Understanding low moods
Today I want to start this blog with a question... How do external events influence our state and ultimately our behaviours?
This is how the power of influence low mood cycles have on everything we do...
We hold a state and then this state is interrupted. Imagine how you have a routine to exercise three times a week, eat relatively healthy, drink water and at least sleep six good hours per day. But the night before your neighbour had a party. And the noise kept you awake until 4am. The next morning, a Sunday you felt tired and stayed in bed trying to recover some sleep.
On Sundays, you also prep some of the food you eat during the week and while trying to get more sleep you also missed the outdoor market where you get most of your fresh produce to cook for the week. So you end up going to a smaller chain supermarket where you can’t find everything you wanted and, in addition to that, you buy some crisps, ice cream and sugary ginger beer to give you some sugar rush and energy to help you get some energy to clean the house before cooking for the week.
But after you eat all that food you don’t normally eat and after the sugar rush, you feel more tired before finishing cleaning the house. And you decide you can cook tomorrow (Monday) after work. The next day you have to wake up early for work, still tired from the night before and now with a headache because you didn’t drink enough water yesterday.
Monday in the office is generally busier than usual and by the end of the day you don’t have enough energy to go to the gym, but when you get home your food is still waiting to be cooked and you decide to get a takeaway. You accidentally fall asleep on the couch and slept even worse than the night before… and the cycle of tiredness, avoiding what might help you continues until you decide to break it.
Now, clearly, that was a rough week. The problem is sometimes we get stuck in rough weeks that turn into months and years without doing something about it until it’s late. And here's the thing, life will always have its challenges, nobody feels happy or in control all the time.
Sometimes life is a roller coaster or a wavy ocean we are trying to navigate taking us through ups and downs. And these low moments might lead us to low moods. Even if you are aware of these ups and downs, you are still a human being going through the human experience. You are not broken. In fact, this low mood might be a sign that you are needing something.
When I am teaching yoga, I remind my students that if they feel any sharp localised pain, to stop and evaluate… Is this dangerous? Is this a sign that I need a break? Do I need a variation on this asana?
Sharp localised pain and our low moods might have something in common: they are one way our body and mind is trying to communicate with us.
So what can we do about it?
Like I’ve said before, the key is not getting a clear answer but asking ourselves the right question.
So, if you are experiencing low mood (no matter where you are), try asking yourself and answering yourself these questions and maybe using them as journaling prompts:
- What was happening in the lead-up to the moment you are thinking about?
- What was happening just before you noticed the low mood?
- What thoughts were around at the time of the low mood?
- What were you focusing on?
- Where did you feel that feeling in your body?
- What other physical sensations did you notice?
- What urges were present?
- How did you act on those urges?
- How did your actions/inactions influence the emotions?
- How did your actions/inactions influence your thoughts and beliefs about the situation?
Remember, even though breaking cycles of any kind can feel challenging, it is also possible to get to a better place. There’s always hope.
If my words resonate with you and you feel the calling to seek additional help to create resourceful habits, cultivate a healthier relationship with yourself and gain more balance in both your personal and professional life, send me a message or book a free exploration call. I am happy to help.