This is a post that’s very relevant to me. Ever since puberty, I have suffered with low moods; if I am by myself for too long or neglect my health, I get to a really dark place very quickly.
Furthermore, my mum recently expressed that she was deeply unhappy and she doesn’t know why. Whilst I encourage talking to someone and seeking professional help, especially if your quality of life is being affected by your mood, I also believe in trying every option being turning to medication.
Worryingly my mum has been offered anti-depressants and four of her co-workers are already on them. According to one co-worker, having to take mood boosting medication “is just part of life”. Um…no. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Don’t get me wrong modern medicine is a wonderful thing, but it should be used only when it is needed. For some there is no other option than medication, but for many there so many other options.
What Causes Low Mood?
We all experience highs and lows but when the lows start to outweigh the highs or morph into a more serious mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, something needs to be done.
The most common causes of low mood are:
- Hormonal changes in women
- Chronic illness/pain
- Low serotonin (feel good neurotransmitters) levels
Symptoms vary from person to person but these are the most common indicators of low mood effecting mental health:
- Sadness (if it lasts more than 2 weeks it is indication of something more serious)
- Unwillingness to participate in social activities/finding little enjoyment in life
- Insomnia and tiredness
- Low self esteem/feeling hopeless
- Suicidal thoughts
- Anger and frustration
- Comfort eating or loss of appetite
If you are feeling very down, I want you to know that you’re not alone. There are many people out there who want to help and many treatment options available.
Take Care of Yourself
Relationships, family, friends, work, bills etc can begin to take over meaning you neglect the most important thing: you. If you are not in good health (physically, mentally & emotionally) how are you supposed to cope with the daily challenges of life?
A diet overhaul may be called for. What you eat will affect you in more way than you realise. Nuts, oily fish, beans/legumes, lean meat, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fermented foods and dark chocolate (70% cocoa +) have all been shown to have a positive impact on mood. However, sugar, caffeine and excesses alcohol have all been proven to have a negative impact.
Sweat Out Sadness
Regular exercise is also key to feeling good about yourself and improving your mood. Being active has been proven to have a profound effect on mental health conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, ADHD and more. Exercise improves: energy levels, hours of sleep, self esteem and overall sense of wellbeing.
Moreover, studies have found that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as anti depressant medication. One of the top reasons I workout is to keep my mental health in check; the physical benefits are a bonus.
Talk About It: “A problem shared is a problem halved”
It may be the last thing you want to do but you need to socialise. Locking yourself away or being alone for too long is not healthy. There are so many people out there who want to help and support you. If the idea of leaving the house and being face to face with people is too much, pick up the phone or find support groups online.
Break the Negative Cycle with Therapy
The most common therapy technique used for low mood disorders is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy that aims to change the way your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your behaviour. By combining cognitive therapy (assessing the way you think) and behavioural therapy (examining the things you do) you can learn new skills to deal with problems.
As well as seeking professional help, tell a friend or family member (if you can) how you are feeling; the more support you have the easier it will be to leave the darkness and find the light.