It isn’t a secret that pain causes a flux in our emotions. I mean, duh. And we try to find ways to manage our moods lest they manage us. I have Major Depressive Disorder so I have to be careful when I fall into a funk. But lately, with high pain (like migraine plus high body pain) it is more Anger. And I don’t like that it seems to spread out from inside my head to those around me. Rather than say sadness that just stays inside. I don’t want to be angry at others when it is the pain doing it. So I have been trying to find ways to cope with the mood in other ways that do not affect others.
For anger I try:
- My go-to for anger is just put on some headphones, crank some tunes, and do some writing. Which basically is… ignore the world so I don’t say anything stupid.
- Meditation. Even just breathing exercises
- Some sort of creativity self-care project to focus on. Colouring, painting or something like that to zen out on and calm down
- Alone time and take a hot bath.
But there are a lot of mood-boosting things that will surprise you that are based on science when you are in a funk.
- Smile: so I have mentioned this before. It actually tricks your brain when you are in a funk to smile… sends signals to the brain ‘hey, maybe we should be in a good mood. huh’. It is weird. But it can help. I don’t mean fake it because you have to. I mean at home when you feel sad and down just try actually smiling. Weird, eh? “It appears that our emotions aren’t restricted to our brain, as acting happy will make our brain feel happy too.” AsiaOne
- Just relax: we hold tension all the time. So just breath in and breath out and relax your shoulders, unclench our jaw, relax your forehead. Maybe stretch your arms back and rotate them. You will feel just a bit more chill.
- Music: as we all know music can boost the mood. But I’d say be careful on the actual playlist. Because when I’m in a funk I can listen to ‘damn this is the saddest playlist in existence’ and that doesn’t make me feel better.
- Light- sometimes we are homebound and inside all day. And aside from those of us who have a wicked migraine, light exposure (opening the curtains or sitting outside for a bit) can give us a mood boost. For even more of a boost, a walk will help more, depending on if we can (not a walking day for me, for sure, but I do go for walks on good days)
- Chat with a friend- even if you cannot go out and socialize just having a chat with a friend can give you a good mood boost.
- Get your groove on– so when you’re listening to your tunes… so a funky dance. I always do this, even sitting down. (turns out way harder to with vertigo which sucks)
- Social media break– social media can actually put us in a funk if we are on it too long and let’s face it with chronic illness it can be our main source of interaction. But a break can do us good. Have a reading day instead. Or binge on Netflix. Or watch The Lord of the Rings all in a day. Do a puzzle. Anyway. Just a day. Or a few days.
- Funny animal videos– This is a weird one but, yeah, watching cute cat videos or funny animal videos gives us a case of the warm fuzzies. “Experts suggest that laughter also leaves your muscles relaxed for up to 40 minutes afterwards too, so it really is a great way to perk up your day.”AsiaOne
- Warm bath– This is the go-to self-care for relaxation. And I say go all in. Hot bath. Dim lights. Candle. Epsom salts. Tunes. And ah relaxation. “The researchers from Yale University questioned 51 students about their everyday routines and their emotions, which revealed that those who regularly soaked in a warm bath and had hot drinks felt happier than those who had quick showers and very few hot drinks.” AsiaOne
- Nostalgia- looking through old photos apparently helps with mood ” flicking through a photograph album made the volunteers’ moods rise by an impressive 11 percent.” AsiaOne
- Scents- Essential oils can help with mood. But I know from reading on the subject some of them are not safe around my cat so I am careful about that one. “Researchers in Austria tested volunteers’ moods before and after they inhaled calming scents such as lavender and oranges and noticed a significant rise in their moods after inhaling the oils.” AsiaOne
It is tricky business though because pain, fatigue and illness don’t just quit. And so sometimes the mood sort of sticks to us. And when I am in high pain the mood, well, it sticks to me. And that is when I really do just need some good quality alone time. And some of the things listed about. Like a bath. And some tunes. And also my hobbies. Just some series in-depth me time.
Other time the pain is Way the Hell Up There and the mood is tanked. I just have to acknowledge that emotion exists and let it flow through me not dwelling on it. Because I just need to deal with and get through the pain.
And it is true sometimes we can manage our moods and sometimes they manage us. Emotions are meant to be felt sometimes. And worked through. Sometimes I just have to work through them or write them down. Or get them out. Just the way it is.