These positivity tips for the mind are useful both if you suffer from depression & anxiety or if you’re just stuck in a bad mood rut at the moment.
Recovering from a mental health issue obviously takes a great deal of time, support and hard work but something equally important, and not often discussed, is maintaining your mental health after recovery. Despite everything we’ve learned if our brains were hardwired for many years to think a certain way it can be very easy to slip back down when faced with challenges in life.
In many ways, mental health issues leave us stronger as individuals but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still left vulnerable when events in life are tricky. It’s during these times that positivity is so important. Hiding or burying our emotions can be a dangerous move but allowing our brains to dwell for too long in negative feelings is also damaging.
We’ve had a rough few weeks lately. We’ve had a couple of major blows; losing my grandmother and getting the news of our infertility, followed by much smaller stresses like minor problems in the house. During the last few days I’ve definitely begun to feel the effect of this in my brain and my mood, and it’s a little scary.
Thankfully, it’s not my first rodeo and I’m able to recognise what’s happening and take some action to (hopefully) turn my mood around before things become more sinister.
1. The power of positive thinking
I will never tire of talking about this as it’s effect can be pretty immediate. Our brains and our emotions are directly connected so a negative thought immediately triggers a burst of unpleasant emotion, and sometimes even an unsettling physical sensation. This could lead back to more negative thoughts and you find yourself stuck in nasty cycle.
Take action. Learn to recognise a negative or irrational thought and try to turn it around in your mind. As an example, if I see a new baby my initial thought might be “It’s not fair. I’ll never have another baby and I’ll feel that unhappiness and resentment for the rest of my life.” This would lead to lots of sadness, anger and jealousy and perhaps a pit in my stomach or tension in my muscles. If I can turn that thought around a little, i.e. “That baby is so cute, I wish we could have another. This may or may not happen but either way I know we’ll be fine and I’ll still find happiness in life as we frequently do now with our son.” I can help myself to feel better. The second thought is much more rational and the outcome more likely, therefore it doesn’t cause me as much emotional or physical distress.
2. It is really important? Will it always be important?
We often find ourselves in stressful situations, in work or at home, and it can be difficult in those high octane moments to think rationally or listen to reason. An example of this for me is springing a leak in our brand new bathroom last week. Taking a step back and getting some perspective can help.
Take action. Pause and ask yourself will I care about this issue in five minutes, five hours, five days, five weeks, five months or five years? There are very few cases where the stressful situation is still going to be important years, months or weeks from now. Often even hours from now it will be resolved.
3. Indulge yourself & your needs
We can feel most stressed, down and anxious when we’ve been too focused on pleasing others or have been too busy for too long. If we overstretch our minds they become tired and that’s when we become vulnerable.
Take action. Three simple steps – self-care, self-kindness and surround yourself with your best, most supportive and positive people.
4. What’s the worst that can happen?
I often can’t resist the urge to jump to the worst case scenario of any given situation – my therapist called this catastrophising and it’s really common. Although this is usually considered an unhelpful move I’ve found that it can also help me with anxious feelings on occasion. If I’m getting tangled up in worry over a particular issue I sometimes allow myself the indulgence of following that worry through to its worst conclusion, as this often helps me get perspective on the problem.
Take action. To use the same example as above, if I’m finding myself in a tangled web of worry about expanding our family I’ll take myself to the worst case scenario; being unable to have any more kids, and really consider what it would be like. Would our life be over? Would we feel unhappy? Would it take anything away from our relationship with our son or his development? This isn’t always going to work as some worst case scenarios are just too upsetting to spend time thinking about but often I end this process realising that if the worst happens with any given situation I’ll still cope.
5. What have you got to be grateful for?
It’s really easy when we’re feeling low or are struggling with difficulties in life to feel jealous and resentful towards others. I’m a sucker for this. I often find myself stuck in self-pity parties and fixating on how easy everyone else appears to have it. Not only is this not a particularly attractive feature to others but it’s also no good for the mind. The opposite of this indulgence is to practice gratitude, even if sometimes you have to force yourself into it.
Take action. Start a gratitude journal. Write down three things every morning you’re grateful for – even if they are just small and simple items. Each evening write down three positive moments from your day, again small is fine (and better really!).
I plan to make sure I’m doing all these things myself this week to help ease me out of my current slump. I hope you find these techniques helpful too. Please share your own positivity tips below!
10 Affirmations For Anxiety Sufferers
Can Positivity Cure Depression?
Video – Tips For Staying Positive During Anxiety Or Depression
13 comments on “Positivity – Five Quick Tips For Turning Your Mood Around”
I am so sorry to hear you have had a rough few weeks xx it’s hard to out a positive spin on things when everything is on top of you but keep looking ahead and coming up with solutions and power through xxx
Love this! I recently started taking time every day to write down the things that I am grateful for – simple things such as the smiley face a barista drew on my coffee cup or the fact that the temperature finally went over 8 degrees! It really helps me to put things into perspective 🙂
Great post! I struggle a lot at times and learning to take action to change my mood is so important. It also comes with practice too.
Sorry to hear things are a bit rough at the moment. Life has so many ups and downs. Great advice.
I could have used this yesterday! These tips are so simple but easily forgotten in moments of stress. Thanks for sharing x
So sorry you are having such struggles at the moment, staying positive is very important at times like this and your quick tips are perfect. Sending love x
Great advice. I’m sorry you’ve had a bit of a rough time. When things are on top of me I struggle to find things to be positive about. Hope you have plenty of smiles at little things. 🙂
Wow these are some great tips. I’m going to try some next time I feel myself slipping into a bad mood! Thanks for sharing! Also I’m terribly sorry to hear about your difficult time. Sending thoughts, prayers and good vibes your way X Amanda
I find thinking of positive things and bring grateful of small things really helps me. Great ideas
This is so very important. I have been in recovery from PTSD for a few years and you are so right. It’s one thing to heal it’s another thing to sustaining good mental health. I do a lot of yoga, hiking, and meditation to help keep myself calm. I love this post! Such an inspiring post!
This is such a brilliant post! I had severe depression a few years ago – I got through it but I still need to be very much in-tune with my emotions and make sure that I’m not letting the negative thoughts take hold again. I’m actually going to bookmark this post because it is so useful and practical – thank you for sharing.
And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush
Thanks, Lucy. I’m touched that you would want to refer back to my post at a later date 😀 I’ve learnt a lot about changing how we think in the last few years but it’s been a great learning experience x
This is such a helpful well thought out post. I know exactly how you feel I’m recovering from PND and Anxiety and it’s definitely not a smooth road. We must remember just how far we’ve come. Big hugs Gemma