Moods are funny things, aren’t they? At any given time, they can determine if you’re on top of the world or if it’s on top of you. Even though our circumstances usually don’t change from one day to the next, the way we look at them often does. Monday we can feel so happy that we’d have to fake a smile, but when Tuesday comes around, we seem to have forgotten how to smile.
There are several things that can cause us to be down in the dumps, mopey, grumpy, and just “out of sorts.” Obviously, if something that isn’t to our liking has happened, we’re going to react with a mood that’s less than our best. But, very often the mood can be attributed to something much more shady – something that we didn’t expect to turn on us!
- Getting too much sleep can alter our moods for the worse. If you sleep 7 hours Friday night, then turn around and put in a 3 hour nap on Saturday afternoon… by Sunday, you may be lethargic and edgy. One reason is that you won’t sleep well Saturday night (after your nap marathon). When our sleep schedules are altered, we don’t often respond with the best of moods.
- However, not getting enough sleep is even worse! Lack of sleep affects people differently. Some get cranky and irritable, snapping at people, biting heads off that’d rather stay intact. Others feel depressed, as though there isn’t much to even smile about.
- Beware of taking too much allergy medicine! I have noticed (as have many people I’ve talked to) that taking just about any antihistamine can lead to a case of the droops. One young girl e-mailed me last year (it was actually around this time of year because I remember telling her Happy Easter). She said that for a few weeks she just felt like there were tears “behind her eyes” most of the day. She said that things were bothering her that never seemed to bother her before – little things. After a few e-mails back and forth, I asked her how she felt, otherwise. When she said, “As long as I keep sucking down ******** (an allergy medicine), I’m okay.” Light bulb! I explained to her that she was probably having a reaction to the allergy pills as a lot of us do. Fortunately, her biggest allergic reaction to the trees involved her eyes, so I gave her the name of some outstanding allergy eye drops. I also told her to place something cold on her eyes when they itch: Wet cloth, cold spoon, etc. One week later, she e-mailed and said she felt like her old self again. She took my advice about the cold object on her eyes and keeps a spoon in her purse. She said she got peculiar looks, but she just laughs. (THAT’S the whole idea!)
- Spending too much time in the past can dampen your present. I’ve talked a lot about this one – on this site as well as Out of Bounds. There’s nothing wrong with looking in the past from time to time, but if you find yourself doing it too often, you’re headed for trouble. This seems to be something that a lot of mothers do when their children get older. They keep looking at old pictures and wishing they were little again. The way I look at it is this: When my girls were little, I held them in my lap and read to them. Today, we sit across the table from one another and each talk about things we’ve read. The same love is involved, the same closeness is experienced. You can hold your children in your heart just as closely as you did in your arms.
- Be sure you get enough sunlight and fresh air. Too little of either can dampen your mood considerably.
Focus on the Positive
When you’re feeling down, for whatever reasons, don’t think about the negatives. Instead, focus on what you love about your life. Think about your family. They may be lunatics, but they’re your lunatics!
Do you love your bird-filled yard, your cats, your big ole kitchen. Do you love living within 5 minutes of a Starbucks? Do you love watching movies, then going to IMDB to read about the stars? These are just a few things that I’m in love with in my own life. I also love feeding rabbits, raccoons and possums on my patio and in my yard each night. I sit the food out and watch in absolute delight as they enjoy their supper and the raccoons bathe in the bowl of water. You haven’t seen cute until you’ve seen a raccoon with a bunch of grapes. Last night, after the raccoon washed his gorgeous face, a small possum walked over and licked her right on the face. Very unusual. I reached for the door, thinking I was going to have to protect an overly friendly (or thirsty) little possum, but the raccoon didn’t seem to mind.
The point is, get your enjoyment from life where you want it.
If you enjoy watching tv each evening, watch away. It doesn’t matter if others make fun of your shows – they don’t have to watch! If you enjoy surfing the web, surf away. If others say you’re wasting your time, remind them that it’s yours! Plus, if you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself, you aren’t wasting your time, you’re choosing to spend it the way you choose to spend it. After all, it’s yours, right?
Side thought, why do people always want to tell other people how to spend their time, what they should or shouldn’t enjoy, etc.
Like my own examples, the things that make you the happiest may not seem like much to someone else. But that doesn’t matter in the least. If it makes you smile and makes you glad to be alive, it’s your’s and your’s alone. Others may not understand what I get from feeding every bird and animal in the county, but I know how happy it makes me. So, you’ll find me buying bird food in bulk. And smiling.
Exercise the Blues Away
Countless studies prove that regular exercise can improve your mood. Not only does it help with the blues, exercise actually helps with people who are suffering mild to moderate depression. What’s more, it’s beginning to play a supporting role in treating severe depression. Experts are actually finding that exercise can replace some antidepressants. Studies show that the effects of exercise last longer than antidepressants, work as well, and don’t have the negative side effects. The “side effects” of exercise are all positive! Now that’s exciting.
Studies show that walking briskly for 35 minutes, 5 times a week OR for 1 hour, 3 times a week can do a world of good for your mood.
The thing about exercise is that it takes effect immediately. You can be feeling down one minute, then engage in activity and find your spirits lifted immediately.
How does exercise relieve depression and lift bad moods? Exercise enhances the action of endorphinsy. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain. They also improve your mood.
The “side effects” of regular exercise offer a host of wonderful health benefits: Lowered blood pressure, protection against heart disease, lowered risk of many types of cancers, weight loss and/or management, improved circulation, improved respiratory function, and so on.
The next time you’re feeling out of sorts, a walk may be just what you need.