Overcoming a low mood

Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t write a post last week.

Well last week, I was overwhelmed with a sense of low mood and lack of motivation.  I had no inspiration for anything I may wish to write about, and I was totally unmotivated to even get into that space or turn on my computer to write a newsletter.  This is very unlike me these days, however, in the past I have suffered from many episodes of low moods and occasionally depression.  Some of these have merely been for hours or days, but in the very distant past other times have been for months.

I work hard to feel good – physically mentally and emotionally. I work hard to keep my physical body healthy with exercise and food, and to keep my mental and emotional self well and to maintain a high energetic vibration. I check in with myself on a regular basis and ask: How am I feeling?  If the answer is negative, I then ask myself if there’s anything I can do to change this?  Sometimes, it’s about changing what I’m currently doing, sometimes it’s changing the way I’m thinking or feeling about what I’m doing, sometimes it’s about changing my attitude and letting go of negative thoughts and irritations about doing the daily chores that need to be done.

I practise gratitude regularly and frequently, and as I have mentioned before, I find this one of the most powerful mood boosting daily exercises I practise.

Many years ago, I would have considered myself to be a pessimistic and anxious person, my default pattern was mostly negative, worried and complaining.

In the last 10 or so years, I have focused incredibly hard on shifting my mental state of mind, and boosting my emotional well-being.  This was initiated through my extensive reading around the law of attraction and the power of the mind; through focusing on creating what I DO want in my life and taking my energy away from what I no longer want to be experiencing; focusing on feeling better and happier in myself.

When I started reading around the law of attraction, one of my biggest dreams was to move to a peaceful house in the countryside and I thought this would make me a happier person.  Whilst on this extensive journey, around these theories of how we create our lives based on our present day attitude, I realised that by being pessimistic and complaining frequently, even if I did manage to move to a beautiful house in the country, I would still feel miserable unless I worked on my inner state and promoted my happiness feelings.

So what happened last week was unexpected. This negative state hadn’t been triggered by anything in particular externally happening in my life, however there had been a gradual build-up of minor irritations, stresses and frustrations that I hadn’t shifted through or acknowledged and this led to waking up one day and feeling a cloud of low mood descend upon me.

I am not alone in experiencing this, you are not alone when you have these times.  Everyone experiences low mood at times, and many experience anxiety and depression.  As a human being we have an incessant mental chatter that is judging our daily experiences as good or bad and affecting our emotional and mental well-being if we allow it.

So, how to weather the inner storm?  My most useful technique I practised was mindfulness and presence.  Reminding myself to stay in the moment with these feelings, to acknowledge that I wasn’t feeling great.  I tried not to judge it as bad, but just to recognise it as a transient emotion that I was passing through.

I asked myself: what do I need right now, and I tried not to judge the answer – so if it was to sit and watch TV with a cup of tea and some biscuits, or to hang out with the dogs instead of doing admin – then that was fine.  If I was able, I would allow myself to receive what I felt I needed.

By practising acceptance and non-resistance.  I allowed it to be there.  I stopped trying to do things to make it go away.  I just sat with it, while carrying about my daily life.

An important thing that I had to watch out for, which in the past has definitely prolonged this low state, is indulging my negative thoughts by adding more to them, by believing them and by catastrophising about how long I might feel low.

Another thing I did was meet up with a good friend for a cup of tea and to express some of the minor irritations and stresses that were partially bothering me.  I aired some of my grievances about a recent upset in my life – at the same time recognising that I needed to process these and taking responsibility for my feelings around these situations.

I also expected less from myself – if I was feeling tired, I let myself rest. If I didn’t feel like doing something (like tidy the kitchen) I didn’t make myself do it, until I wanted to.

I can highly recommend professional counselling or other talking therapies for prolonged periods of low mood/depression/anxiety – these have been incredibly helpful for me in the past.

This negative state passed.  My energy has shifted, this episode of low feelings have passed.  This has interestingly given me a huge boost in gratitude for all I have in my life, especially my emotional and mental well-being.  It is a very valuable thing.

This episode has reminded me of the importance of my daily practices of mindfulness, gratitude, eating well, exercising, focusing on joy, inner peace, contentment and acceptance.  It has reminded me of the importance of letting go of past hurts, traumas and wounds; of letting go of indulging in mental negativity; and being more discerning about the people, situations and circumstances I engage with and releasing those that no longer serve me in my life. It has reminded me of my taking responsibility for my daily choices – emotional, mental and practical.

All thoughts and feelings are transient – they will all move on – the good ones and the bad ones.  I frequently use this phrase: This too will pass.

‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to swim.’  Jon Kabat Zinn