Our lives are more stressful than ever these days and as a result, the person who never experiences periods of anxiety or depression is very rare. While some cases of anxiety or depression can be serious and debilitating, for most of us our mood problems interfere with our enjoyment of our lives and our relationships, but they don’t prevent us from going about our daily lives and doing the things we really have to do.
The good news is that there are many ways to improve your mood! Our thoughts have a tremendous affect not only on how we feel emotionally, but also on levels of neurotransmitters in our brains and stress hormones produced in our bodies. This is why positive thoughts tend to generate calm and happy feelings while negative thoughts tend to generate fearful, angry, resentful or sad feelings. Simple exercises like noticing your negative thoughts and putting a more positive spin on them can change your brain chemistry and change the way you feel. Counseling can be very helpful for people with anxiety and depression because they learn new ways of thinking. You might also consider picking up the book “Feeling Good” by David Burns, MD for some great insights and exercises to help change your habitual thought patterns.