Feeling Blue? 13 Mindful Actions To Lighten Your Mood

Chances are you have days when you feel down in the dumps. 

You might feel sad, tearful, or sensitive.

Maybe you feel discouraged, groggy, or sluggish.

Perhaps you find yourself wanting to spend time alone. 

You might know what’s causing it, or you might be clueless about what brought on these feelings.

Either way, you just don’t feel like yourself. 

Luckily, there are things you can do to combat those days that have you saying, “I feel blue.”

What Is Feeling Blue?

It might not feel good, but having the blues is normal.

Everyone feels down from time to time, even if they don’t know why.

While many people use feeling blue and depression interchangeably, it’s important to know the difference.

The feeling blue meaning is characterized by sadness or gloominess. These feelings typically last a few hours to a few days and are easier to shake off. You might lack your typical levels of energy or motivation, but you’re likely able to go about your daily activities while feeling blue.

Depression, however, lasts much longer –usually months or even years– and includes symptoms other than sadness.

You might experience significant changes in weight, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in daily activities, insomnia, and feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or guilt.

If you believe you are experiencing depression, consider contacting your doctor or a mental health professional to get the appropriate treatment. 

Why Do I Feel So Blue?

The cause for feeling down may not be apparent, and identifying the trigger may take some time, but feeling the blues generally happens for a reason. Some common ones include:

A missed opportunity

Whether it’s a dream vacation that got canceled, nixed plans with friends or family, being overlooked for a promotion at work or missing an entirely different opportunity, feeling like you’ve missed out on something can leave you feeling down. 

Discontent with your life

Sometimes life gets off track and can leave you feeling out of sorts. You might feel like you’re in a rut or that something isn’t right.

man in seashore feeling blue

Perhaps you regret decisions you made or are simply bored or unhappy with the way things currently are. 

Hormonal imbalance

While men’s and women’s bodies are quite different, both genders experience hormonal cycles that can affect moods.

Fluctuations in hormones come with age and may also occur due to underlying conditions such as an overactive or underactive thyroid, pregnancy, and menopause.

Vitamin or nutrient deficiency

Vitamins and nutrients play an essential role in the chemistry of your brain, and a deficiency can leave you feeling blue.

Poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and some medical conditions (for example, Chron’s disease) can all affect your moods. 

Life events

Sometimes life dumps on you, and you can do little to stop it. Sad feelings from a recent loss, breakup, betrayal, change, or another unfortunate event can build up and leave you feeling melancholy. 

World events

Pandemics, wars, economic disturbances, national or international tragedies, and a host of other uncontrollable life happenings can all play a significant role in how you feel in your day-to-day life, even if these events don’t directly affect you. 

Your environment

Your atmosphere and the moods of those around you can significantly impact your own moods.

Spending a lot of time in the dark or in sad or negative environments can bring you down and cause you to feel blue.

Feeling Blue: 13 Mindful Actions to Lighten Your Mood 

While pretending everything is okay when it’s not isn’t a healthy way to cope, you can do several things to lighten your mood when you feel blue.

These tips may seem simple but can profoundly affect how you feel.

Try one or all of them to feel better in no time.

1. Spend time with loved ones.

Call or visit a friend or family member that you know you can count on. Since moods are contagious, try to choose someone with a positive perspective on life. Otherwise, you risk feeling worse than you already do. 

Spend your time with them, reminiscing about good times and looking at pictures that make you smile.

Or do something that will make you laugh, such as watching your favorite stand-up comedian or a gut-busting comedy. Play a silly game, people-watch in the park, have lunch, or go shopping.

Allow yourself to feed off of their positive energy to boost your mood.

2. Do something you enjoy.

Think about the things you like to do and do them. 

Do you love going out to lunch by yourself? Do it. Is there a movie you’ve been dying to see? Watch it. 

Read a self-help book or trashy romance novel. Create a playlist of uplifting podcast episodes. Play with your pet or visit a local animal shelter if you don’t have a pet of your own. Plant a garden. Watch adorable kitten videos on YouTube.

It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it brings you joy without increasing your gloom.

3. Spend time in nature.

Sunlight has mood-boosting effects, as does being outside in general. Go outside and bask in mother nature’s glory to produce serotonin, which helps relieve stress and sadness. 

Spend time among the trees, flowers, water, and other natural elements. Notice all the colors surrounding you. Listen to the chirping birds. Watch the squirrels play and chase each other. Smell the flowers and grass. 

Appreciate the beauty of nature to ease your mind and calm your racing thoughts.

