7 Simple Secrets to Improve Your Mood When You are Feeling Depressed

7 Simple Secrets to Improve Your Mood When You are Feeling Depressed

t can be a major struggle to improve your mood when you are feeling depressed. Depression symptoms and their causes range widely from one person to the next. For the purposes of this article, “feeling depressed” is not used in a clinically diagnosable sense. Rather, feeling depressed refers to more generally feeling: down, blue, sad, low mood, upset, irritable, moody, overwhelmed, crabby, cranky, pessimistic, hopeless, etc.

Sadness can hit us hard and fast out of nowhere, or it can slowly creep up on us.

Some of us experience “low mood” for extended periods of time.

I have battled depression on and off throughout my life. My symptoms were quite unbearable amidst my active alcoholism. You can read Alcoholism: How I Hit the Ditch and Came out Grateful and Miracles, Blessings and Jail – Oh my! My Alcoholism, Part 2 for more information on my struggles over the years.

For a comprehensive list of depression symptoms, causes, treatment and more, I recommend the SAMHSA(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) website.

To more closely assess your current depression (or anxiety) symptoms, I encourage you to take my evidence-based screening. (No name or email info requested to complete it)

depression and anxiety assessment symptoms

depression anxiety symptoms feeling depressed

Whether it be a few hours, days or weeks we sometimes find ourselves FROZEN in depression symptoms. Shifting gears and improving our mood can seem all but impossible during such times. However, I’m sharing with you seven surprisingly simple things you can do to improve your mood when you’re feeling depressed.

I have recommended the following strategies to clients in my role as a counselor. However, I’ve chosen these particular “secrets” to share because they are the methods that work best for me, personally!

T-H-A-W-O-U-T to Improve Your Mood When You are Feeling Depressed

When you find yourself FROZEN in depression symptoms, it can be helpful to have a personal menu of “mood lifters,” to choose from. It’s hard to think or be creative when frozen in low energy, lack of concentration and sadness.

I created a list of 7 simple ideas that I can choose from when I am feeling depressed. The acronym THAW OUT helps me remember what they are.

improve your mood when you are feeling depressed

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Talk

Talking about your depression symptoms with a trusted person can lessen the intensity of what you’re experiencing. There are some factors that affect whether talking with someone improves or worsens your symptoms.

It’s most helpful to talk with someone who:

  • Understands depression symptoms
  • Validates your feelings   
  • Helps you activate your positive coping skills

Not everyone is able to be a supportive ear for someone experiencing depression symptoms. You can’t control whether or not someone is able to provide you with positive support. However, you can choose who you talk to.

If someone in your life is willing to be a positive support to you, but they lack the education and understanding about HOW to help… provide the information! Here is one excellent article about helping a loved one battle depression symptoms.

What if you are feeling extremely depressed or suicidal, and you can’t think of anyone with whom you feel comfortable talking? There are many mental health crisis lines available, and you don’t have to wait until it’s a critical situation to call them.

During a particularly dark time in my depression and alcoholism, I found myself feeling like I couldn’t open up to anyone in my support system. I called three different crisis lines in one day. Each time was a little more helpful to lift me up, and I got a different perspective with each person I talked to.

This doesn’t make you WEAK! Talking with someone about how you are feeling takes COURAGE.

Talking with a supportive person will zap the intensity of your depression symptoms and help you focus on using positive coping strategies.

improve your mood when you’re feeling depressed

In-person and online counseling can be very helpful. Online counseling often involves being able to text or message your counselor “in the moment” when you need to talk.

You can review my recommendations for Online Therapy Providers, or read more about this option in my articles Crushing Anxiety and Depression: Comparing 3 Online Therapy Providers and 4 Benefits of Faith-Based Counseling for Depression and Anxiety

Humor

Humor is the best medicine for a lot of things (depression, embarrassment, pride, anger). Seek out something or someone that makes you laugh! This can range from funny cat videos on YouTube (or whatever kind of videos make you laugh), read funny memes, watch a funny movie/show or read a comedy book.

My all-time mood-enhancing show is Impractical Jokers. If you haven’t watched them – check them out! You can watch them on your phone or TV. I have episodes recorded in my DVR for mood-lifting emergencies – lol!

improve your mood when you are feeling depressed
Action

DO something. Anything that requires action. Here’s a list of 26 activities to get YOUR ideas flowing!

  • Stretch
  • Accomplish a “to do list” task
  • Play with your kids
  • Clean/organize something
  • Jam out to music
  • Yoga
  • Color
  • Draw
  • Paint
  • Make your bed
  • Sing
  • Put makeup on
  • Fix your hair
  • Wash the dishes
  • Bake
  • Dance
  • Be helpful to others
  • Play a game with someone
  • Exercise
  • Journal
  • Take & edit pictures of something
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Invite someone for lunch/coffee
  • Write a poem
  • Go fishing
  • Craft project

improve your mood when you are feeling depressed

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