8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood

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How you handle situations impacts your attitude, your happiness and your quality of life. Here are some tips for looking at the "glass half-full."

1. Attitude
Caregiving is stressful, time-consuming and depressing. But you have a choice every day as to how you will approach the day. Life throws us many curve balls, but the one thing you can control is your attitude. A famous quote by Charles Swindol sums it up: "We have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our circumstances. We cannot change that people will act in a certain way. The only string we have to play is our attitude. We are in charge of our attitude."

2. Be happy for no reason
Play and be happy even if you don't feel like it. You can be happy wherever you are. Do something silly: Put on some music and dance in circles until you're dizzy. Make faces to your kids or in the mirror. In other words, do something that makes you smile. The purpose of our lives is to be happy. However, you are only as happy as you make up your mind to be. You control your happiness; no one else does.

3. Focus on the love you have to give
People seek and enter relationships wanting to be loved. And being loved is one of the best experiences in life. But do you love yourself? This is crucial, because you can't expect others to love and respect you if you don't love and respect yourself. Loving another person, and all the giving and caring that go along with loving, can be more fulfilling than being loved. Focusing on the love that you have to give will change every relationship in your life.

4. Breathe
Breathing is a no-brainer, right? We don't even have to think about it because it is a natural function that gives us life. Most of the time, because we aren't aware of the breaths we take, we breathe very shallowly. Consciously focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths can relieve stress and increase relaxation immediately. It's very easy to do. Here's how: Sit back. Place one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the lower ribs. Practice filling up those areas with air. In other words, take a breath that starts in your abdomen and works its way up your body. Control your breathing by breathing in for 3 to 5 seconds, hold for the same amount of time and exhale then exhale the air out through your mouth slowly. Do this for 3 minutes and you will feel the stress melt away.

5. Have a shoulder to cry on
Who do you turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, or a friend to listen? Whether it's someone to remind you that you're doing a good job, or a little advice on an impossible situation, we all need someone to rely on during tough times. That network of support doesn't have to be large. Those of us who have just a couple of people we can always count on, should consider ourselves lucky.

6. Face fear head on
It is the unfamiliarity of uncharted waters which causes us the most distress. If we choose to constantly fight change, we will struggle our entire lives. We need to find a way to embrace these changes or at the least accept them. Hope is something we create. It's not something that magically appears from an outside source. We each have within us the capacity to generate hope. It's critical that we be absolutely intentional about nurturing hope in our lives.

7. Celebrate yourself
Honor yourself every day. Build self-esteem and self-confidence and enhance feelings of self-love. With better self-esteem and self-love, you can find inner peace and will have more confidence to face the curve balls that life has thrown your way. Believing in yourself and recognizing your strengths and limitations will go a long way in your ability to set goals and boundaries for yourself and for your loved ones. Each day presents a new struggle we must grapple with. If we try to redefine our personal definition of peace, and look for ways to incorporate it into our everyday lives, we might find a way to weather the storms.

8. Find peace among the chaos
Find your own personal space. Every one needs some alone time. Make time to be alone with your thoughts and refresh your spirit. If you can't take the time to leave the house, find your own space within the home. Use the office, the den, the back porch…even the basement and turn it into your own personal retreat. Use your time - even if its only 15 a minutes a day - to relax, practice your deep breathing, meditate - whatever works for you.

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27 Comments

i have been reading these articles for quite some time and there is some kind of peace knowing others are out there going thru the same thing as me... but after reading this topic, i feel the urge to write a comment... brief summary on my situation: my husband and i have been taking care of my mother for 12 years. over the years she has gone down hill and she has been living with us for 2 years (prior that : 1 year in assisted living, prior that: with us for 5 years)

she is from the "old school" of catholic guilt.... she is narrow minded, selfish, cheap, mean-spirited, lazy, etc. you get the idea... i have 2 siblings that only pass judgement and are "too busy" to help. but they have all kinds of excuses as to why they cant be there. but when it comes time to redem themselves in front of relatives, friends, doctors, etc. "it is all my fault as to why i wouldnt let them help."

this subject is one that i do not agree with and here is why: we dont have control of the situations. we can look for HOPE but that is shot down when the parent wants "what they want, when they want, how they want, " it is out of our control. we do what we can, then take cover because the guilt, judgement, verbal slings, are coming. we are a group of people who "cant do anything right, we are selfish, mean, feel sorry for ourselves, we steal, we are verbally abuses, we are violent," but when we ask for help, every one is "busy."
the only thing i have found that i have control over is "food." im not anorexic but i understand why young girls are. there whole world is controled by others and they no one listens. so they control the one thing they can.

i have: breathed, exerised, laughed, cried, gone on vacation, gone out with what few friends we have, and we always come back to this miserable , sad, depressed, mean, old woman who is jealous, envious, angry about her life and takes it out on us.

please dont waste your responses on what i can do: ive done it all. I am waiting for the Veterans to finishing processing her paperwork so they will help finanially with the nursing home we picked out. once the processing is done, she is gone. i have a clear conscience, and soul. ive done everything i could and she drags us down the horrible , sad, miserable path. im getting off. i want to enjoy what ever life i have left with my husband. she will live to be a ripe old age , dragging down anyone in her path.

keep up the good work. your site has helped me so much.... but now its time for me to get off this roller coaster.....
Hello again,
I was talking out of exhaustion when I wrote my last post. I since then have rested up and see things a tad different today. We didn't cause it, we certainly can't cure it, we can't control it but we certainly can learn to cope with it....
When we have problems coping with our parents it happens usually when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired...HALT. So we need to (halt-stop) what we are doing at that time and figure out which of these are causing us to not be able to be loving to our parent. Whatever the case may be. I have to catch myself ALWAYS or I will slip back into that dreaded feeling like I had in the last post. SORRY...but it happens. Hope this helps some.
I agree with the 8 ways to improve your moods. I find that the best way for me is to go to the one whom created me. I know he loves me and gave me this beautiful gift of compassion and through Him all things are possible. I ask for wisdom through out my days and very much enjoy my gift. After all this
is all for Him and His glory.