* try to stay in the moment – what can you notice happening around you?
* take some time to journal your feelings
* use your time off on weekends to disconnect from technology and get outside
* have some family meals outside
* go for a walk or a run
* do some stretching and focus on your breathing
As always, if you’re having more than just a bad day or week, and feel like you’re struggling to get yourself out of a negative mental rut, don’t be afraid to go and speak with a professional psychologist. Sometimes this small step can be the greatest help to your life.
From the surface, these simple activities may not seem like they will make a big difference to your current negative state, but make sure you give them a try – you might be surprised by the significant positive effect they have on your mental and emotional health.
Reframe Your Brain
Free one-page checklist of the 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.