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The Differences Between Low Mood and Depression

Life is full of ups and downs and many of us will experience significant distress throughout our lives. Challenging experiences and loss can increase risk of depression and can lead to low mood. Low mood and depression differ in that low mood usually lifts within a few days or weeks whereas depression tends to be more long-term. Symptoms of low mood include sadness, worry, exhaustion, anxiety, low self-esteem and anger. Making small changes in your life can improve low mood but if it persists it can be a sign of depression.

Depression is a mental health condition which can affect our emotions, thoughts, behaviour and physical health. Symptoms of depression include: low mood or sadness lasting two weeks or longer, exhaustion or low energy, not enjoying the things you used to enjoy, feeling hopeless, lack of concentration, not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep, disturbances in appetite (over or under eating), suicidal thoughts or self-harm. A general feeling of being down with no specific reason. Whether you are experiencing depression or low mood, self-help techniques can improve symptoms and life changes can help you feel more in control and increase your ability to cope. Some changes you can make are improving your sleep routine by getting regular, good quality sleep, reducing alcohol intake, and increasing exercise. Below you will find additional apps, reading and resources to help you with these changes and monitoring your mood. See the dropdown menu below for more information.

  • Apps and Interactive Activities for Monitoring Mood
    • Mindfulness coach provides gradual, self-directed training program to help you understand and adopt simple mindfulness practice.
    • Woebot is an interactive support for people experiencing anxiety/depression through daily check-ins and lessons to explore though patterns.
    • Mood Tools helps with mood tracking and gives instructions on skills and coping strategies.
    • SuperBetter uses interactive games and self-care ideas for personal growth.
    • TalkLife:This app provides a safe space and connection to a community where you can find support and talk openly about mental health concerns anonymously.
    • DayLio Journal. This app helps you track fluctuations in your mood and help you make adjustments to boost wellbeing.
    • What’s Up? This app draws on components of cognitive behavioural therapy and acceptant commitment therapy to teach coping mechanisms for low mood including grounding exercises, breathing techniques, and recognising thought distortions.
    • Sanvello is a mindfulness app that helps identify feelings, worries, and then move towards acceptance and inner peace. Offers helpful techniques including visualisation, mindfulness meditation, and muscle relaxation.
  • Recommended Reading for Low Mood and Depression
    1. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (Haidt, 2006)
    2. The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Williams, Teasdale, Segal, & Kabat-Zinn, 2007)
    3. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (Burkeman, 2013)
  • Websites for Low Mood and Depression
    • Aware provide support for people living with depression or bipolar affective disorder as well as friends, family and loved ones.
    • Mental Health Ireland promote positive mental health and wellbeing to people living in Ireland.
    • Pieta House offer therapeutic support for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and self-harm.