Tuesday Tales: Want to know how to raise your mood? – Donna Thistlethwaite

Recently I drove to Toowoomba for a podcast interview for the Unleash the Beast podcast, an amazing initiative by Lifeline Darling Downs. I was thrilled to have lunch afterwards with the interviewer and the event organiser. It was an absolutely wonderful day but it turns out quite tiring. When I returned home I noticed I was a bit snappy with my family and really wasn’t enjoying that game of catch with my son.

Unfortunately, when I got up the next morning at 5am I felt worn out. Not a great start when facing a 6.45am Chamber of Commerce meeting. My usual morning routine of journaling, texting my gratitudes, recording my mood and drinking a coffee didn’t move the dial on my energy level. Note to self, “Plan an easier day after a long drive.”

Thankfully for me, I have developed a toolkit of strategies to lift my mood, partly thanks to a fabulous app I use called Moodmeter. As I drove to the Chamber meeting that morning I cranked up the music, and I really do mean cranked it up. And I sang, witnesses may have seen screamed, to the words of Katie Perry’s Roar which features in my Good Vibe playlist.

By the time I got to the meeting 10 minutes later the needle on that dial had shifted dramatically. I was energised and filled with joy. At least two people in the meeting said out loud “I want what Donna is on”. It makes me laugh when I hear that because it was a common comment when I was younger. The fact is, that for most of my life, I’ve been high on life.

The exciting thing is that feeling great is available to most of us. We have a lot of influence over our state, or mood if we choose to use it.

Some of the many practices I use to change my state are going outside, taking a walk, calling a friend, listening to music, dancing, exercising, going to the beach, helping someone, smiling, playing a game, riding my bike, and getting into nature. Some of these will appeal more to you than others but I’d guess there’s a few that could boost your mood if you gave them a crack.

If you’d like to understand more about your energy levels or moods, the two seem to be extrinsically linked to me, I can highly recommend the Moodmeter app. Most days for the past seven months I have been taking note of how I’m feeling and determining whether I want to remain in that state or would prefer to shift to a higher energy or degree of pleasantness. If I want to shift, the Moodmeter will give me a suggestion for how to do so. Some of the advice it has given me includes:

  • Put a big smile on your face and hold it for a minute
  • Put on some music you love and dance
  • Take a walk in the park
  • Put a gentle smile on your face
  • Think of your favourite joke
  • Have some fun

What I love about Moodmeter is that it encourages me to take a moment each day to reflect on my mood; my emotional awareness and vocabulary have been growing; I can see patterns over time in my moods and the great tips to help me shift if I want to.

Moodmeter records how often you enter your mood and lets you know when you’re on a streak, ie. you’ve engaged on consecutive days. My longest streak is 29 yet I’ve checked-in 211 times over the past seven months. I love the streak feature but I do need to warn you that it can be a little demoralising when you miss a day and the streak comes to an end. I recently decided that I can still aspire to beat my streak, however, I want to recognise that I’m pretty much in a habit with Moodmeter and it’s ok not to be perfect.

I encourage you to give the app a go if you don’t use it already. I’d also recommend founder Marc Brackett’s amazing book “Permission to Feel” for some extra depth in emotional awareness and agility.

Would love to hear what you think.

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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