How to Boost your Mood
Updated: Jun 20
"If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude"
– Maya Angelou
Throughout March and April of this year we wrote about uncertainty and the observation and management of our emotions during difficult times.
This was at a time of acute crisis for the whole world.
Although there was much to fear, there was also a general feeling of solidarity. A collective sense of ‘pulling together.’ It was a frightening time but we both agree that there was hope among the communities in which we lived and worked. There was a belief that there would be an end to the situation, and that we would soon return to some kind of ‘normal;’ although, we knew that we would be changed as a society.
Time has now passed, and the situation has evolved, however, there is a sense of widespread frustration at the continued uncertainty and everchanging restrictions that we are all faced with.
The new present does not look as we thought it would. Hope had projected us forward into safety just as, at times, fear had projected us into the worst imaginable.
Now, when we search for hope we find ourselves blocked by the weariness that we feel after months of being denied all that we have looked forward to.
During this difficult time, we have both worked hard to teach and encourage the cultivation of a positive mindset within ourselves, our friends and family, our patients and our fellow healthcare professionals.
Much of this work involves coming into the present moment via various techniques.
We advocate mindfulness, focussing on those things that can be changed in the here and now and accepting those that cannot.
This avoids catastrophising about the future.
When we project in this way, we give ourselves a dose of harmful stress chemicals that are unwarranted for the current situation.
We also teach gratitude and acceptance.
Gratitude affords us an increase in positive body chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that help us to further shift our mindset and, through our resulting behaviours, attract more positivity.
Acceptance helps us to avoid wasting valuable energy pushing against something that cannot be changed.
It gives us peace.
These attributes can be harder to sustain when the end result is not visible.
We were prompted to pause and review our approach this week when one of our patients said “but what do you do when the present moment is really rubbish? I should be abroad with my family right now, but I have no idea when I will see them again.”
We had to admit that they had a point. We are all discovering how important having something to look forward to is for our mental health. We are sure that we will never take it for granted again!
This is not easy.
It is Ok not to be Ok.
We are tired and staying positive in uncertain times does take work.
The following activities which, when woven throughout your day might lift your mood and that of those around you:
· Be Kind
· Reach out and connect with someone
· Step out into nature
· Do some gentle exercise
· Create something
· Immerse yourself in art or literature
· Indulge in some comfort baking
· Find something that makes you belly laugh
· Hug your support bubble
· Hug your animals
· Do a job round the house or garden that you have been putting off
We would enthusiastically welcome your own suggestions for an uplift so please leave your comments for us to share with the community. You can do this by becoming a member using the login box at the top of this article.
To learn more about how to boost your mood see ‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press. It takes you on a journey of self-discovery sharing over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing and reduce anxiety. 'How to Rise' helps you to take control of your life