I know, some days can be very tough and put you in a depressed mood. But, you have to keep pushing forward no matter what happens. Use these days to learn more about yourself, and how you can snap out of your depressed mood. Remember, your mind can play a lot of tricks on you, but you have the control to change your thinking process right away. You just need to catch yourself in the negative thinking pattern; then transform that thought process into something more positive. Once you snap yourself out of the negative thinking and depressed state, you’ll start to attract more positive thoughts and energy. However, it takes time to change this habit. So, in addition to the strategies below, you should give the 10-Day Mental Diet Challenge a try too.
I’ve been through a lot, and learned a lot about myself along the way. I know living with bipolar disorder was going to be tough so I had to start learning quick strategies to gain control of my negative thoughts. or otherwise face full blown manic episodes. I started to read motivational blogs, productivity hacks, and books like Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. I’ve now branched into other kinds of literature like meditation, mindfulness, and how to live in the now.
With that said, I want to share some strategies that have helped snap me out of a depression or from feeling down. If you can train your mindset to adapt these strategies and make them a habit, you’ll live a more enjoyable life. Here are 10 strategies I use to boost my mood right away.
1) Catch Your Negative Thinking
It takes time, but if you can make it a habit to catch yourself thinking negatively, then you’ll be able to switch that thought with a more positive one. This will get your mind thinking in a completely different direction.
Negative thoughts are just “thoughts” and hold no value what’s so ever, but if you keep thinking about them they can influence your mental state greatly.
I remember how tough it was when I first started to do this. My mind had been wired a certain way for 10-15 years, and to change that required a lot of work. But, I got creative in the way I would catch myself in a negative thought pattern, and this helped rewire my mind. For example, I kept a bracelet around my wrist with the words “Catch Yourself” written on it. Each time I looked at my wrist, it would reiterate those words into my mind. Negative thoughts are manufactured, and hold no value so it’s important you don’t let them run freely. There is no need to pay attention to them because they are fake with no substance whatsoever. The phrase “catch yourself” can be used as a temporary tool to stop and ask yourself – Is this thought good for me?
I recommend you do the same and find what helps you catch yourself in a negative thought process. Why not write down “Catch Yourself” on a piece of paper and put it on your wall? You’ll be surprised how seeing those words over and over again can be embed into your mind. How do you think you memorize somebody’s phone number? It’s because you see that person’s phone number several times so it becomes embedded into your mind.
The next time you have a negative thought in your mind, catch yourself thinking negatively and switch it with a positive thought. This will attract a whole different energy your way. Take some time to write down 5-10 things that light up your day. Put that list on your phone, desk, wherever. Use them as positive alternative thoughts the next time you catch yourself thinking negatively.
2) Know That Someone Has It Worse
One way to boost your mood is to stop pitying yourself thinking you have it rough. My best friend had to give me a good kick in the ass to understand that I was a very lucky person, and there are others who are not as lucky as me. Whenever I think back years ago, I realize that I would pay attention to what I didn’t have instead of what I did. As soon as I would tell myself “I don’t,” this would start a chain reaction of negative thoughts and later depression. But, in reality, I’m lucky for a lot of things like great friends, a great family, work, health, a home, food, and most of all – to be alive.
The next time you’re feeling down think about the good things you have in life, and how it could be worse for you. There are people in this world who have no place to go at the end of the day and nothing to eat. There are also people who have no one to love them or connect with. Someone always has it worse then you, so stop pitying yourself, as this only leads to depression. Just think about the great things you have right now.
Turn on the news and watch what’s happening in the world…this will give you a reality check.
Here’s a great strategy:
In step one, I talk about catching yourself and switching your thought process. A great alternative to your negative thoughts would be to think about all the good things in your life.
3) Know You Can Always Change
Today’s reality is not tomorrow’s, nor is it yesterday’s.
When you start to live by this statement, you’ll change your life for the better…trust me. I’ve noticed most of my depression stems from things in the past that I’m not proud of. Maybe I acted stupid in front of people, got too drunk, spent too much money, messed up a date, didn’t get the girl I wanted, got into a fight with friends, reacted weird with family, or said something wrong. These are things that were once in the present but are now in the past so nothing can be done about them. I can only move forward and learn from my mistakes so I can correct them.
Here’s something more interesting…
People don’t even remember the embarrassing event when I’ve brought it up to them during a “remember when” conversation; they had no clue what I was talking about. Some people needed help remembering and others, as mentioned, had no clue. Don’t get distracted thinking about certain things that happened in your life you’re ashamed of. To be honest, most people will forget or already have.
Know that tomorrow is a new day, and you can always change the past by learning from your mistakes. All it takes is a few genuine acts for people to change their view of you.
4) Get Up and Exercise
You can never go wrong when you exercise because it’s good for the mind, body, and soul. Not to mention, you feel accomplished when you do something good for yourself. Whenever I’m in the gym, I forget about everything bothering me because I’m focused on running and lifting weights. Each time you work out, you also release endorphins into your system, which is your body’s natural pain killers. Endorphins elevate your mood and knock your depression into a standstill.
The next time you are feeling down, it’s time to catch yourself thinking negatively and hit the gym. After your workout you’ll feel pumped and motivated.
