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Five Ways to Boost Your Mood and Help Depression as a Man

01/12/2015 10:33 GMT | Updated 27/11/2016 10:12 GMT

A lot of men suffer with depression.

Low mood, anxiety, stress, low self worth and letting ourselves go physically are all symptoms.

One in four men will suffer with depression, but how do you handle it?

With the recent news that £600 million worth of funding will be spent on Mental Health within the UK health system yesterday I wanted to highlight 12 simple and effective ways to boost your mood and relieve depression.

Everyone has bad days...

Bad months, years, even decades.

But how do you pick yourself up?

In America alone, more than six million men have depression each year. A shocking figure, but that's also only the ones who've admitted it and sought help.

Men are also more likely to have an alcohol or drug problem compared to our female counterparts.

80% of those 'dependent' on alcohol are men, showing that this is just one of damaging ways men typically deal with low mood and depression.

Depression isn't nice.

The faster you fall the harder it is to get out of depression, so it's important to do something today.

'It's like falling down a black hole with no escape' is a good way to put it...

It's time to stop yourself from falling, and make positive steps towards a brighter future.

1. Exercise

You don't have to run a marathon, just get moving. Raise your heart rate and you'll start to see a change in your mood.

Why?

When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins, otherwise known as 'good feeling' hormones. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. They trigger a positive feeling throughout your body and you'll be left feeling energised, positive and create more self worth.

Ever experienced this? You complete a workout and you feel so much better. Exercise is a good treatment for depression but it's underused in my opinion.

The hardest thing is getting yourself to work out, so start small. Stand up now, and jog on the spot with high knees for two minutes. Throw in a few burpees, a few squats, and end with a fast sprint on the spot. It's taken you 5 - 10 minutes and you're going to start to reap the benefits...

Exercising is a habit, start small but be consistent. As time goes on start to increase your workout time along with the intensity.

2. Look At Your Diet

Looking back, I wasn't in a great headspace 18 months ago.

Work was going well, I had good relationships and family but I felt sluggish, struggled with motivation and didn't feel inspired.

I was suffering with minor depression.

Another case was six years ago, after I lost my dad to suicide I fell into a deep depression.

Looking back, on both occasions my diet was terrible.

High sugar intakes through sodas and chocolate, fast food, ready meals... anything I could get my hands on.

What goes in comes out, and what we eat plays a huge part in our overall mood.

Natural food is full of nutrients and vitamins which help your mental and physical health. An intake of Vitamin D can also help boost your mood, and you can typically find this in Fish (especially Salmon and Tuna) alongside Egg Yolks and more.

My advice?

Look at the ingredients of what you're eating. If you don't understand an ingredient... neither will your body.

Eat real, natural food and stay away from anything processed.

Reduce your sugar intake as well, and stick with natural sugars such as Fruit.

It isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change. Eat well 80% - 90% of the time and you'll see huge benefits. Treat yourself every once and a while to reduce cravings and to stop the typical restriction of a so called diet.

Drinking more water will also have an effect on your mood.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

We don't reward ourselves enough...

When you're suffering with depression it's easy to pinpoint the negative things about you but often hard to realise the positives.

You're awesome!

You have a unique story, a set of skills, passions and a purpose that no other person can compete with.

You're completely unique and you have the opportunity to offer a lot to the people around you.

But low self worth is holding you back, so it's time to increase that by celebrating you... and celebrating what you've done well.

Think about your three proudest moments in your life...

Was it your degree? The job role you were given? The sports win? Becoming a father?

Write them down and celebrate them.

Strike a power pose and congratulate yourself for those moments.

What do people naturally do when they win a race?

Don't believe me? Search Google Images for 'winning race'.

It's a natural response to celebrate in this pose, and it's time for you to use it more daily.

Strike this power pose and celebrate your proudest moments.

Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University studies body language and recently did a TED Talk explaining the benefits of the 'Power Pose'.

Adjusting your body language and focusing on high power poses increases testosterone and reduces cortisol within just two minutes of doing them.

Her studies found that they increased testosterone levels by 20% leading to a boost in confidence and also decreased cortisol levels by 25%, reducing anxiety.

Don't stop at just highlighting your proudest moments...

Every day write down what went well for the day. Highlight at least 3 things. They could be minor, but what did you do well and what made you feel good?

Self reflection is a big healer.

But it's time to self reflect on positives rather than your negatives.

4. Know You're In Control

There's only one person that can solve the situation you're in right now...

You.

Now that might seem daunting at first but think about it...

There's no one or no thing that can have an impact on how you recover from this. You're in complete control.

You control your thoughts and your actions, so it's down to you to take responsibility and make positive choices.

Don't let your thoughts control you, be consciously aware of them and be in charge.

People can guide you, help you and advise you but you're in complete control of the outcome.

Take responsibility and make change.

5. Do A Good Deed

We all want to help others, and helping others boosts our mood.

Whatever situation or mind state you're in right now, do something for someone else.

Buy someone a coffee, feed a homeless person, do someone a favour or help carry someones shopping... these small deeds for other people will increase your self worth and improve your mood.

Help someone and someone will help you.

Start Today

So there we have it, five ways to boost your mood and relieve depression.

Start now, choose a few and take action on them.

(ACT) - Action changes things.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and don't forget to share this article if it helped.

You can read more of my articles, find out more about me and watch my weekly videos by clicking here.