Mood-Lifting Tips

A sure-fire way to help you fight off the blues.

By Jessica C. Kraft, San Francisco, California

Last summer I found myself having dramatic mood shifts over the course of the week. Some days I felt cheerful, ready to face any challenge; other days I just wanted to hide from the world. Even journal writing, my tried-and-true method for keeping my mind and spirit aligned, wasn't helping.

Was there another way for me to regain my equilibrium? I asked a therapist about that. She suggested that I track my moods for a month to see if I could find any emotional pattern to my ups and downs.

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I drew up a calendar and each day charted my level of happiness. It didn't take me long to spot a clear trend: Tuesdays I felt much worse than any other day, and Saturdays were the best.

What happened on Tuesdays to throw me off? Our morning staff meeting, where I would invariably be assigned an overload of work. The pressure of having to finish it all by Friday would make me frustrated and unhappy. Saturdays I had few obligations. I was free to spend time outdoors, running or doing something else physically active. Or I would just relax with friends. It made sense that I felt blissful no matter how difficult the week had been.

I had to take preventive steps to fight off "Bluesday." I made a point of exercising for an hour before work every Tuesday morning and stepping out for lunch with a friend right after the staff meeting. Soon Tuesdays became more manageable and less stressful.

If you're going through ups and downs, try charting your moods and giving yourself a lift on your Bluesday. How about a spa visit, retail therapy, a movie date or a long walk in the park? And make time for a day of rest and meditation every week—it's sure to reduce stress. Result? Balanced moods and a balanced chart!

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