Even on your best days, you could have moments of momentary sadness or stress. And there may be a bad day mixed in with the good days. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. But, even though it’s normal, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to pick yourself back up when you’re feeling down. Here are eight ways to make yourself feel better in the moment.
1. Focus on Self-Care
Self-care is important in maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Here are a few ways to take care of each aspect of self-care:
To boost your happiness, try one or more of the following:
- Drink a full glass of water
- Eat something small
- Go for a stroll
- Soak in epsom salt
- Make yourself a bubble or milk bath
When you’re focusing on mental health:
- Journal your thoughts
- Meditate for 15 minutes
- Remind yourself of your strengths
- Focus on the present
- Pull in your support system
2. Practice Self-Compassion
Practicing self-compassion involves treating ourselves with the same kindness, understanding, and patience we would extend to a close friend or loved one. It’s a mindful acknowledgment of our experiences, feelings, and personal challenges without harsh criticism or judgement. Here are several ways to practice self-compassion:
- Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation helps cultivate a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This practice can make us more compassionate towards ourselves, as we learn to accept our thoughts and feelings without criticizing or trying to change them.
- Positive self-talk: Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations and messages. Speak to yourself as you would to a close friend – with kindness, understanding, and encouragement.
- Self-care: Prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This could be eating healthily, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, or setting aside time for relaxation and leisure activities.
- Forgive yourself: Everyone makes mistakes. Instead of dwelling on failures or shortcomings, acknowledge them, learn from them, and then forgive yourself. Remember that being imperfect is part of being human.
- Set healthy boundaries: This includes saying ‘no’ when necessary, not overcommitting, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Respecting your own limits can boost self-esteem and self-worth.
- Cultivate gratitude: Gratitude can shift your focus from what’s wrong with your life to what’s right. Keep a gratitude journal and write down things you’re thankful for each day.
- Self-reflection: Reflect on your feelings and emotions without judgment. Understand that it’s okay to feel pain, make mistakes, or be imperfect. This practice encourages self-awareness and acceptance.
- Seek therapy or counseling: A mental health professional can provide tools and techniques to improve self-compassion and address any deep-seated issues related to self-esteem and self-worth.
- Practicing loving-kindness meditation: This type of meditation focuses on developing feelings of compassion and love for oneself and others. It involves silently repeating a series of mantras like “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”
- Learn and grow: View challenges as opportunities for growth rather than failures. Embrace the concept of a “growth mindset,” the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed with time, experience, and effort.
Remember, self-compassion is a lifelong journey, not a destination. It takes practice, patience, and time. But every step you take towards self-compassion is a step towards a happier and healthier you.
3. Be Grateful
If you focus on being grateful, you’re less likely to focus on the ‘bad’ that’s going on in your life. Here are ways to focus on the good:
- Keep a gratitude journal: Take a few minutes each day to write down what you’re grateful for. This could be a list of three things, or a more detailed account of a particular event or person that brought you joy.
- Express thanks: If someone has made a difference in your day, let them know. It could be a co-worker, a friend, or a family member. A simple thank you can go a long way.
- Gratitude jar: Create a gratitude jar where you and your family can drop in notes about things you’re grateful for. Make it a practice to read these out loud once a week or once a month.
- Mindful moments: Throughout your day, pause for a moment to acknowledge something good in your life. It could be as simple as a beautiful sunrise, a delicious meal, or a kind gesture from a stranger.
- Meditation and reflection: Dedicate a few minutes each day for meditation or reflection. Consider what you’re thankful for, and allow those feelings of gratitude to fill you.
- Gratitude letters: Write a letter to someone who’s had a positive impact on your life. Express your appreciation for them and, if you’re comfortable, consider sending it to them.
- Gratitude in tough times: Even in difficult situations, there’s often something to be grateful for. Acknowledging these silver linings can help improve resilience and optimism.
- Volunteer: Give back to your community by volunteering. Helping others can create feelings of gratitude and happiness.
- Gratitude reminders: Leave notes around your home or workplace that remind you to pause and appreciate the good things in your life.
