I’ve noticed that almost every day, I experience afternoon depression or mood dips that get better as the evening goes on. I also tend to experience feelings of loneliness and being unmotivated to do things that I otherwise enjoy doing during the afternoons. Have you experienced the same thing? Here’s the explanation for it.
Scientific explanation for afternoon Depression
The biological explanation for afternoon depression or mood dips can be found in the activity of the brain’s reward center. The reward center has shown to be more active during mornings and later in the evenings, compared to afternoons. The reward center affects what “rewards” we experience from things such as good food or a compliment. So it seems that a less active reward center means a dip in mood.
Further, this study indicates that the time of day when the reward center was least active was 2 p.m. However, this time doesn’t really fit into my own experience of the afternoon dip. I experience a dip between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
So, perhaps for me, the activity of the reward center isn’t the cause for my afternoon dips. Or, perhaps, my brain’s body clock is just “later” than most people’s (which I’ve suspected for years since my most productive hours are late at night). Does the 2 p.m. fit into your experience of afternoon mood dips?
What can we do to feel better?
The first step is always to become aware of what problems we have, and why we have them. And then, it’s time to explore what we can do to help ourselves.
These are just some tricks and things that I’ve tried for myself, and hopefully, they’ll work for you too. Note, I’m not a professional psychologist or anything and I haven’t based these on any research (yet). But feel free to try them out for yourself if you’re feeling down.
7 things that can help with afternoon depression
- Be kind to yourself and allow yourself some time-off from work or being productive
- Allow yourself to do enjoyable things
- Watch Netflix, eat chocolate, journal, take a warm shower
- Fill up your body with new energy
- Coffein, food, water
- Play upbeat music and dance to lift your mood
- Go for a walk or do other movements to release dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin (the feel good hormones)
- Reach out and talk to people whom you love
- Expose yourself to positive outside influences
- Perhaps you know a specific YouTuber or Instagram profile that always lifts your moods?
Thanks for reading, and I hope this could help you!