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Flipping Your Mood on a Down Day

Have you had days where you felt like this?

I don’t know about anyone else, but we had a rough day yesterday with some unexpected weather leaving us cooped up indoors. Mom was crazy, Dad was crazy, kids were crazy… I think we were teased last week with some great sun and to be stuck inside again with yucky weather made us all realize we are ready for Winter to be over!

We all have down days Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring! Here are some tips to help us make those days a little better:

Emotion follows motion. Did you know that if you start acting like the mood you want to be in, your mood will follow! Seriously, it has to do with your physiology or the way in which you position your body. “The best thing you can do for yourself when you are ‘down” is to create the physiology of being in a good mood:

• Hold your head up high, shoulders straight, chin up, put a smile on your face
• Walk briskly, arms swinging by your side
• Breathe deeply
• Listen to uplifting music

If you try these simple things, your body will think you’re in a good mood even if your mind wants to talk you out of it!” (Sensory Secrets: How to Jump-Start Learning in Children)

Try it! The next time you’re child is having a rough morning, pump their arms for them or create a movement game to get them going, turn on some silly music and start dancing, or get them to laugh (which is breathing deeply). The results may not be right away, but you will notice a happier appearance soon enough. For me, my attempt won’t seem to work or even last very long, but I will notice within a few minutes after that all of a sudden I have a happier child.

Get outside. A walk or just being outside does wonders. It will lift the mood for not only Mom but the kiddos, too. Sun or no Sun… if you have to bundle up, do it! I know that even on stormy days a walk to the mailbox seemed to quiet my fussy daughter and she was even tired when we got back.

Studies show that 1 hour of exercise outside has the same benefits as 2.5 hours of light treatment indoors... Briskly walking to classes, taking a run, skiing, sledding and having a snowball fight have all be proven to help suffers of the blues feel better" (Cornell University's Gannett Health Services). And if you can't get outside, do what you can inside. Do chores, exercise with your kids, just move, move, move (which goes with the first tip!)

Do something nice for a friend or neighbor! Doing something for someone else helps you change the focus of your thoughts to helping someone instead of what is bugging you. Call a friend and offer to watch their child(ren) for a little time, send an email to let someone know you were thinking of them or make goodies for a neighbor and have some fun baking them with your kids (bonus!). I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of such services and I can tell you they flipped my extremely rough day by just randomly stopping by and asking to take my 1 year old to the neighborhood playground. I will never forget a friend once told me a little secret they discovered about their mom. They found out that their mom would go and do nice things for others on her really bad days! Hearing that changed my perspective on the effects of service forever!

Eat some healthy food. Also according to Gannett Health Services, when many people get depressed they will crave high-sugar foods "because carbohydrates are often effective in increasing serotonin levels in the brain.” Unhealthy snacks will only temporarily relieve your mood. Instead, on down days make a healthier meal with some pasta or rice and a side of fresh fruit and vegetables and you will create a longer lasting mood lift.

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