It’s normal to feel sad or ‘blue’ from time to time. However, when these feelings of sadness are so intense or stick around for a such a long time that it's hard for you to work, socialise, or take care of things at home, you should find out more about low mood and depression and what you can do about them.
Is my low mood a problem?
The occasional low mood is nothing to worry about. But if you’re feeling miserable, worthless, helpless, or hopeless almost all the time, you might have developed depression. As well as feeling down, people with depression often feel tired, have trouble sleeping, and have problems with concentration, memory, or decision making. They might lose interest in the things they used to like doing (including sex), or have trouble getting motivated to do anything at all. Some people find they lose their appetite, while others eat more (“comfort eating”). For some people, things seem so bad that they start to think about hurting or even killing themselves . If this is the case for you, please seek urgent help.
What can I do if I'm feeling down a lot?
Many men (and some women) find it hard to admit even to themselves, let alone others, that they are feeling depressed. By faking it and pretending that everything’s fine, they can keep functioning quite well (especially at work). Unfortunately this ‘head-in-the-sand’ approach to any mental health condition will not make the problem go away and may make it worse in the long run.
If you don’t need urgent help, there are a few things you can do yourself to help get back on track and enjoying life again. For some people, these strategies might be all that is needed. For others, they can be a useful addition to getting professional help.
- Keep active and social
When you’re feeling down and not enjoying things as much as you used to, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of the house to spend time with family and friends or doing the other activities you used to enjoy. But getting out and doing things is one of the best ways to improve your mood. There’s no easy way around it; the less motivated you are to get involved in hobbies or socialising, the more important it is to push yourself to do it. If you need some help to get back into your normal routine, social life and activities the High Res website and app have useful tools to help you get active and strengthen your social connections.
- Use helpful self-talk
The way we think affects the way we feel, and vice versa. Feeling down often comes with negative thinking about ourselves, our lives, other people, and our future, but it’s important to try and take a more balanced and helpful view of these things. The Thoughts tools on the High Res website and app can help you find more helpful and productive ways of thinking.
- Look after yourself
Try to eat well, get enough rest, exercise regularly, and avoid drinking too much or taking drugs. The Right Mix website and app can help you maintain a healthy balance between alcohol consumption, diet and exercise. The High Res website and app also has advice and tips for getting physically active and improving your sleep.
Self-help isn’t for everyone. If you’ve tried the strategies above and things still aren’t improving, or if you are having trouble coping day-to-day, find out more about depression and its treatment . If you are thinking a lot about death or have thought about how you might kill yourself please seek urgent help.
- “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind."