Ready to talk? Let’s talk

Today’s post is about that comforting feeling you can get from knowing you’re part of something bigger than you. As I sat down to write it, of course it occurred to me that this probably isn’t something we feel when our mood is low.

At times like these, you (a) feel alone, (b) (perversely?) want to be left alone, so (c) often end up being alone.

All of this doesn’t exactly foster a sense of being something bigger than yourself, does it?

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Let’s therefore try an experiment. My last post was about the power of knowing yourself. I mentioned Philipp Keel’s book ‘All About Me‘, with its multiple questions designed to reveal who you really are.

Now, as a reader of Moodnudges (for which I’m really grateful) you are of course already part of something bigger.

Our circulation is growing: it was 2,580 at the last count, still cozy enough to feel you’re not lost in a crowd, but big enough to represent all manner of views and outlooks.

So today let’s throw open the Comments section of the blog so you can bump into some of the other fine people who read these posts. How? Well, simply answer one question as a comment on the post – then/or feel free to chip in on others’ comments.

Easy.

Here’s my question, then: What helps you most when your mood is low?

Hopefully we’ll kill two birds with one stone. We’ll share some great advice at the same time as giving a voice to you and the other Moodnudgers who make up our flourishing community.

100 thoughts on “Ready to talk? Let’s talk

  1. Going for a walk or,even better, a run with my dog to connect with nature and help remind me it’s all happening for a reason.

    1. Used to be my fave distraction. Breathing probs made it too stressful to be of benefit. Gentle walking at a steady, rhythmic pace better than nothing.

    2. My first option would be to go for a walk. If I’m at work just a short one, preferably somewhere with grass, trees and birds. I’ve recently started running, not for long, it makes me feel better for the rest of the day.

    1. I often call a friend or family member, not just anyone, but one who I know loves me just the same whether I’m happy or depressed. If I want a quick fix, just a game of Spider Solitaire and Freecell can pick me up, the instant win feeling is a good substitute for /delay before actually getting up and accomplishing something satisfying. It helps me to remember this: “I can do one thing”, even if there are some problems I can’t fix, I can do something and the sense of achievement makes me happy, satisfied and feeling in control of my life again.
      Hahaha, I love Gilmore Girls too, but I don’t own any of the several series’ yet. Watching a DVD snuggled up on the couch is good too, though I have to be careful to choose a happy movie, something that is about good values and wholeheartedness, and not too romantic since I’m on my own because even though I enjoy RomComs they can make me sad and heighten my sense of aloneness sometimes.

  2. When feeling low, it helps me if I do a ‘dreaded task’, like tidying up a messy room or sorting out stuff for the charity shop. I feel a lot better after I’ve accomplished this.

    1. I agree. Even though it can be really hard to push yourself into this, it gives a sense of accomplishment as well as an energy boost.

  3. 2 close friends who refuse to allow me to wallow alone. They encourage me (in no uncertain terms) to join their families for food, walks in the woods or just tv watching.

  4. It’s never easy motivating myself when I feel terrible, and have a bad case of ‘the I don’t want tos’ I look at photos on my iPad of happier days,
    I try and get out and find a geocache which really is being part of something bigger and connecting but not having to meet anyone.
    But if things are really bad I remember what was said to me constantly over the years;
    “Wash your face, have a drink of water and a little walk in the garden” it is now a joke in my family but it does help.

    1. Anne,
      I seriously love this so much!! My family will be adopting this one for sure. Thanks for posting!

      And thanks to Moodnudges for the every day things and this idea of “let’s talk” in particular! πŸ™‚
      Dair

      From Anne:
      But if things are really bad I remember what was said to me constantly over the years;
      β€œWash your face, have a drink of water and a little walk in the garden” it is now a joke in my family but it does help.

  5. A couple of things:
    – Remember that this will pass. It always has done, and it always will.
    – Tell someone how I am feeling. If I’m not sharing, I’m not dealing with it.

    1. yes sharing is a joy. I share YOGA spiritual books films art with my good friend and most of all we share our low anxious times as we practice mindfulness together. I am blessed with very great kind friend.

  6. I like to take walks in a vibrant area when I am low. Preferrably an area that is pretty as well as having lots of people, kids, pets and life in general. When I am low and I take walks I tend to want to not look around. My eyes focus on the ground. I try to break this natural habbit when I am low and make a point of noticing things i.e. forcing my mind outside of itself. Even better take a walk with a friend.