- Share gratitude at mealtime: Make it a family tradition to share one thing you’re grateful for at meal times.
- Practice mindfulness: By staying present and engaged in the moment, you’re more likely to notice the good things happening around you.
Remember, practicing gratitude is about more than just saying “thank you”. It’s about recognizing the good in your life and allowing that recognition to positively affect your mood and mindset.
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INCLUDED IN YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
- Monthly Wellness Planners – daily / weekly / monthly calendar spreads, trackers for habits, moods, meals, and more, journaling prompts and evidence-based exercises.
- 21-Day Journaling Program – guided audio reflections to build the journaling habit and boost moods.
- Members-Only Community and App – personalized prompts, affirmations, and peer-to-peer support.
- Community Events – virtual classes and workshops to get the most out of your membership.
4. Move Your Body
Physical movement, be it a brisk walk, a few yoga stretches, or an impromptu dance session, can do wonders for your mood. Here’s how:
- Boosts Mood: Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood boosters. Even a short walk or a few stretches can make you feel happier and more relaxed.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Exercise is a natural and effective way to combat stress. It can lower your body’s stress hormones and help induce relaxation.
- Improves Focus: A quick physical activity break can refresh your mind, clear your thoughts, and improve your concentration.
- Enhances Energy Levels: Regular physical movement can enhance your energy levels by improving your cardiovascular health and boosting your stamina.
- Promotes Better Sleep: Physical activity can help regulate your sleep patterns. It can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.
- Improves Body Awareness: Movement brings your attention back to your body, helping you reconnect with your physical self. This can help ground you when you’re feeling overwhelmed or distracted.
- Stimulates Creativity: Physical movement can stimulate brain function and boost creativity. Ideas often come more easily when you’re up and moving, rather than sitting still.
- Alleviates Physical Tension: Stretching and moving can help alleviate tension in your muscles. This can reduce physical discomfort and help you feel better instantly.
- Boosts Self-Esteem: Achieving a movement goal, no matter how small, can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem.
- Provides a Healthy Break: If you’ve been working or studying for a while, a physical activity break can provide a healthy and revitalizing respite.
Regular exercise is recommended for daily endorphin release.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness can help you feel better quickly. Here’s how to get started:
- Focus on Your Breathing: Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit down and pay attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Start from your toes and work your way up to your head. Notice each muscle and consciously relax it before moving on to the next one.
- Practice Mindful Eating: Pay attention to the taste, texture, smell, and appearance of your food. Eat slowly, savoring each bite.
- Mindful Walking: Take a walk and pay attention to the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, and the sights and sounds around you.
- Body Scan Meditation: This involves focusing on different parts of your body, starting from your toes and working your way up to your head. Notice any sensations you feel in each part.
- Mindfulness Journaling: Write about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. This helps you become more aware of your internal state.
- Yoga and Tai Chi: These practices combine movement, breathing, and meditation, which can help enhance your mindfulness.
- Mindful Listening: Listen to music or natural sounds without doing anything else. Try to focus on the different sounds and how they make you feel.
- Observing Thoughts and Emotions: Instead of reacting to your thoughts and emotions, try to step back and observe them without judgement.
- Regular Practice: Make mindfulness a daily habit. Even a few minutes a day can make a big difference.
- Attending Mindfulness Workshops: Participate in workshops or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs. These can provide you with guided meditations and other mindfulness techniques.
- Use Mindfulness Apps: There are various apps available that can guide you through different mindfulness exercises.
Remember, mindfulness is about being present in the moment without judgement. It’s normal to get distracted, so when you notice your mind wandering, just gently bring your attention back to the task at hand.
With consistent practice, you can improve your ability to be mindful.
It’s Okay to Have Moments of Despair
Remember, it’s completely okay to have moments of sadness and stress. They are a part of life’s natural ebb and flow. But with these seven strategies, you can create your own toolkit for boosting your mood instantly. The most crucial aspect is taking the first step. So choose a strategy, give it a try, and witness the uplifting change.