Low mood refers to an emotional state which is often characterised by feelings such as sadness, anxiety, low self-esteem, and loss of energy. If it is left it can become a more serious depressive problem.
Equally, recognising that you are in a low mood might be an indicator that something in your life requires attention.
Lockdown and social isolation can trigger periods of low mood. Low mood can be triggered by events such as bereavement, separation, redundancy. Things like this tend to lower our mood. Sometimes it is harder to know what triggers low mood.
If you are struggling with low mood it might be a good idea to talk about it. Talking and connecting with other people tends to lift our mood.
Symptoms of low mood include
- negative feelings
- feeling tired or apathetic
- self-critical thinking
- lacking confidence
- relationship problems
- poor work performance
- poor physical health
- reduced sex drive
- loss of confidence
- feeling anxious
I have had periods of low mood throughout my life. Growing up was hard, my parents separated, and my brother and I moved between them. We got to see them, but it was hard, it was hard on all of us. All of the fun went out of life. I didn’t want my own family to be like that, and that’s what ended up happening.
When I grew up and married, when we had my daughter and then my son, we were happy. But things went wrong. It was harder being parents, somehow things were different. We separated in the end and now my children move between my house and their dad’s. It’s not what I wanted. It’s amicable but I feel low sometimes. I recognise the feelings from my childhood. I never wanted to repeat it, and I have ended up doing so.
I have spoken with my friends about it, but sometimes I’d like to be able to speak without worrying about my life becoming part of the gossip. That makes me feel low too. I thought I would reach out and speak with someone.anonymous client
We all feel low at some stage, but if the feeling lasts for long periods then you might think about getting some support.
Low mood or depression?
Low mood is an ordinary human experience, we all have it at some point. New events and changes in our lives and routines can bring on feelings of low mood.
The coronavirus lockdown is disorienting and may have created a whole new set of reasons for feeling low mood. Similarly, for many of us, it may be hard to know how we will come out of lockdown. It is common that not knowing how to do things can create a low mood.
Sometimes we experience low mood without any sense of what it relates to. For some of it’s different, and like the client story above, we recognise that our feelings of low mood are old. Maybe as old as we are.
You may be used to dismissing your feelings of low mood and treating them as meaningless. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep doing so.
- What do your feelings of low mood relate to?
- Do you feel like this more at sometimes than others?
- How long have you felt like this?
Just because you have never thought to get help about these things, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak to someone about them now. It may never be too late to start look at the causes of your low mood.
Low moods can be cyclical
Everything can be ok for months, but then something happens that triggers the return of the low mood.
People who sufferer from low mood can become more introverted, start to obsess on things, lose confidence, and become caught up in negative thinking. From this point it can become harder to communicate with partners, friends and children.
Over time the sufferer becomes isolated, withdrawn and stressed.
Maybe it’s time to stop going round the same cycle, to find a way to stop going through the same low moods?
Prescription medicine or talking therapy for low mood?
Current medical thinking tends to turn to science for the answers to low mood and to see things in terms of problems with our brain chemistry. Sufferers of low mood are reported to have a low level of neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin-boosting drugs are frequently prescribed.
There is evidence that supports this approach, but some of us prefer not to take prescription medicines.
There is also the sense that seeing low mood as a chemical or hormonal issue confuses the point that there is a difference between brain and mind.
The brain is an organ. Mind, or psyche, or soul, isn’t an organ, it is the metaphysical part of us. It is the part of us that responds to relationships, if you are more of a mind person, then you may prefer to talk to someone about your low mood than take drugs.
Often it is a combination of medical drugs and talking therapy that helps.
Psychotherapy and counselling for low mood
My psychotherapy practice is built around talking. A regular therapy session increases the chance to share more about how we feel. About what it is like for us to feel low.
Often it is just the act of taking the time to speak confidentially about how you are, that can be the start of things changing. People who talk about how they feel often describe their mood lifting.
Some low moods are significantly improved by psychotherapy and counselling. Speaking, relating, in a confidential and professional relationship may help you:
- break the isolation
- gain insight into yourself
- make more sense of yourself
- learn more about what your low moods relate to
- unburden yourself of the things you never tell anyone
- find a way to stop repeating old patterns
Talking in psychotherapy may help you break the cycle of negativity and depressed feelings that go with low mood, enabling you to:
- improve the quality of your relationships
- feel more energetic
- rediscover your interest in things
- be better able to deliver quality work,
- be better able to deliver your potential,
- have better health generally,
- experience more contentment,
- enjoy a better perspective
Don’t avoid your low mood, speak about it and learn more about what it relates to
Our emotional states, like low mood, tend to relate to our experiences. The emotions we feel tell us important things about ourselves. How do we find a way to take the information seriously? How do we find a way to learn more about our feelings?
Some times we need help, someone to talk to. A psychotherapy conversation has a way of helping us gain perspective on our emotions and feelings which means you break the spiral of introversion and isolation, and when we do that we tend to feel better.
The remarkable thing is that though our moods seem completely overpowering when we are in the grip of them, often the smallest bit of insight can be all it takes to help us move into a completely transformed state of mind.
Moods change, don’t forget that.
Low moods and feelings tend to relate to events we have been through
There are big life experiences such as bereavement, trauma, divorce and redundancy. Then there are smaller things such as a relationship that feels it’s going wrong. Small things wear our moods down too.
What is the history of your low moods?
Usually, there is a history to low mood. Working in psychotherapy and counselling can help you gain perspective and help you understand more about what your moods relate to? This may improve your confidence about how you relate to your emotional states.
Your low mood is a sign that something in your life needs attention
One way of thinking about our low moods is to view them as a sign that there is a particular problem that needs attention. In Jungian therapy a recurrent low mood might be thought of as someone knocking on your door to try to get your attention. Working with an experienced psychotherapist can help you develop the confidence to open the door and find out what all the knocking is about.
Some low moods trap people in with secrets and feelings of shame, sometimes a psychotherapeutic conversation lets enough light in to push the low mood away. When this happens you:
- feel your mood and confidence lift
- will find that being listened to will make you feel able to say more about your low moods
- will feel more energy and enthusiasm for living, for working, and for your relationships
The symptoms of low mood can have a profound impact on your everyday life. You may find yourself trapped in a narrowing spiral of feelings that effect you and the people around you. At Counselling Buckinghamshire we have a depth of experience of working with people who are trying to overcome problems relating to symptoms of low mood.
If you feel that low mood creates problems for you, that it makes life and relationships difficult, then it might be helpful to talk about this.
I have been working with people on issues such as low mood for twenty years. My work is built around helping people to
- develop greater confidence in themselves
- a better understanding of why you feel the way you do, and
- of helping you to develop confidence that you can manage these experiences without feeling out of control.
Contact me to arrange a free 15 minute conversation to discuss how my work might be useful to you.
I have a lot of experience of using telephone and online counselling platforms and I would be pleased to hear from you.
Mobile: 07980 750376