PHOTOGRAPH BY JACOB LUND/THE NOUN PROJECT
Many techniques for relieving stress may also aid in alleviating a melancholy mood. But there’s a difference between the two feelings in that stress tends to have identifiable catalysts, whereas the blues may spring from overall dissatisfaction or from nothing more than a cloudy sky.
“The best way to lift your spirits is to draw from those experiences that bring joy,” says Dr. Juan Gonzalez of Desert Wellness Psychiatry in Rancho Mirage, adding that it could be as simple as sharing a nice meal with a friend. “The key is to take action before the blues start to take root. Stay active and engaged, and get familiar with the brain-gut microbiome connection.”
Dr. Jay Pasricha, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, wrote this in 2020: “For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to [gastrointestinal] problems. But our studies and others show that it may also be the other way around.”
“In some cases, a low mood can spiral into a clinical depression,” Gonzalez warns. “You may want to seek professional help if symptoms start to significantly affect your relationships, work, or school performance.”
“When you’re in a funk, get around people that bring joy into your life,” urges fitness coach Jay Nixon of Thrive Fitness Studio in Palm Desert. “Change the norm. If you usually work out at the gym, go for a hike instead. If you are feeling helpless, get helpful. Do something for someone else. Anytime you are helpful, you can’t feel helpless.”
Fitness coach Michael Butler of Kinetix Health & Performance Center in Palm Desert echoes Nixon about the beneficial role the right people play in how you feel: “Surround yourself with positive people.”