Feb 072012
 
Jogging by Geff Rossi

Everyone feels troubled from time to time. We may face certain life events that make us feel worry, fear or despair. While feeling depressed is a normal reaction, feeling low for prolonged periods does not help. What then can you do to lift your mood quickly when you are down?

Dealing with Dark Moods

Whenever I am in a dark mood, it is possible for me to overcome it through sheer willpower. Here, I remember my purpose, focus on the solutions and do what I must. Yet such an approach requires great effort.

What happens when willpower alone is not enough? What happens if you cannot shake off the sadness, despair or negativity that you feel? What happens if your solutions fail to bring about the change you desire? What happens if you cannot think of any solutions to deal with your problems?

All these are questions and fears I grapple with as frustration saps my will. The problem with brooding is that it makes me stare too closely at the problem. When my mind keeps going in the same circles, it is not likely to find a new solution. Thus, I need to step back to see the bigger picture from another angle if possible. In such cases, the best way for me to overcome my dark thoughts or moods is exercise.

Squash by Fabio Bruna

The Need for Exercise

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of exercise. The only kind of exercise I get is to hit the gym twice a week. Even though I have been doing so for ten over years, I am lean at best. I was never motivated enough to develop and maintain huge and bulky muscles. If it were not for the gym, I could be termed lazy.

Still, a sedentary lifestyle has many negative effects. Without physical activity, the human body will just atrophy from disuse. As I get older, problems will start to arise. Therefore, I cannot just sit around and ignore this. I have to make it a point to exercise. Apart from that, it is also good to maintain a certain measure of fitness and health.

But it can be hard to drag myself to the gym for a two-hour workout each time based on these reasons alone. Yet overtime, I have come to realize that my workouts do wonders for my mood as well. I might leave my home feeling gloomy, but after my workout, my mood improves tremendously. By having a fairly long and intense session, my body releases endorphins to cope with the stress I place on it. You see, endorphins act as a natural pain reliever and antidepressant. This in turn makes me feel good at the end. But this is not all.

A Mental Shift in Focus

Early on, I realized through observation and experience that one way to beat my dark moods is to shift my focus. When I focus on other things instead of brooding, I feel slightly better. This is why I have always made it a point to focus on the solutions and not the problem itself. I have been a compulsive brooder for most of my life. I might be better able to manage my brooding today, but the tendency to brood is always there.

The beautiful thing about exercise is a need to focus on the task. There is no room to brood if I wish to have a good workout. Otherwise, I could seriously injure myself in the process. My workouts last about two hours on average. During this time, I give it my all. I make sure I push myself as far and as hard as I can. By escaping my mind’s hold on me in this manner for a prolonged period, I feel better naturally.

I may have started my workout feeling gloom and doom. But at the end of my session, everything seems brighter and possible. Even if the road ahead is hard, I have renewed determination to press forth.

Lifting Weights by Official US Navy Imagery

Taking Action

Exercise or sports are natural and healthy ways to lift your moods. But the type and intensity that suits you may vary from person to person. Always consult your physician before you start any exercise program.

What other healthy and natural ways can you think of to feel better quickly? Do you exercise or play sports regularly? How do you feel after that? Are there any favourite sports or exercises that you have? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  27 Responses to “How to Lift Your Mood Quickly”

  1. Excellent post and so very true! When I was in one of the low points of my life about 4 years ago – I went out and found a trainer and lost 23 pounds.

    I felt better about myself and I got a new attitude!

    In gratitude to exercise and endorphins,
    Nancy
    Nancy Shields recently posted..MAY I HAVE YOUR EAR?My Profile

    • Hi Nancy,

      Wow, losing 23 pounds is quite an achievement!

      I certainly admire your dedication and determination. :)

      Exercise should be a vital part of all our lives. It is certainly something that we should engage in for its many healthful benefits.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. Awesome! Eventually i having a badminton practice these weekend, I enrolled in a fitness and sports activities to enjoy one self.
    maegan recently posted..Motivation To Lose WeightMy Profile

  3. Thats a big one for me, Irving. I get out for a walk 2 or 3 times a day. Checking in the physical body and asking healthy questions of ourselves will have us finding an outlet that gives us fresh energy. When I ask myself the right questions, I can feel my consciousness rising above the NO’s and WOES that can enslave my attitude and mood. Sometimes my ultimate mood lifter is a good comedy! Know thy authentic self and work with it until you experience a new kind of mood, vastly superior to the mood that you consider a fabulous mood. This mood has you look at life with supreme optimism.