    Thanks Jon. I enjoy your postings and I hope you stay well.

    Steve

    1. This works for me too. My world shrinks right back down so that I am a person amongst other people, other lives, instead of being my own whole, entire, self-absorbed universe.

  7. I have a daily journal of positive thoughts where I put down only things that I enjoyed in a given day. When I have a low day I reread old entries. When we are low we often feel that this mood will last forever.

    Rereading these positive messages from your past self to your future self with words like ‘beautiful’, ‘fun’, ‘fantastic’, etc are powerful, uplifting and hard to ignore.

    1. Yes I write morning pages every day and that space is mine and it helps to express thoughts to yourself and my mind is free from my low moods through writing

  8. I allow myself to be quiet, I think take one day at a time, if I connect with people it helps especially if I go out. But as you mention in the blog it’s not always easy to go out. Lately I have tried EFT. It’s tapping on different points it helps with anxiety

  9. I think of the miracle we are in, the extraordinary beings we are. I remember that I create the reality and that I’m commited to be the best version of me.

  10. I have a collection of animal photos on my phone that make me smile. If I’m feeling stressed, sad or overwhelmed I look through some of the pictures and they always bring a smile to my face and lift my mood.

  11. Getting out. Be it a walk with the dog, or on your own or with someone if you can, enjoy nature & the peace and quiet…hopefully, but after a walk it WILL feel a bit better.

  12. I sometimes need tough love to help me. I read about the women on the home front during the wars, the women who led their families through austerity in the 1950s, and then right back through history I think of the people that brought me here – all my ancestors, all unknown, Victorian, Elizabethan, mediaeval, stone age. We all got me to here, where I’ve continued the line myself… I’m not giving up now, I want to see how it ends!

    1. What a great perspective! I am also from a long line of very strong feisty women and feel the same want to continue in their footsteps.

    2. Yes, I find reflecting on my grandmothers grandmothers life helps me to feel a little more strong and proud plus I wouldn’t want to disgrace her memory. I have a copy of a painting of her which is a treasure to me. I also think about meeting those I care about who have passed on and I want them to be happy to see me and that helps me to keep going when it’s one of those tough days.

  13. For me it’s putting on my walking boots and going for a long walk. I’m fortunate to live in a very picturesque place. Soaking up all of natures beauty whilst I’m walking puts things back in perspective. It always works for me. Xxx

  14. Going for a walk and connecting with nature. Reading a book I can get lost in. Reading “Moodnudges.” Tackling and completing a task that I’ve been dreading and putting off for ages. How many of you are like me, and think that a lot of your “low periods” come simply from not dealing with stuff and just “festering” about it?

  15. When I feel really low I think only of getting through the next five minutes, I call it the 5 minute rule and then my friend knows things are difficult for me. And within that I know I must keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep moving forward I say.
    Action before motivation is a motto too. Then going for a walk in nature and forcing myself to notice details helps.

    1. Glad to see Julie’s comment, the next five minutes until I forget and then the day moves on and maybe I’m doing something bigger.

  16. There is some reset button that often gets pushed when I do some detailed body maintenance. I don’t just have a quick shower, but I have a long bath with good fragrances, wash my hair really well, shave my legs, then I cut all of my nails, paint my toenails and clean my ears! It is the LAST thing I want to do at the time, but if I know I have to face up to one of the causes at a stressful a meeting or something then this cleansing ritual really helps. I also change the sheets on my bed. Sometimes it is like torture, but something shifts nearly every time.

  17. I’m interested how many people go for a walk. It’s what I do too. I’m never disappointed by a walk, I always come back feeling it was worthwhile. On the days I can’t get myself out for a walk – I’m “kind to myself”, take it easy, do a jigsaw puzzle in front of the fire. And allow myself time to let it pass. I’m very lucky in having a supportive partner who ‘gets it’ when I’m like that.

  18. Taking a walk and getting out of the house, getting a task done, talking to family/friends, having something to look forward to no matter how small or insignificant all help me.

