There is no such thing as an eternally happy life, and anyone selling you that idea is kidding themselves. That isn’t meant to be discouraging though; just realistic. And remember, it is always possible to improve your overall mood in life. It doesn’t always come easy, but you can teach yourself to be a more optimistic person. I’ve been struggling a lot lately and have found myself in a perpetual cycle of feeling guilty, defeated, and hopeless but I’m trying to take an active role in my mental and physical health and turn that around. The truth is that most of us don’t really do much in an active sense to try and keep our moods up, and that is something that can have severe effects in the long run. You get into a cycle and it’s hard to take a step back and try to gain a different perspective. However, no matter how hard it seems, it is always possible to make yourself feel better by engaging with your life in a more positive and helpful way.
How can you improve your mood in the long term?
Get More Sleep
Sleep is so important, and it is a real shame that in our culture we have started to do away with its importance and see it as somehow non-essential. I’m guilty of not valuing sleep enough, taking on too much, and then literally putting myself in the hospital from exhaustion. Don’t be me. In fact, sleep is central to many aspects of your health, and it is something that can make an enormous difference to how well you live, and how much you enjoy the life you’re living. However, it can do so in such a subtle way that you don’t really notice it, until things go really wrong and you realize that maybe you should aim to sleep a little more night after night. As it happens, it is harder to regulate your mood if you don’t get enough sleep. You will be more liable to feel cranky, put off and upset, sometimes physically ill, even if nothing is really going wrong. So anything you can do to sleep more is going to be more than helpful.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get more sleep. One of the best things you can do here is to make a point of having a bedtime routine of some kind. The more of a routine you have, the more likely it is that you will get off to sleep better and faster, and sleep more deeply too. You should also consider having no caffeine after about 12pm – as it can affect you even up to twelve hours after consumption. (Soooo hardddd….I know…) Finally, be sure to reduce the amount you look at screens, especially in the evening, if at all possible.I never knew how much of a difference this would make until I purposely tested the theory.
Change Your Habits
Many of the habits that we have in our daily lives slowly but surely make us feel worse and worse. You’ve probably had this happen at some point whether you realize it or not. These habits can vary from simple little things that you might wish to change over time, to much more serious things like drug dependencies. Of course, having some kind of addiction is never going to help your mood, so going through a drug and alcohol detox if necessary is going to be a good first step in such a case. But what can you do about those other habits that you might have, those ones that are just part of your daily routine?
If you have identified any habit which you feel is not helping your mood, then that identification is an important first step, and you should be grateful to have noticed that. You now need to get to grips with what causes the habit to arise, and then identify the triggers that lead to you giving in to it. Then you can draw up a plan for what you will do in the face of each of those triggers, thus giving yourself a real action plan that you can work with as you see fit. This should help you to keep those habits at bay in no time, and that will definitely lead to a better mood overall.
More and more people are turning to meditation, and while it isn’t good for everybody, most people can benefit from it to some degree, even if only a little. The truth is that you don’t need to do much of it in order to experience a shift in mood; in fact, just meditating twenty minutes a day is often enough to help you become a little lighter and happier in how you generally feel. Consider taking up a meditation practice and you might find that it is one of the best things you ever did.
How do you pause and re-boot your mindset? Any tried and true methods? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!