    • Hi Rob,

      Wow, that is a lot of walking you do daily. I can see how important health and good moods are to you.

      Like you, I also enjoy a good comedy. Nothing beats laughing out hard and loud and comedies are a good way of doing so. They remind me not to take life so seriously.

      Indeed, if we know and work with our authentic self until we experience a new kind of mood, we won’t see the world in the same way again. I can understand how this mood has us looking at life with supreme optimism.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. When I am not in my good mood, I don’t usually talk to people. Rather I walk, to release my anger or bad thoughts. I have to do this, I have tendencies to get angry easily when i’m not on my mood.
    Divina recently posted..Simple Facts About The Pearl Arowana of Australia You Should KnowMy Profile

    • Hi Divina,

      Walking is a good way to release our anger and bad thoughts.

      I am glad that you are aware of your moods and that you have the self-control to avoid people until you feel better.

      Doing so helps to prevent needless problems.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. As you know, I train in martial arts. After I got my black belt in November, I slacked off for awhile. It didn’t take long for my body to feel stiff and tired, and my mood turned grumpy. I’m now back in class 3-4 times a week. I’m not training as hard as I was in preparation for the black belt test, but I’m training enough to feel good and I have more energy. And my mood is definitely better.

    Vigorous exercise isn’t required to feel better. Walking, stretching, gardening are all good exercises.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..The Kindness of StrangersMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Yeah I know what you mean about feeling stiff and tired after not training for awhile.

      If I don’t go to the gym at least once a week, I feel lethargic easily as well.

      Training 3-4 times a week is plenty. Even if you are not training as hard as you were for your preparation, at least you feel good.

      I think it is good to engage in physical activity to lift one’s mood and to maintain good health. It doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise as you say. As long as we do something like walking or gardening, it helps. But this should be done consistently to reap the benefits.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. Irving,

    I’m not a big fan of exercise, but I do try to get out for a walk at least 5 days a week. Lately, I’ve been making it more vigorous and walking up small hills. This has felt uplifting.

    Generally, I find a change of scenery helps change my moods, especially going out into nature. Just shifting my focus can help too although that can sometimes be more challenging to do.

    It’s good to see that you have the dedication to work out twice a week. I think this will pay off both in lifting your mood and for your health in the long run. I admire you willingness to engage though exercise is not your favorite activity.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..A Simple 6-Step Prescription for Greater HappinessMy Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      Walking at least 5 days a week is pretty good, especially if you make it more vigorous as you say.

      While I am not a big fan of nature, I agree that a change of scenery does help my moods. Maybe it is because of the break in routine that I am forced to focus on the now instead of zoning out in a familiar place.

      I won’t call working out twice a week dedication. I just do what I must to keep my body and moods healthy and sound. That alone is incentive enough even if I don’t like to exercise all that much. The alternative of not doing so is unbearable for me.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  7. Such a great article! I totally agree with you, the best way to get out of the sadness is to do some sports. My favorite is actually the squash you mentioned, it’s really intensive and hyped and fast, after an hour match playing I always feel relaxed. My body is tired but it isn’t weary, and my mind is clear. When I feel moody, I always have to play a little.
    Catwoman recently posted..fogfehérítésMy Profile

    • Hi Catwoman,

      Squash is indeed a good outlet to lift one’s moods.

      Although I don’t play it myself, I can see how such vigorous activity is good for the body and mind.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  8. Hi Irving,

    Meditation has helped me personally with getting over bad moods fairly swiftly. If I find myself in a bad state, I quickly become objective to what I’m experiencing and tell myself “it won’t last, it will pass”. And indeed, its passing is guaranteed.
    Hiten Vyas recently posted..If you know ‘why’ then will you focus on ‘how’?My Profile

    • Hi Hiten,

      Meditation is a great way to lift one’s mood if you practice it consistently.

