What tools are there to re-frame low mood?
I have been thinking a lot recently about low mood. There are so many factors in life that contribute to mood, but when we feel ourselves dip, it can result in despair. For many, factors outside of our control can result in our feeling powerless and stuck, and when this happens our mood is sure to respond negatively. But if nothing else, these 2 tools to re-frame low mood are really helpful.
Mood is like the season – it will change
When we feel in the depths of low mood, it can seem as though it will never end. But it usually does. We may experience a period of time feeling as though our life situation is too difficult, but like the seasons our moods change. It can be really hard to remind ourselves that the feeling of despair will pass, but try to do that.
Write down “this feeling will pass” as a visual reminder, because this offers us a bit of hope when we most need it. I am not saying it won’t ever come back again, because it will – just like winter, but remembering that there are days of spring and summer to be experienced too can help us deal with the bleakest of days.
Connect with your feelings on these days, talk to someone or journal to take the feelings and thoughts outside of you. Then allow what remains to exist. Avoiding it by distraction won’t be useful, low mood is a completely normal part of the human condition. Give it space, don’t resist.
Don’t expand the experience
Our narrative and language is powerful. Imagine you’re having a good week, but then on Thursday or Friday something upsetting or unwanted happens. We are unprepared and we respond negatively. We feel upset or angry and our narrative changes, but it changes to “I’m having a bad week”. Soon the “bad week” expands to “having a bad time at the moment” or this can expand even further to our narrative about life more generally.
We already know that life will always bring its challenges and we have to overcome those when they happen, but in order to keep perspective it’s important to remember the good days that happened before the bad / sad news. Nobody is immune from difficulty and pain, but how we frame it can make all the difference to our mood.
Choosing to see “a difficult moment” as just that, a period of time that requires us to step up to deal with and overcome it will help to keep that perspective, but we have to keep trying to see the good days, the joyful experiences, and the things that bring a little more “lightness” to our day. They are there, we just have to look a little harder sometimes and we must consciously acknowledge them. Say out loud “this is a good day” or “this is a beautiful moment”. Read more here about the power of gratitude.
To do both of these things we must try and stay in the moment, to experience each moment as it is, not as we narrate it. This is the difference between an empowered narrative and a victim narrative. Try journaling as a way to give space to your feelings.
Remember these 2 tools to re-frame low mood.