  19. Depending On just how I’m feeling I will either go for a walk or go into my garden to do some work and use up some energy. sometimes walking can make me feel worse and if it’s one of those days I relax watch a movie and just allow myself to be alone and quiet in the knowledge that it will pass.
    Thank you I enjoy your emails and I’m often surprised by how they just managed to address my thoughts and feelings on that particular day x

  20. When I feel I practise yoga and meditation almost every day I befriend and connect to my body and best of all I still and calm my mind through raga meditation. This inner work gives me both peace and energy to embrace myself and the day. I also love to read and to study the science of yoga. My beloved gorgeous cats always put a smile on my face and fill my heart with joy

    1. I’ve started yoga in the last year and even one sun salute helps lift my mood and ground me in the now πŸ™‚

  21. I find walking great for reflecting, emptying the mind and relaxing in the present. It sounds like a contradiction, but if I’m out for long enough these are the phases I go through. If I can’t go out, I’ll listen to music, or watch a comedy show. Laughter is good for the soul.

    1. By being there and listening. I hate it when others tell me what I should be feeling or doing but having someone to dump on does help. Once a friend persuaded me to go for a drive with her to the hot springs and though I was unwilling at first I’m so glad I went, it was special and I felt so good after a soak.

  22. To be honest, while trying to answer your question I have just realised that most of the time I do anything to get a better mood. That’s something I need to change. However, I shall say that praying is my best way to feel better.

  23. When I am feeling low I read inspirational quotes and I always find the perfect one for me… Then I feel strong and motivated that I can accomplish anything!

  24. I make a list of small and more manageable tasks for the day and tick each off as I complete it. Stuff like do the dishes, the laundry, take my multivitamins, take a 5/10 min walk, send an email etc. Also, as it has been said, telling myself it is not a permanent state of being and I do feel better at times is a help.

    1. I’m a great list maker too and do get some sense of achievement even on bad days if I’ve managed something off my list.

    2. Excellent idea to make lists of small and easily achievable tasks as you do . I’ve done these for years and it really does help motivate me to get moving, even if it’s only into the shower πŸ™‚ Such a good feeling to tick items off the list isn’t it πŸ™‚

  25. If I’m feeling low because I’m overwhelmed, I set a timer for 30 minutes and make a dent in tackling a dreaded task. This small accomplishment elevates my mood. This dreaded task can be work or home related. Sometimes it is just creating a clutter-free spot where I can relax, observe nature, and meditate.

    If I’m feeling low because I feel isolated, I do something for someone else: volunteer, compliment a coworker, buy coffee for the person behind me in the drive-through at Starbucks, offer to let someone ahead of me in line at the grocery store, offer help/support to a friend, or just share a smile with someone I don’t know.

    1. Wendy,
      Beautifully put! You spell out the difference situations and what they call for so nicely. Thanks for your wonderful ideas!
      Dair

  26. I get my Bright Lights out and make sure to use them every morning. Doesn’t take long before my mood gets better..even if it’s just inch by inch. After a few days, my mental and physical energy returns.

  27. Bloody Extrovert. Always wanting people, are enervated by people, think by yapping.

    There, got that off my chest.

    I’m an extreme introvert (AKA hermit), and want nothing more than to be left alone. I am truly happiest being on my own for days at a time. That brings a feeling of calm, and if not happiness, at least not depression.

    Being with or talking with people drains me, and then I *NEED* a time to recharge.

    Jon’s constant advice to “connect” is not suitable for everyone. Communing with nature (puttering in the garden?), and even thinking your own thoughts (when you’re allowed to think them…) can be a very powerful mood lifter.

  28. Drawing, painting, photography – in other words, something creative and absorbing. Also, like the clearing up a messy area. Hate planning it, but done spontaneously, lifts my mood a lot.

  29. When I feel low I watch the sound of music because it was my favourite film growing up and the scene with ‘My favourite things’ never fails to make me smile. Either that or I’ll do something productive like make notes for my course as that helps remind me I’m part of my University’s community. My Uni also has really good mental health talks that always help me see the big picture.

  30. When I’m really low I sometimes find it quite hard to think about what to do.
    So I have a little book where I once wrote down all these little actions that could help me feel better. (I call it my happiness archive)
    Like special places for a walk, songs, books, ideas to do something creative, special food and all that… things that can be done right now and without much preparation.
    Really helpful!

  31. Things that I find improve my mood are getting organised with paperwork at home (you really have to force yourself ) but it always works. Also reading some spiritual / scientific quotes and a compliment from the opposite sex works also..

