If you are like most people, you occasionally experience periods of sadness or low energy that many refer to as "the blues." Any of us can feel down from time to time, even if it is not diagnosed as depression. If you feel yourself slipping into a dark period, it is also possible to pull yourself out of it before it gets worse. Below are some easy ways to feel happier and more energetic that may work for you.
The Connection between Energy and Happiness
Physical energy and happiness are closely related. In fact, both low energy and sadness are symptoms of depression. Each of these conditions, energy and mood, is also affected by our habits, lifestyle and other factors like sleep, age, stress and health.
If your energy is low for several days, weeks or months, this fatigue often affects your mood. In the same way, if you feel sad for many days on end such as when experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one, physical energy often drops, too. Maintaining good energy and happiness are a balancing act.
It is easy to say to yourself, "Feel happier" or, "Be more energetic." But if you have lost your spark, it is harder to actually make these thoughts come true. That is, unless you know some helpful hints like those listed below.
1. Eat Healthy Meals and Snacks
We have all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." But did you know that besides making you more energetic, healthy food can also make you feel happier? Stick to a diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy products to boost your energy and mood. Also ensure you avoid sugary snacks, junk foods, preserved foods, fatty foods and those munchies with no real nutritional value. These low-quality choices will only weigh you down, zap your energy and trigger the blues.
2. Sleep Well Each Night
When your energy is low, taking a nap is an attractive idea. But you should break this habit of napping during the day and replace it with seven to eight hours of peaceful sleep at night. At least an hour before bed in the evenings, put your electronic devices away and turn off the television. Try reading a book or meditating at night before bed to prepare you for a good night's slumber. Avoid checking your phone throughout your sleep time, too. By being disciplined about your sleep patterns, you will soon prove more energetic and feel happier, too.
3. Surround Yourself with Good Company
People in your life are probably a mix of good influences and negative ones. Sometimes it is easy to dismiss negativity in others by saying they just like drama or, "That's just how they are." But did you know that how others treat you and behave around you can actually affect your happiness and energy? If you are feeling sad or have lost motivation in your daily life, surround yourself with positive people who care about you. Around upbeat influences, you will soon feel happier and more energetic, too.
4. Step Away from the News Cycle
There is an old adage in the business of media. That is, "If it bleeds, it leads." But taking in negative news all day, those stories that "bleed," can actually spark depression. Hearing about others' struggles, crimes and even stormy weather can bring you down. Make a concerted effort to stop checking the news and only watch media of an upbeat nature. You will soon notice that you feel happier and even more energetic without all of that gloom and doom.
5. Make the Endorphins Flow
When you feel sad or low on energy, it is hard to fathom going for a walk. But exercising does more than just get your blood flowing. It also boosts the production of feel-good hormones in your body, endorphins. Endorphins have a natural pain-reducing effect and induce feelings of well-being. But you cannot increase your endorphins by just sitting still or lying in bed. Get up, get moving and make those endorphins flow to feel happier and more energetic, as a result!
6. Give Back or Volunteer
Doing things for others boosts our own self-esteem. To feel happier and more energetic, consider what you can do to bring happiness to someone else. Volunteer in your community, bake cookies for a neighbor or simply say "hello" to people as you pass them on the street. Your payoff is much greater, in return. Soon, you will find yourself thriving through what you do for others!
7. Think Positively
Negative thinking can drag you down physically and mentally. Make a habit of thinking more positively throughout your daily life. Some experts recommend quiet thoughts of goodwill, such as by making eye contact with strangers and wishing them well in your mind. Also, avoid judging others or criticizing them. Accept people for who they are, quirks and all. Exercise only positive thoughts about yourself, too. Soon, you will notice this changed mindset helps you feel happier and more energetic.
If you still struggle to feel happier and more energetic, do not let yourself sink into depression. There is no need to deal with these negative feelings on your own. Instead, you can simply make an appointment with a licensed therapist who will help you break through your low mood and learn coping skills for a happier life. In Raleigh, NC, Greene Psychology Group provides talk therapy for depression. Schedule your online visit or in-person session today by calling 919-205-5339.