No-one leads the perfect life…always sunshine and roses, cute cuddly kittens and fluffy ducklings! Most of my days are happy ones but like most people, there are the occasional days that I just get out of bed the wrong side and for whatever reason, feel a bit out of sorts. But my down times are fleeting ones and I know what I need to do to get over them. So what do I do?
Have you had the experience where the more you think about the fact you’re down (or grumpy), the worse you feel and the more ways you can find to justify those bad feelings? So…I go and do something to take my mind off it for a while. I do something totally different from what I was currently doing and an activity that requires me to either physically or mentally move around. You could do, for example, gardening, baking, sewing, crosswords, playing an instrument, going to the gym, walking…anything that takes you away from the environment you were in and away from brooding in your head. I find after doing an activity for a period of time that I have calmed down, cheered up or at the least, am able to move onto step #2 with the attitude of WANTING TO not be down or grumpy anymore!
#2 Calm The Body
When we are feeling out of sorts, our body tenses up and it is then very difficult to feel at ease with anything or anybody. The easiest way I find to relax my body is to do some gentle exercise (like walking or yoga). Taking around 20 minutes to relax each part of your body is very beneficial, and it is also an opportunity to get some really good breathing done. Whether it’s out in the fresh air while walking, or inside doing yoga, deep breathing is very good for you. When we are stressed, our breathing changes and you’ll find that you have started taking shorter breaths and your shoulders have come up to meet your ears! Walking or doing yoga helps me to relax all that and helps me to think more clearly and calmly.
#3 Refocus The Mind
Now that my body is calmer, it’s important that I do something to help my mind to feel calm too. Meditation gives your mind something positive to focus on and allows you to see things from a different perspective. I choose to use guided meditations because it requires me only to listen and process what is being said, rather than being distracted by my own inner thoughts (trying to sabotage the good I am doing!). Which meditation I choose to listen to depends entirely on what I feel I need. For example, if I’m feeling low and a bit lethargic, I will choose an uplifting meditation that will raise my energy. If I need to calm down and rid myself of anger, I will choose a meditation that helps me release stress and emotion.
#4 Boost The Ego
It’s important to put everything in perspective and remember that you are a good person (and it’s just that you are going through a minor hiccup today!). So I go and do something that reinforces how wonderful I am, reminds me what great things I am capable of and boosts up my ego! Here’s a few examples of things that may fit for you:
- Perhaps you are a wonderful mom and have successful and happy children — go look through your photographs of all the proud moments you have shared with them.
- Do you have a successful career and impressive resume? Go read it and bask in the glory of all your achievements.
- Did you once receive an award for something? Remember that moment and feel how proud you were.
- Write a list of all the things you are really good at and that other people admire in you. Read the list and then re-read it over and over again, until you truly believe it and your chest puffs out with pride!
It’s not important whether these steps take one hour or one day, the important thing is that you take the time to acknowledge why you are feeling down in the dumps and then actively do something about it.
And I always remind myself that tomorrow is another day — and I’ll try to remember to get out of bed on the other side!