Written by Helen Foster on March 19, 2019
Reviewed by Dr Nihara Krause on March 27, 2019
We all have off-days, when we can’t motivate ourselves to work or seeing friends feels like too much – and that’s totally fine. But if you’ve been feeling low for a while, there could be something else at play.
One of the symptoms of depression is low mood, but rather than feeling down for a few days, you feel this way for a few weeks or months at a time.Low mood tends to improve once the trigger has been resolved – you reduce your stress levels or get a good night’s sleep, for example.7 But if your low mood continues, and you also experience some of the symptoms below, it could be depression. Some symptoms of depression include:8
If this sounds like what you’re going through, talk to your GP or find online support from a network like Elefriends by Mind to work out the best way to move forward.You should also see your doctor if you have other symptoms like weight gain or breathlessness, as low mood can be linked to some health issues such as an underactive thyroid.9
However, most of the time a bad mood is simply the result of a bad day – and you can manage it on your own.
The magic number seems to be seven to eight portions, but the researchers don’t know exactly how or why getting your greens has this effect.
The B-vitamins are associated with mood, and a 2013 study by the University of Miami discovered that taking a vitamin B-complex could reduce symptoms of low mood and anxiety in 60 people with depression.11
You could also consider upping your vitamin D levels, as some research shows that vitamin D is linked to serotonin production, the ‘happy hormone’ in the brain.12 Talk to your doctor or a dietitian before taking supplements to check for relevant vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
If all that fails to boost your mood, soak in a nice, long bath.According to a 2018 Japanese study that compared the mood-boosting effects of baths and showers, both could cheer you up but those who had a bath reported lower stress levels and were more likely to smile at themselves in the mirror afterwards.18 Shop Vitamins Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
Sources1. NHS Inform. Low mood and depression 2. Selvi Y, et al. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Dissociation and Profiles of Mood, and Its Association with Biochemical Changes 3. Ottley C. Food and mood 4. Mills H, Reiss N, Dombeck M. Mentalhelp.net. Mental And Emotional Impact Of Stress 5. Stephanie Watson. Healthline. How to Deal with Premenstrual Mood Swings 6. Victoria State Government. Monitoring your mood 7. NHS. Low mood and depression 8. NHS. Clinical depression 9. Harvard Mental Health Letter. When depression starts in the neck 10. White BA, Horwath C, Conner TS. Many apples a day keep the blues away – Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults 11. Lewis JE, et al. The effect of methylated vitamin B complex on depressive and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in adults with depression 12. Lambert GW, et al. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain 13. Zadeh RS, et al. The impact of windows and daylight on acute-care nurses' physiological, psychological, and behavioral health 14. Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Sunshine, Serotonin, and Skin: A Partial Explanation for Seasonal Patterns in Psychopathology? 15. Beaute FW, de Kort YAW. Natural resistance: Exposure to nature and self-regulation, mood, and physiology after ego-depletion 16. Katie Bohn. Penn State News. Expecting a stressful day may lower cognitive abilities throughout the day 17. Melinda Wenner. Scientific American. Smile! It Could Make You Happier 18. Goto Y, et al. Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study