- Use your imagination. Jolt your brain out of the cloudy, sleep-like state associated with the blues by visualizing yourself gathering your problems in a bag and emptying it in the ocean, leaving you freer and lighter, suggests Dr. Frank Lawlis, author of The Stress Answer.
- Fill up on fish. In one study, depressed people who ate a healthy diet that included fish 2 to 3 times per week for five years had a significant reduction in feelings of sadness and hostility.
- Choose bright colors. Orange activates excitement about life, while yellow naturally lifts your spirit, says feng shui expert Ellen Whitehurst, author of Make This Your Lucky Day. Wear or decorate with these citrusy colors to keep the blues at bay.
- Get moving. Studies suggest that even short bouts of exercise can help ease anxiety by raising levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters in the brain. And Lawlis believes rhythmic exercises like walking relieve stress and depression by helping you work through problems.
- Distract yourself from negative thoughts. If a bad mood hits you at the office, clear your head by going outside or chatting with a co-worker, suggests Dr. Stephen Ilardi, author of The Depression Cure. Or, if you find yourself dwelling on the negative, take a minute to think of three things for which you are grateful.
Is it depression?
"Depression is a debilitating illness that robs people of their ability to love, work and play—it's more than just a short-lived bad mood," says Dr. Stephen Ilardi. If you've had at least five of these symptoms in the last two weeks, see your doctor.
- Depressed mood
- Loss of pleasure in activities
- Significant appetite/weight loss or gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Trouble concentrating
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide