Adults know that life has its ups and downs. While it’s important not to get too down when things don’t go as planned, no one is immune to bad moods. But just because bad moods are a fact of life, that does not mean they cannot be combatted.
While bad moods are nothing to get too worried about, if such moods overstay their welcome, speak with a physician. According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world, affecting an estimated 350 million people across the globe. There are various types of depression, and no two people are affected in the same way. That’s an important distinction, as those who know someone with a history of depression may not recognize signs of depression in themselves if those symptoms don’t mimic the signs they’re familiar with.
But bad moods are not always indicative of depression. In those instances when a bad mood is simply a bad mood, you can try a handful of strategies to get back in a good mood.
• Exercise. Numerous studies have shown that exercises enhances mood. Anxiety about a life event or stress at work are two common contributors to bad moods. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, studies have shown that exercise can elevate mood and do so quickly, with some researchers suggesting that a 10-minute walk can be just as effective at relieving anxiety as a 45-minute workout. Studies have also shown that exercise can help combat stress by reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration and enhancing overall cognitive function.
• Ignore alcohol or limit your consumption. Many people feel an alcoholic beverage relaxes them, and feeling relaxed can help improve mood. That initial feeling of relaxation is the result of alcohol affecting the chemical balance of the brain by depressing the part of the brain that governs inhibition. That’s why alcohol is categorized as a depressant. While that initial drink may feel like you’re on the way to a better mood, as alcohol begins circulating in the body, your stress levels may actually increase and your bad mood may even intensify. If you find yourself in a bad mood, resist turning to alcohol to improve mood, and limit your alcohol intake to a single drink during those times when you’re in a bad mood.
• Volunteer to help others. While more research is necessary before a definitive connection between volunteering and improved mental health can be established, researchers in England analyzed data from 40 published papers and found a link between volunteering and lower levels of depression. The review also found that volunteers reported increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.
Periodic bad moods are a part of life, but there are ways to limit their lifespan and get back to feeling good as quickly as possible.