Feeling Better When You’re Sad
We all have periods when we’re feeling sad, and 2020 seems to have thrown just about as much as it can at many of us. We look at ways to feel better
by Sultan Dajani
Mood can be influenced by many things. We have good things that make us feel happy and joyful. Then we can have the not so good things that can leave us feeling sad, angry, or regretful. Then there are also days where mood cannot be explained or rationalised, and even days where we can swing from one extreme to the other.
And as we are currently living in a situation of certain limbo, uncertain of what is happening around us, how we should handle things, or we ‘should’ feel it is understandable that our moods may differ day to day or even hour to hour.
What things can we do to try and help keep our moods healthy?
Don’t force it
Let your mood be. The more you try to change it and pretend it’s not happening, the worse you are going to feel. Acknowledge that it is just a mood or a feeling that will eventually lift.
Take a minute
Take some time out to just sit with your mood. Perhaps giving it some attention can help you work out the cause or resolve it. If you know that it is your emails, or a certain friend that is causing your mood to worsen, step away from them until you feel like responding or talking to them.
When we aren’t feeling quite ourselves, we may be more inclined to reach for comfort food or high sugar food like chocolate. This may make us feel better for a nanosecond but will unlikely help us in the long term. Having a healthy balanced diet with lots of vegetable and fish will ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to help boost your mood.
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our mood and helps us to rationally process things around us when we’re feeling sad. We can see this even on one night’s bad sleep. We feel grumpy, are quicker to react to negative things and find it harder to be enthusiastic. Stick to a sleep routine and note down any worries before you go to bed.
Exercise, walk, jump up and down, do some stretching or dance around the room. Whatever your preference just moves your body. Even a few minutes will give you a new outlook. Endorphins are released, stresses can be taken out through exercise and gentle options like yoga and Pilates can help reset and calm the mind.
Skin Deep Health
Living with the stress and anxiety of COVID adds to the impact of spending more time indoors on our skin health – our body’s largest organ. The relationships between stress, anxiety and skin health has been studied since ancient times. All the body’s organs respond to stress and as the largest organ in the body the skin is not immune to the effects of stress.
The skin is highly innervated and the primary sensing organ for external stress. The receptors in the skin transmit stress signals to the brain. The brain responds to these signals, which in turn influence stress responses in the skin such as inflammation. Stress exerts its effects on the skin mainly through the hypothalamus and pituitary (located in the brain) together with the adrenal glands (this is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal – HPA axis). Stress leads to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol which can also impact on the skin’s quality through increasing inflammation and destabilising the immune system. This can aggravate skin problems like acne and eczema.
If eczema, rashes and psoriasis are bothering you thanks to the stress, then CBD could help get you feeling better. Research is emerging however CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could help skin issues from flaring up. Whilst most research to date has focused on the impact of CBD in the endocannabinoid system in the central nervous system, research shows that endocannabinoid receptors are also located in the skin. In fact, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system of the skin almost in harmony! Research published this year has also identified a further biochemical target for CBD within the skin cells that could help explain CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects.
Optimal health depends very much on a whole-body approach, providing the right diet, exercise, sleep patterns and opportunities to relax and de-stress in these trying times. Combining yoga, meditation, zen and classical relaxation to help achieve optimal balance and harmony works for many and is known as sophrology. Key to this is relaxation, breathing, gentle movement and visualisation.
So, take time out every day where you can sit, relax and think; taking a tea break helps with this. Breathing exercises can really help to get that zen moment too. Here’s an exercise that may help:
Calm your overactive mind with mindful breathing
- Standing, close your eyes, focus on your head and face.
- How does it feel? Tense? Relaxed?
- Exhale through your mouth to empty your lungs and inhale through your nose.
- Hold your breath and slowly rotate your head from left to right a few times.
- When you need air, bring your head back to the centre and exhale.
- Repeat, being fully aware of the sensations in your head and face as you move and breathe.
- This exercise helps to calm an overactive mind, clear tension and oxygenate the brain, leaving you feeling better overall.