Lifting Your Mood Through Activity – Part 1by Dr Katherine Mollart - 4th June, 2015
The symptoms of low mood or depression can bring about some drastic changes in a person’s life, daily routines, and their behaviour. Often it is these changes that makes mood worse and prevents the person from getting better.
For example, a lack of motivation or energy can result in a person cutting back on their activities, neglecting their daily tasks and responsibilities, and leaving decision-making to others. Have you noticed these changes in yourself when you are feeling low?
When your activity level decreases, you may become even less motivated and more lethargic. When you stop doing the things you used to enjoy, you miss out on experiencing pleasant feelings and positive experiences. Your mood can then get worse and this becomes a vicious cycle.
Similarly, when one begins neglecting a few tasks and responsibilities at work or at home, the list may begin to build up. As such, you can start to think about the things you have to do, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of things you have put off doing. This may result in feeling guilty or thinking that you are ineffective or even, a failure. This will also worsen your mood.
One way to combat low mood or depression is to simply increase your activity level, especially in pleasurable activities – having fun – and tackling your list of tasks and responsibilities, but doing it in a realistic and achievable way, so that you set yourself up to succeed.
Becoming more active has a number of advantages:
1. Activity helps you to feel better. At the very least, when you start engaging in some kind of activity, it gives your mind something else to think about – a different focus. Doing things, even a little at a time, can help give you a sense that you are moving forward, taking control of your life again, and doing something – experiencing a sense of achievement. You may even find pleasure and enjoyment in the activities you do.
2. Activity helps you to feel less tired. Usually, when you are physically tired, you need rest. However, when you are feeling depressed, the opposite is true. Sleeping more and sitting around doing nothing will only cause you to feel more lethargic and tired. Also, doing nothing leaves room for your mind to ruminate on depressive thoughts, which will make your feel even more depressed.
3. Activity can help you think more clearly. Once you get started, you may find that you take a different perspective on particular problems in your life. Also, because your mind takes a different focus as a result of the activity, your thoughts may become clearer.
In part 2, we will look at how setting goals can help increase your activity levels and therefore lift your mood. Click below to navigate.