      The discipline gained from regular practice should be able to help you find balance in the midst of a storm.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. Definitely, exercise has worked for me. It is a fast way of lifting my mood. I certainly need to exercise more often. Thanks for the reminder!

    What I also like is using an energy technique for releasing negative emotions. It can work wonders pretty fast! I think it is a good idea to have on hand ways that work well for us. That way when I am not feeling good, I know what are the ways I can turn to almost immediately.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How to Mend a Broken Heart HolisticallyMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Everyone can benefit from exercise in some form or other.

      I am not familiar with energy techniques for releasing negative emotions. But I agree it is always a good idea to have a few contingency plans to manage our moods. That way, if one way fails, we still have others to fall back on.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  10. Hi Irving,

    I have been doing exactly this, this week. I was very upset by something that happened on Friday, and was far too intensely focused on it to the point of feeling very, very low. Lower than is healthy on my “this is how far it goes” meter. So I dragged myself to the gym every single day, knowing that was the one thing that was likely to push me into a better attitude and mood.

    Mind you, I don’t go for two hours! I probably should! I used to do 1 1/2 hours of intensely focused weight lifting and BOSU/balance ball workouts, but these days I am content with listening to lectures or music while on the elliptical and seeing how long I can hold a squat against the wall or some yoga poses. Exercise is definitely the solution to what ails you, whatever it may be, because it gives you the will to fight another day :)
    Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..Does A Psychic Read Your Mind?My Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      I am sorry to hear that something upset you on Friday. I know how it must feel to have been dragged very low by such an incident. I have experienced such cases in my life often. I hope you are feeling better by now.

      It is still a wonder you had the strength to drag yourself to the gym every single day to feel better. I might have had trouble getting out of bed if it was bad enough.

      Haha! I go for two-hour sessions not because I am hardcore but because I want to cover as much as I can in each session so I can slack off. If you go daily, one intense hour in a gym is good enough.

      Indeed exercise does give us the will to fight another day. Thus, in peacetime, we must keep training so that we have the discipline to fall back on exercise when the going gets tough and we need to get tougher.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  11. exercise is a real key. it’s so hard for me to get my butt off the couch and exercise though, even though I know i need to!!!
    Noch Noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..today I laughed: how is business done in China?My Profile

    • Hi Noch Noch,

      I know how hard it is to get off the couch and exercise. I can take forever to leave the house to get to the gym especially if I am feeling unmotivated. But I still make it a point to do so since I know I need the exercise. Better late than never.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  12. Changing moods is base in the place where you are belong in your home, in your workplace or in hang out place . I agree that doing exercise more often may help it depends upon how are you going to handle it.
    Annette Golphin recently posted..Timber Doors & Timber WindowsMy Profile

  13. Hey Irving,

    I totally agree man! Getting active can shift a mood, almost immediately. I have a weight bench here at home, so when I need a boost of energy, I simply head down to the basement a do a few reps to get the old blood a pumping!

    I also enjoy a good run, every now and then. I haven’t done so lately though, because I’m not a fan of running in the cold. Even though I hear that’s the best time to run. I’ll more than likely resume in the spring though; which won’t be long now.

    Usually for me though, I listen to music to get me out of my somberness. And since my music choice ranges from country to pop, rock to R&B; I’m rarely amiss of inspiration and getting that pep back in my step.

    I’ve always said do what’s absolutely necessary to stay out of the funk though. Find something that makes you laugh, smile, or simply take you out of that funk.

    Great share man! :)

    • Hi Deeone,

      Ah, I know what you mean about pumping iron to shift your moods. I have a barbell at home, but no weight bench regrettably. But still, there is much I can do with a barbell.

      Ay, like you I am not fond of the cold. But then again, I am not fond of running no matter the weather.

      Here is where we differ. I try to avoid music when I am in a dark mood since I gravitate towards melancholic music. Given the powerful effect music has on my moods, I try to listen to grand, uplifting and moving stuff or I just avoid music altogether.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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