It's a normal down from time to time — especially if it's because of a recent disappointment or loss you've experienced. But sometimes it’s persistent and there is no obvious cause for your feeling moody, anxious or blue. When this happens, it may be due to specific psycho-spiritual or physical needs that you aren't properly meeting. If this is your situation, then the suggestions below may be just what you need to start feeling great again!
One caution: If your problems are severe enough to be unusually disruptive to your life, be sure to see your doctor to rule out more worrisome causes — including checking for physical issues such as thyroid, adrenal, estrogen and testosterone hormonal problems.
Psycho-Spiritual Factors That Influence Happiness
Being in a down mood is sometimes a result of repressed anger or frustration that has been turned inward. This is why choosing to allow yourself to be angry can be healthy when you're in an unhappy state — even if the people around you don't like it. You can tell when the anger is healthy because it will feel good. Remember though, that you are choosing to be angry, and what you are angry about is nobody else's fault (so don't beat up on others with your anger). When you don't allow guilt to get in the way, notice how you can often feel better after a good hissy fit!
- Feel all of your feelings without the need to understand or justify them. When they no longer feel good, let go of them.
- Make life a "no-fault" system. This means No Blame, No Fault, No Guilt, No Judgment, and No Expectations on yourself or anyone else. This means you'll be changing habits of thinking. For example, if you find yourself judging somebody, simply drop the judgment in mid-thought when you notice it. (And that includes no judging yourself if you find yourself judging others!)
- Learn to keep your attention on what feels good. We sometimes are given the misconception that keeping attention on problems is more realistic. That is nonsense! Life is like a massive buffet with thousands of options. You can choose to keep your attention on those things that feel good. You'll notice that if a problem truly requires your attention at any given time, it will feel good to focus on it. Otherwise, you're living your life as if you have 600 TV channels to choose from, and you only choose to watch the ones you don't like!
Physical Factors That Influence Happiness
From a physical perspective, depression often reflects faulty biochemistry. Begin by asking yourself this simple question—"Do I have many interests?" If the answer is yes, then you're probably not depressed but rather have other physical problems that may be contributing to your moodiness. Common causes would include poor sleep, a weak immune system, thyroid or other hormonal deficiencies, and nutritional deficiencies. Below are a few things you can do that can help support the physical needs you have that are important to promoting emotional wellbeing. Even if you already feel well, these simple tips can leave you feeling even better!
- Overall daily nutritional support is essential, and I would recommend a good multivitamin powder.
- Exercise regularly by beginning a walking program. Research has shown that walking briskly each day can be very effective for improving your sense of happiness.
- Get more sunshine (maybe while you are walking ;-) Inadequate sunlight is a common cause of depression (called "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or "SAD"). Consider this especially if you feel down more during the winter months. The ill-advised medical myth to avoid sunshine has been a health disaster. The current (and healthy) advice? Avoid sunburn — not sunshine!
- Be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Consider herbal sleep support if you have if you need extra help.
- Take fish oil. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown to be very helpful in promoting good mental health. Most of your brain is actually made of DHA (docohexaenoic acid), one of the two key components of fish oil. Fish is called "brain food" for a good reason! To get the benefits of fish oil, try eating three or more servings of salmon, tuna or herring each week.
The 3 Key "Happiness" Molecules
Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are three key "happiness" neurotransmitters that your body needs to support a healthy state of mental wellbeing. Certain vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and magnesium, contribute to your body's ability to produce these neurotransmitters.