Having emotions is part of our daily life, but at times we can experience intense feelings and low moods that can be difficult to work through and see the light at the other side…
What’s more, it can sometimes be a struggle to pinpoint the root cause of these low moods and know the self-care techniques to overcome the sadness – But at Teladoc myStrength, we’re here to tell you there ARE things you can do to improve your emotional wellbeing!
In this blog we’ll delve into the symptoms and causes of low moods; how diet and exercise can affect our emotions; using mindfulness and meditation to manage sadness; and finally, how to help a friend or family in need.
What are the symptoms and causes of low moods?
A plethora of different factors and triggers can lead individuals to a low mood, and everybody has their own experiences. A few that are commonplace amongst many of us include:
• Feeling more tired than usual
• Low confidence / low self-esteem
• Eating more or less than usual
• Difficulty concentrating
• Low energy
• Not wanting to socialize / speak to friends and family
• Your workplace
• Family or friends
• Other mental or physical health issues
• Financial problems
• Life events – E.g. a wedding, buying a house, changing jobs, starting university
How Diet and Exercise Can Impact Low Mood
For centuries it wasn’t recognised that our physical and mental health are closely intertwined, with one being able to affect the other simultaneously. However, after decades of research and studies, we now accept that what we put into our bodies and the exercise we do directly impact how we’re feeling.
A variety of things to consider in relation to low mood, diet, and exercise are…
Blood sugar levels: Keeping your blood sugar stable can help keep your mood positive and avoid mood swings.
Sleep: A healthy sleep pattern can increase energy levels.
Brain chemicals: Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin – which aid in reducing stress and increasing wellbeing.
Alcohol: This can heighten emotions – healthcare professionals advise avoiding alcohol when you are experiencing symptoms of low mood.
Exercise: Adults are suggested to have 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to keep mentally and physically healthy – Exercise can also benefit our confidence.
Food choices: Diets of mainly whole and unprocessed foods can help with symptoms of low mood. Opposingly, junk food has poor results – making you feel better in the moment but worse in the long term.
Mindfulness and Meditation for Managing Low Mood
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is paying attention to ourselves and being aware of what’s going on in our mind in the moment – this includes not allowing external factors to affect our behaviour and mood. Being mindful and practising meditation can help us to understand our emotions better and recognise what we need, here’s a selection of methods to help you on your way…
– Meditation, mindfulness, and affirmations can challenge negative thoughts we experience during low moods and create a new thought pattern.
– Spend time in nature.
– Make a self-care box that contains all your favourite things e.g. a candle, facemask, book, etc.
– Be creative: Such as writing, listening to music, or painting, as it can help offload and unwind.
– Listen to your inner child (or inner voice), as it can allow you to discover what you really need.
– Lighten your day with controlled lighting, like dimmer switches and coloured light bulbs.
– Meditation helps to control your breathing.
Break the stigma: How to help a friend or family member if they are having low moods
In the present day, it’s more important than ever to break the stigma on mental health and show the younger generations it’s ok to get talking!
Opening up and sharing our thoughts and feelings with a safe friend or family member can help tremendously with unravelling our mood and disburdening negativity – Below are some steps to begin the process of helping a friend:
1. Start a conversation
2. Listen and provide support
3. If they can’t speak to you, ask if they’d feel comfortable with another person
4. Try and discover the trigger that’s making them feel this way
5. Advise them to download the Teladoc myStrength app
6. Suggest activities you know they enjoy
7. Keep trying to open up the conversation regularly
8. Reassure them and ask if they need anything in particular from you
When to seek professional help for low mood
Remember, improving your mental health isn’t instant, and it takes time to heal your thoughts and feelings to bring you back to your happy place.
Begin by determining your goal and setting milestones, this allows you to take your wellness journey at your own pace – plus, you can track your progress on the Teladoc myStrength app. Although, don’t be disheartened if you’re not going forward as fast as you’d like.
Explore the Teladoc myStrength app for more tips on how to improve your emotional well-being and to track the progress you make!
If your low mood lasts more than two weeks, it could be something more serious, therefore, if you’re struggling to cope, we recommend seeking professional help – Especially if the things you have tried yourself aren’t helping.
Sometimes, low mood is related to causes such as being a new parent, and if this is the case, it may be required to take professional action quicker.
If you feel in crisis and need to speak to someone urgently, please visit our crisis support page.