5 Weird Mood Hacks Sure to Quickly Lift You Up
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Some of us face depression like it’s a daily fact of life. For some it’s a vague, but undiscriminating heaviness that comes and goes like a dark cloud. Some use metaphors to describe their feelings like a black hole – for others it’s a “pit of despair” and still others feel as though they are drowning.
This one article isn’t going to solve all that, but we’d like to point out that most psychology-based articles on the subject will merely reiterate the need for treatment (drugs, psycho-therapy) and not offer a solution. Those things are everyone’s choice – but what can you do RIGHT NOW if you are sinking in quicksand or suffering from something like episodic mood disorder? We would like to offer a few ideas.
The above metaphors are all about being trapped, stuck, sucked in, or crushed by some unseen pressure. We’d like to offer ideas that metaphorically lift up and lighten the weight of a gloomy mood. We want to encourage more upward and outward energy when we’re feeling stuck.
5 Weird Mood Hacks To Quickly Lift You Up
1. Talk to Someone ASAP
Especially someone you like. You may not actually be an introvert or a homebody as is the popular trend. You may actually be depressed and in need of human contact. Isolation is now considered a silent killer. Take it from this former agoraphobe – isolation will keep you further steeped in anxiety and confusion, unable to get out. Even calling or texting someone you care about can lift the moody veil nearly instantly. Schedule times to talk or hang out with friends! If that’s not an option consider Meetup.com, a gym, coffee shop or even an anonymous 12-step program.
2. Drink 2 Glasses of Water
Mind and body are connected, so when something is physically wrong your mind can experience it, too, as another warning. Irritability and anxiety can be one of the most overlooked signs of dehydration. If you find yourself in a crying spell or in a state of panic – drink water immediately! Hydration from water can give you energy and wakefulness like nothing else – not even espresso.
3. Volunteer with a Friend
It sounds counter-intuitive, but helping someone else when you need help can actually get you out of a weird head space. Pick up kitties at a shelter! Take your most comedic friend so that it becomes fun to do a good deed and not a solemn duty. Infuse the experience with humor and leave your burdens at home as you lift someone else’s. It’s been said that one hour of volunteering per week is like taking a Valium – well, then!
4. Jumping Jacks
Or literally any other kind of movement in the world. Dance, bounce, run, kick and play. Walk the neighbor’s dog, let the cat chase strings as you run or babysit and take the kiddos to the park. Cleaning the house totally counts, and then you have that extra sense of accomplishment afterward.
The problem with depressing feelings is that they can be physically debilitating but physical activity and exercise is actually one of the most important ways to control depression. Movement gets things out of the body. Even rabbits zip around in funny-looking circles after they escape a trap in order to burn off that extra adrenaline rush. Unfortunately, we humans are more likely to turn on the TV and create more adrenaline rushes while we sit there.
Why Jumping Jacks?
They are easy to do and take little time. They are an instant lift. Just two minutes of jumping jacks can burn 200 calories over the remainder of the day or night. Nearly everyone can do two minutes a day and then you can always say that you exercised.
Physical activity builds body strength (and mind strength!) and it even builds up the good kind of bacteria in your gut, which can further boost your mood.
5. Get Off the Bloody Internet and Create Something!
More and more research is starting to whisper about the correlation between screen time and lowered mood states. I cringe with regret when I think of what I could have been doing with the last decade of my life for every minute I spent on Facebook.
Or heck, all the time I wasted just researching ways to “fix” myself, when the Internet doesn’t really have the answer for that. The author of F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems, unconventionally advises that if you can’t find the answer to your problem within two searches or a few minutes, then drop it and move on!
Virtual reality is just another aspect of life that needs boundaries. We need to set timers and find ways to connect with the here and now or we’ll lose those moments forever. This goes back to the social isolation and the lack of movement that we mentioned earlier. Unencumbered screen time is cutting into other important areas of life that are non-negotiable. The next time you log on to peek at an ex-girlfriend or look up ways to solve your past – set a timer and be done.
By the way, this article was written entirely off-line and I cannot tell you how much more peaceful that was.
Speaking of writing – isn’t it time you create something you enjoy in life? This can be anything from a journal entry, a meal or your favorite pastime.
Harvest those minutes away from the data-hive and create the life you want to wake up and hop out of bed to see.
Care to Self-Care
The above tips are merely overlooked methods of self-care in the new world. We must adapt and overcome, but part of that adaptation requires the empowerment to take back what’s rightfully yours.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.