5) Live in the NOW
This is very important to me and is one way I keep my mind clear of negative thoughts. Yesterday is over and tomorrow hasn’t come so don’t get distracted by things you don’t control. The purest form of you is right now and what’s happening right now. Look back at when your depression is triggered, and most of the time it’s because you are thinking about something you can’t control – something in the past or future.
When you can learn to live in the moment, you’ll get pleasure in the things right now, which most of the time are beautiful. Change this habit by doing the 10-Day Mental Diet Challenge because it will help you squash bad habits and thoughts that are restricting you. It’s a natural mood booster and will help you live in the moment, which is the only thing you truly control.
6) Get Another Perspective on What You’re Thinking About
It’s all about what you put into your mind, and how you define what’s going on. But, this is something you don’t have to handle on your own. Everyone creates their own story – good or bad. And when it’s bad it can work against you, making you feel like crap. That’s why every time I’m thinking about something negative, I catch myself, and call up my best friend. He can provide me with an unbiased answer, alternative way of thinking, or even completely different perspective. Here’s the cool thing with using this approach –
It’s so easy to get a hold of someone right away because everyone has a mobile phone. You can call someone up, text via phone or WhatsApp, or Skype. I’m sure if you message your friend and tell them it’s urgent, they’ll call you right away. Going forward, every time you’re facing a challenge that is making you feel depressed, it’s important to ask for a different perspective, as this will give you alternative ways of thinking.
7) Tell Yourself “Never Say Never”
You don’t know what tomorrow holds so stop thinking the way things are right now will last forever. Sometimes I won’t get an email back, a phone call returned, a text message responded to, or even money paid back when I need it. But you never know what tomorrow will bring. I remember this happened a few times when waiting for a call from a girl and it wouldn’t come when expected. I would make all these thoughts up in my head and drive myself crazy. But, the next day or two days later I would receive the call I was waiting for and I’d then ask myself – why did I drive myself crazy for the last two day?
I remember applying for a job and expecting an email by Monday, but it never came. I started making up all these scenarios in my mind about why I never received the email, and got depressed. I thought maybe they hired someone else or changed their mind about hiring me, but a few days later I received the email I was waiting for. The person in charge fell ill and couldn’t message me back in time.
The world works in funny ways and you never know what tomorrow will bring. The next time you are feeling depressed for whatever reason just know that tomorrow is another full day of opportunities.
8) Tell Yourself “Things Happen for a Reason”
I believe things happen for a reason, even when you’re diagnosed with bipolar. I created an awesome series highlighting how being diagnosed with bipolar forced me to make significant improvements in my life. It does take a while for you to see this pattern, but soon you’ll notice how one misfortune led to a chain of positive fortunes in your life. Often, we dwell on why things are a certain way right now, and fail to look at the bigger picture that there’s something better planned for us in the future.
Next time, “Catch Yourself” when you’re in this negative thought pattern, and tell yourself this is happening for a reason. At the same time, know there is something planned for you so accept what’s happened and live in the moment.
I know it can be hard to think this way, but it’s truly the only way to think because you can’t control the outcome. Just trust it’s the right outcome for you for the time being.
9) Listen to Music
Music helps. I use it to pump myself up and stay motivated. This is nowhere more evident than when working out because it gives you that extra boost of energy. Create a list of motivational songs using apps like Spotify, and listen to it when your down. Technology has made it so easy for you to access your playlist within minutes through your mobile phone. If you have Spotify, listen to my playlist by typing “Rizvan Main.”
10) Get Some Sleep
Numerous studies have proven how your sleeping pattern can affect your mood. This is nowhere more evident than in people living with bipolar, with doctors encouraging a regular sleeping pattern as their first line of defense against mood swings. I’ve written about how bipolar forced me to create a fixed sleeping pattern for myself, and how this drastically improved my overall mood.
Looking back, many times I would be depressed and all it took was a quick power nap or a good night’s sleep to see a significant mood improvement. So, the next time you are feeling down, leave whatever you’re doing, and take a quick power nap. A power nap can be anywhere between 10-30 minutes.
11) Bonus Strategy: Read Motivating Literature
You’re here reading this blog post to get some help and motivation…right?
I have a handful of blogs I read, and even have the Flipboard application to find motivation when I’m down. Flipboard is a free application you can install on your mobile phone. Search for topics like motivation, energy, mindfulness, and productivity, and you’ll see the trending stories on those topics for the day. Trust me, some of these stories are so powerful and will enlighten your day. Did you know many of the most successful entrepreneurs read 1-2 hours daily? It’s because reading is a great distraction during tough times, and you’ll be surprised where you’ll find inspiration.
Whenever I’m feeling down, I’ll find inspiration in reading so I encourage you to do the same. So the next time you’re feeling depressed, “Catch Yourself” in the negative thought process and turn to your trusted blogs or Flipboard for inspiration. 🙂
Feeling depressed, believe it or not, is something you have total control over. It’s just we don’t give ourselves enough credit and feel that someone else is in control of our mental states. I’ve learned this way of thinking is completely wrong and detrimental to our mental well-being. Want proof? Above I discussed some awesome ways to improve your mood, and I encourage you to implement them right away. I want you to practice them for the next few weeks and write down how you feel each day. I promise after 2-3 weeks, you’ll see a pattern in how your mood has changed and what you have been writing in your journal. You’ll notice more positive thoughts in your journal and an overall positive mental state.