After 20 years of caring for families at Pueblo Community Health Center, Dr. Rona Knudsen embraces her role as InnovAge PACE’s Center Medical Director, helping vulnerable older adults in the community. <br />
10 Tips to Reset Your Mood
April 15, 2021
Remember to breathe. We can become stressed from a life event, like a death or illness, or an accident, or just everyday life. It can be from pressure that builds up inside over time. So – breathe. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for four, and exhale for four. Do this a few times and let yourself be still for a few moments.
Take a break. Research shows the amazing impacts of cat naps – restoration of mind and body can come from a simple 20 minute break. Find a quiet spot to close your eyes and relax. Set an alarm and empty your mind. Even if you don’t sleep, you should still feel refreshed.
Count your blessings. Don’t wait for emotional darkness to close in on you. Start counting your blessings as you feel your mood start to go south. Close your eyes and think of three things in your life for which you’re grateful. They could be the food in your refrigerator, a friend who calls to check on you, a comfortable bed, or a loving spouse or partner. We all have so many blessings, but it can be easy to skip over them when we’re feeling down. I know someone who counts his blessings, rather than sheep, as he’s trying to go to sleep.
Find a trustworthy listener. Find someone who won’t judge you and who you can be totally honest about what’s bothering you. Do you have someone like this? Speaking your worries out loud can be like taking off a straight jacket. It’s freeing because it brings things out into the open. You can see them instead of fear them. Saying something out loud takes away its power and puts you back in control.
Take a step back. Try to look at the situation as an outsider. How would you feel or respond if it was someone else who had this happen to them, or it was said to them. Would you react the same way if you were a bystander? If not, maybe it’s something to let go. If you would, then it’s probably something you need to act on.
Seek out laughter. Who makes you laugh almost every time you talk with them? Call them. Or find an old comedy show or movie that makes you laugh. Watch a comedian. Read funny comics. Laughter can be a stress reliever, leaving you feeling more calm, centered, and peaceful.
Change your scenery. Sometimes we get surrounded with negativity. It’s important to step away and change your surroundings. You can go from super negative to peaceful and positive in a heartbeat. Have you ever driven to the woods or mountains and marveled at the beauty and stillness? Or at the calming sound of waves crashing on a beach? Traveling can be challenging during the pandemic, but you can still change your scenery. Go stand or sit outside and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Find a swing – maybe on your porch or in a park – and let the rhythm help you let it go. Go for a walk or a drive in your neighborhood and look for signs of changing seasons.
Write it down. It’s important to acknowledge and honor your feelings. Maybe no one is available to listen to you. Get a piece of paper or open a blank document. Write out what you’re feeling and why. It’s incredible how much clarity can be found from journaling.
Meditate, pray, or read scripture. This can help you step away from what you’re dealing with without doing it physically. It can remove you from your stress but also take you outside yourself, if that makes sense. Tapping into power that’s not your own or wisdom beyond yourself – that’s what a lot of us need.
Build up someone else. I strongly believe we are made to serve others. When we do, we get energized. It can change your spirit and bring you to a place that is good and light and uplifting. Serving can be as simple as paying a compliment – maybe it’s something you have thought but never shared with that person. It can also be offering to help someone. When I’m able to help someone else, I feel brand new afterward.
I’m sure there are many more ways to change our mood, including exercise, reading, or other hobbies and interests. What works for you?