When life's got you down, you don't have to stay there. Actively work to pull yourself out of that funk and put yourself back on top with these mood-boosting activities.
It's sooo not realistic to expect you will never feel down and out in life. Stressed, anxious, perhaps a little sad, a little blue at times. Experiencing that feeling is temporary though, just like any other emotion, like happiness, which you can read about in my blog post by clicking here.
Here are 10 things you can do to get you back on track and feeling a little less blue and a little more pink...or yellow...or green. You pick the color.
1) Call a friend
Having a strong support circle to lift you up when you're feeling down is an amazing asset to have. If you're struggling, reach out to a friend and let them know. You could simply say, “Hey, I'm having a hard time. Can I call and talk to you for a while?” If they're a good friend and it's not an inconvenient time for them, like when they're at work, they should take that call from you. At the very least, a good friend would tell you they can't talk at that moment but will call you later.
**If you're the friend that's being reached out to for support, ask this vital question!!!**
“Do you want to problem-solve this or just vent?”
Maybe all your friend needs at that moment is a listening ear. Especially in the heat of the moment, in peak sad mode, the friend in need probably isn't in the right mindset to make some life-changing plans. While complaining isn't helpful to anyone, in small doses, it could be therapeutic.
On the flip-side, if your friend in need is consistently using you as a listening ear and rarely has anything positive to say, a different conversation needs to take place. When you've finally had enough of Negative Nancy you could say, “It's making me feel really sad that you're always so sad. I'm here for you and would love to help support you while you make some choices to improve your life but I am no longer available to hear you complain about your situation. We can still hang out but we cannot discuss -Insert topic here- anymore. When you're ready to make some real changes I'm totally here for you!”
2) Clean something
Getting your body moving and working off some of those excess sad vibes can help you switch your focus to something productive instead of self-destructive. When you're having a tough time, it can be easy to spiral into a low spot and stay there. When you get your blood moving and focus on achieving a task, you'll become too busy scrubbing the kitchen floors to even think about why you were so upset in the first place. Plus, by the end of your cleaning frenzy, your home will be sparkling and you will have a sense of accomplishment.
*Fun Fact: Getting your blood moving and your body active can release serotonin, the chemical in our body related to happiness, and help boost your mood quickly!
3) Turn on some music and dance
Music is a powerful therapeutic tool when you're feeling down. Whether you choose to wallow in those feelings of despair and turn on the saddest songs you know, or you put on a happy, uplifting bop that pulls you straight out of sadville and straight into happy town, you can move through this season of sadness with song.
*Dancing is another activity that gets your blood pumping and can help burn off the bad vibes coursing through your veins, resulting in a release of serotonin!
4) Listen to something inspiring
Get on Youtube and type in, 'Ted Talk …' You fill in the rest. I have a few motivational speakers and Ted Talks I'll watch repeatedly when I'm feeling down. I'll drop them down below so you too can gain some perspective and clarity on these topics.
Best Ted Talk for When You Need to Love Yourself:
Best Ted Talk for When You're Struggling to Workout:
Best Ted Talk for When You Feel Frustrated with the World:
Best Ted Talk for When You Feel Depressed:
5) Journal about it
Writing can be a helpful tool to navigate your emotions, especially in the heat of the moment. It can be cathartic to get your feelings down on paper and be able to visually see what's weighing on your mind. Working through your struggles through the act of writing can give you a way to look back at your thought process later if/when you go through the same struggle. You'll be able to see how you felt about it last time, and how you got through it. Some of my go-to journal prompts for handling challenging emotions are:
-How are you feeling, right now, in this moment?
-How would you like to feel instead?
-What activities or projects help put you in the emotion you want to feel?
-What would you tell a friend going though the same problem?
6) Go for a walk. Move your body
Similar to cleaning the house, any form of movement and exercise will trigger that part of your brain to let go and work out the excess emotion. Moving your body when you're in a stressful mood activates the brain's natural fight or flight response. Your brain knows there's an issue and wants to solve it, but at the moment it can't also decipher the problem or solution.
There was an interesting talk from motivational speaker, Mel Robbins, about this exact approach to anxiety and stress. I'll link her video below, but the idea is that you have to give your brain something to do that will alleviate the stress.
In her video she uses the example of a potential car crash and that while you are in your car, seeing a crash about to occur, your brain goes crazy and makes you start panicking. As soon as the threat of the crash is avoided, your heart rate slows and your brain knows the threat is over. If you're struggling through an internal crash, you just have to trick your brain into believing a certain action will alleviate that concern. By finding an anchor thought or action, you can trick your brain out of its anxious response.
For example, and using Mel Robbin's mind trick, in a fit of anxiety and panic (this also works when you're feeling sad or angry) I tell my brain that as soon as I do 25 jumping jacks, I will no longer feel the way I'm currently feeling. I've given my brain a believable problem and a way to solve it. Once you work out the excess adrenaline, however many times you have to repeat the jumping jacks, eventually your brain will settle down and you get back to living a calmer life.
7) Take a nap
I saw a helpful acronym that addresses this. When you are feeling out of sorts, HALT.
If you realize any of those fit how you're feeling, take time to address those needs before you tackle the problem at hand. It's a wonder what a nap will do for you.
8) Read a book
Getting lost and immersed in another world, whether fiction or non-fiction, will distract you from whatever is going on within your own world. When you become totally engrossed in another world and its characters, you give yourself a chance to escape.
While escapism isn't a long-term solution and can cause more harm than good, especially if you are consistently avoiding your problems and emotions by immersing yourself in another reality, it can be helpful for a quick journey out of your present situation.
9) Eat something
Gut health is important. Especially when it comes to our overall mood. Healthy gut bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals that help the brain regulate our mood and mental health. Did you know that 95% of the bodies supply of serotonin comes from the gut? Since serotonin is the chemical in our body that is responsible for making us feel happy then it holds true, in theory, that there is something to the idea of 'comfort food' and 'comfort eating'. A good meal could trigger an extra release of serotonin into the body, boosting your mood.
In some ways, this is another way in which you can 'escape' from your own reality. While meditating you get to allow your thoughts to run amuck and let go of whatever thoughts no longer serve you.
All in all, no one is going to have a good day every single day. Life is naturally full of ups and downs and having a tool kit of mood-boosting activities you can rely on can at least take a little pressure off of you. You won't have to come up with anything on the spot to help you to feel better. You can simply pull up this post and pull from this list.