We all process our sadness, anxieties and problems in different ways. Sometimes we choose to face them head on, with a sword or a shield or empty-handed. Other times we want to bury ourselves away, letting ourselves pretend for a little while that our problems don’t exist, and maybe even hoping they’ll disappear for good.
Whatever your preferences, here are a few tips that may help you lift yourself back up when you’re feeling down:
Write it down or talk it out
Letting your worries out of your head onto paper or into the universe actually helps you to find the root of the problem. Relieving it from the inside gives you perspective on the outside and gives you the chance to figure out ways to solve the problem. Find a notebook or grab a friend and let it out.
Take a gratitude walk
Taking a walk around my neighbourhood really helps me release my negative energy. Instead of allowing your mind to circle around the negative thoughts, try listing everything you’re grateful for, no matter how small. It helps put the situation or your mood into perspective.
Switch up the environment
It’s tempting to sulk and wallow around at home alone when you’re feeling down, but your troubles are weighing you down there. Try and get out of the house; go see a friend or take a trip to your favourite coffee spot. Surround yourself with people. Sometimes we just need a little distance.
Accomplish something, like exercise
Focusing your mind on something completely different to what you’re going through, like an intense workout, is enough to make you feel good about yourself – or at least achieving something you set out to do. Exercise is a bonus, as it is proven to boost your endorphin levels, which increases happiness.
Transport to another world
Listen to your favourite music, crack open a good book, or put on a funny TV show. Your mood can instantly lift when you distract yourself enough to put some distance between you and the problem before coming back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.
I know that I always feel worse towards the evening, when I’ve had a long day and am feeling tired. It can really screw up your perspective. Go to bed early and remind yourself that it will feel better in the morning. Wake up refreshed to tackle your troubles.
All darkness passes and the sun rises. Everyone has bad days. Your problems won’t last forever.
(image: LD Fleming)
When we’re aware of what brings us down, we can let it go and watch ourselves rise up.
The energy outside affects the energy inside. People who complain all the time, people who blame you for their problems, people who bring you down, people who laugh at your dreams, people absorbed in their own worlds, people who always take and never give, these are all toxic people, if they do it consistently. People who do not add any love or joy to your life aren’t worth keeping. It isn’t selfish to cut them out, take a break, or limit the time you see them.
Other people’s opinions
We’re haunted by other people’s words, opinions and thoughts. Maybe we want to please someone. Maybe we think someone knows better. Maybe we feel we don’t have a choice. But if we’re never listening to our own heart, we’ll never feel truly satisfied, content or excited about life. We’ll add water to the seeds of regret, bitterness and misery. Do what makes you happy; even if it doesn’t always work out, at least you’re following your own path.
Self-limiting and self-doubt
Many of us struggle with low self-confidence. In fact, we could probably argue that it’s nowadays a part of life, at one stage or another. We’re afraid of failure. We punish ourselves for mistakes. We think we’re not good enough or bright enough or beautiful enough. But it’s all in our head. You are good enough. You have to find that belief, that faith, that courage buried inside and see how much your outlook changes.
Trying to fit in
Finding someone to talk about is an ancient pastime; we often gossip to fit in, to connect with a group of people and exclude someone else. On the flip side, we’re afraid to be that person who is excluded. We compare ourselves to others, always trying to erase the things that make us different. We focus on what’s ‘wrong’ with ourselves and what we don’t have. Trying to fit in breeds self-doubt and self-loathing, which leads to negativity. Instead try embracing and loving yourself and doing the same for others.
(Image: created myself)
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your life. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your money. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you you won’t be successful. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Don’t let someone tell you you’re smaller than them. Your life is your life. Your heart, your opinions, you passion, your voice should be the one you listen to above the noise of everyone else’s.
- Listening to someone’s worries and problems can be really therapeutic to the other person, as it lets them open up and release their anxieties.
- Check in with people who you know have been going through a rough time or who have been feeling lost, so they know they have a support system behind them.
- Say thank you to your parents, friends, colleagues, bus driver, barista, random strangers, anyone who helps you.
- Smiling goes a long way, for both ourselves and others. It can turn someone’s day around, make them feel more at ease, and pick them up.
- Complimenting someone instead of gossiping about someone not only boosts their self esteem, but it brings into focus the good rather than the bad.
- Open the door for someone, give up your seat for someone; they’re simple and effortless, but meaningful.
- Buy the meal for the stranger sitting in the same restaurant as you. Just think how their face will light up when they’re told they have nothing to pay on the bill!
- Buy a hot drink or hot food for the homeless person you pass by on your way somewhere. Everyone needs it, no matter what their story.
- Offer a service, whether it be babysitting the neighbour’s children, walking someone’s dog, reading to the elderly, tutoring a school kid, and so on.
- Donate the clothes, the furniture, the knick-knacks you don’t need anymore to your local charity shop. Or donate money to a cause you’re passionate about.
- Leave it a little surprise for someone, like some change in the laundromat or a note on the bathroom mirror. Paid for parking longer than expected? Give your ticket to someone just pulling into the car park.
- Bake some snacks (or just bring some snacks) into the office or for a group you attend.
- Support local businesses or start-ups in your area. We all have a dream and should support each other!
- Volunteer. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get out there and do it!
What would you add to this list?
(Image: Busy Being Jennifer)
We waste too much time worrying over little things and crying about trivial things. And we lose out on time we could be spending enjoying life because of it. Something might seem like the end of the world today but we probably won’t even remember it later on. If you find yourself feeling down about something that won’t matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being sad about it. Something better is round the corner.
Not every day will be a ‘good’ day. But there’s still something good in every day, no matter how small: an accomplishment, a smile, a hug, a chat, a cup of coffee, a book, a bath, a walk, a song. If today isn’t turning out to be a good day, there’s still time to turn it around. Bad days don’t equal a bad life. They just make us appreciate the good even more.
Happiness is a state of mind. It isn’t something we can always hold onto. It’s ok to be down and feel low. Have faith that happiness can always be found again. If you believe it can, you won’t be afraid of sadness, because it’s also a state of mind. Sadness isn’t something you’ll always hold onto. It will pass.