4. Change your routine.

Sometimes the mundaneness of life gets to be too much. 

man being sad feeling blue

Take a trip if you’re able to, even somewhere close by. If that’s not in the cards, try something simple like changing your hairstyle, eating dinner at a new restaurant, taking a different route to work, switching up your gym routine, or visiting a local museum.

It doesn’t have to be anything significant. Even a small shift in your daily activities can improve your outlook.

5. Take a bubble bath.

A relaxing bath doesn’t only cleanse your body. It can also make a world of difference in your mood.

Light scented candles and use aromatherapy soaps or essential oils. Fill the tub with a luxurious bubble bath. Lean back and listen to music or read a book.

Not a bath person? No time for all the frills? No worries. Make it work for you. A refreshing shower can have the same positive effects. What matters is that you feel cleansed and refreshed.  

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6. Practice meditation.

Have you ever heard the expression that your thoughts create your reality? It’s true. You can’t avoid all negative thoughts and feelings, but shifting your perspective and your way of thinking can make a world of difference.

Meditation has a grounding effect and can cause a positive shift in your outlook on life. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on your experiences and how you feel. 

Your feelings are not facts. Alter your thoughts to change your feelings to boost your mood.

7. Do a good deed.

It may sound counterintuitive, but perhaps one of the easiest ways to beat the blues is to do something for someone else. And it doesn’t cost a cent to just be nice.

Help a friend or family member or volunteer at your local animal or homeless shelter. Positively participate in your community in some way. Find a way to make a difference.

You can also perform a random act of kindness– pay someone’s parking ticket or pick up the tab for the person behind you in the drive-thru if it’s financially feasible. 

It feels good to make others feel good.

8. Practice gratitude.

While this can be difficult if you’re going through an especially rough time, there really is always something to be grateful for.

Instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong in your life and the world, notice what’s going well. 

Make a list of everything you are grateful for and all the positive things you can think of. Doing so changes your perspective on life. 

woman worrying something feeling blue

Make it a regular practice and watch your list grow for maximum benefits. 

9. Move your body.

Moving your body might be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling blah. But the truth is that exercise produces amazing benefits for your mind, your body, and your mood.

If you can’t muster the motivation to complete your normal routine (or any routine), find a way to enjoy some form of physical activity.

Go for a hike or a bike ride. Dance around your house. Even a short walk around the block or a simple sequence of yoga poses can help. 

10. Evaluate your diet.

Unhealthy choices in your diet can negatively affect your moods, and feeling down can lead you to make unhealthy choices. It’s a vicious loop.

Nobody wants to eat only fruits and veggies every day. But there’s a fine line between consuming only healthy foods and eating and drinking nothing but pure junk.

Find a balance that allows you to enjoy life without sacrificing your health in the process.

Avoid excessive alcohol and too many high-calorie, fatty foods. 

You might also consider adding a multi-vitamin, although it may be best to consult your doctor to determine what’s best for you.

11. Get plenty of rest.

Feeling down can have a major impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep, just as a lack of quality sleep can negatively affect your mood and choices. Another vicious cycle.

Do whatever you have to do to get the amount of rest your body needs. Read a relaxing book, drink a cup of sleepy-time tea, or meditate before bed.

And if you find yourself feeling especially groggy, a midday nap may be just what you need to lift your spirits. 

12. Change your environment.

Your surroundings play a significant role in how you feel, whether it’s the people you surround yourself with or the atmosphere you’re in. 

If possible, a change of scenery can help you feel better. Rearrange your furniture, add plants or other pleasing decor to your home or workspace, treat yourself to new bedding, or work in a different space than you normally do.

You might also consider who you spend your time with since moods and attitudes are contagious. Negative people can bring you down, and positive people can uplift you.

Surround yourself with positive people and things to feel your best.

13. Do something creative.

When you’re feeling down, do something creative to lift yourself up.

woman looking out to window feeling blue

Bring out your crafty side by drawing, painting, or sculpting with clay. Or repurpose an old piece of furniture.

Listen to music and dance and sing along like nobody’s watching. 

You might also journal about your feelings or what has you feeling blue, write a short story or poem, or create a vision board of things that make you happy.

The possibilities are endless. 

Whatever your reason for feeling blue, know that occasional feelings of sadness are completely normal and to be expected in life. 

There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling down. And while such feelings aren’t fun and can be challenging to overcome, it’s absolutely possible to beat your blue mood with a little effort. 

Try these tips and show yourself love, compassion, and patience to resume your happy, positive existence before you know it!

There are times where we feel sad all of a sudden. When you are feeling blue, here are some mindful actions you can do to lift up your mood.

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