  32. I find that I need to get myself out of my apartment and somewhere where I’ll be among people even if I don’t directly have to contribute to conversations. I might go to a local coffee shop where inevitably I have to speak to order my coffee and that bit of connection can help me gain a more positive perspective and take me out of myself.

  33. It’s great to read everyone’s notes – great idea Jon. What helps me most when my mood is low is on the spot to just focus on noticing my breathing. This immediately disconnects me from the circular conveyor belt of critical and negative thinking and gives me a peace for a few seconds, minutes or longer. The bigger picture of what helps mainly involves nourishing self – care (baths, exercise, walks) being compassionate with myself, meeting a friend and not over doing it in the day. It is all very hard!! Good Luck to you all.

    1. Focusing on my breath helps me too. People have said to count and breathe but when I’m distressed this is too hard to remember so I just breathe in and breathe out.

  34. Going for a walk with my two dogs. This means I have the pleasure of seeing them happy, and that I meet other dogs and their owners. This is a situation where you can chat or not, depending on how you feel, and somehow it’s easier to chat, or not, if you’re just walking along side by side. Also I’m in nature, a sure -fire way to feel better, at any time of year. And getting home afterwards feels good, too.

  35. I walk with my dogs into the woods. They are loving, nonjudgmental companions who don’t have any idea what bumming out is. They love me unconditionally as I am learning to be a friend to myself.

  36. Firstly, thank you to Jon. We all receive these Moodnudges regularly and these are a tool that I go to when I am feeling a bit low. They are wise and strong words and the Blog is a fantastic resource for those dark times!
    I also meditate, something that I never dreamt I would say or do but I now use Headspace, the app, after reading about in on Moodscope a couple of years ago. It has been a real game changer for me and is a great habit.
    We are all part of this community and I am also grateful for that. Thank you all for being there and always being prepared to share strengths and weaknesses.

  37. Wow, what a thoughtful, positive and inspirational selection of comments you’ve posted today. Thanks so much everybody.

    There are so many pearls of wisdom here, and I feel suitably awed to feel part of something much bigger than me.

  38. Observing nature – even if that’s just looking out of the window and noticing tiny changes on a tree as the seasons change. It’s a reminder of decay and renewal. Like with moods, nature can seem ‘dead’ when in fact it’s just dormant, waiting for better conditions in which to thrive again.

    1. I’m so lucky to have a beautiful bush view from my bedroom and my lounge. Often I zone out while looking at the subtle colours of the trees and this helps me process emotions. It also inspires me to go outside in my garden or walk in the bush. Nature is such a great leveller.

  39. If feeling low I try to be around my always positive partner, if that is not possible I try to do something really nice for myself. Drive to town and take a leisurely walk…..have a coffee or a wine and watch people……make myself feel “special”

  40. I reflect on things that move me toward, rather than against or away from, my values… it could be as little as getting out of bed in the morning, or getting to work… one step at a time. Being kind and compassionate to the self is good too – no use beating yourself up for feeling low.

  41. I re-read a favourite book and have something delicious to eat – not necessarily healthy, but something that I know I will really enjoy.

  42. Remind myself that I am not the only one and that it does get better.

    Watch or listen to some gentle comedy. (Laurel and Hardy, Count Arthur Strong, Dad’s Army – anything that feels warm and familiar.)

    Go for a walk in some green space or by the sea in bright sunshine or in windy stormy weather.

    Breathe and Sleep.

    1. I do this too; you might like to give Hancock’s Half Hour or the Goon Show a try. Spike Milligan and Tony Hancock of course both suffered from depression, just as a side note… One that never fails me is Only Fools & Horses πŸ™‚

  43. I go for a walk or read the book iΒ΄m been reading but if i feel very overwhelmed i just cry a little and after that i feel relieved, but i try before crying a lot of things first

  44. I find going outside to feed my chickens always lifts my spirits.
    If I am at risk I ALWAYS talk to a professional, if it’s the middle of the night I’ve found that leaving a message on their answer machine or sending an e-mail will also help. This has got me through many long nights.

  45. A walk in the woods is my release, but if none are available I just sit down and watch the clouds. The greatest free show on earth, constantly changing cast and helps me to see things in perspective and how minor my problems really are.

  46. Working out and talking to my friends always helps. I hate feeling low so I try not to let my mind wander when I am feeling low as everything you think seems darker.

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