This post appeared on Collective Evolution. The 5 Things include 4 common sense suggestions (and encouragement) and 1 pretty silly suggestion (and encouragement to “just try it”). ~Fr. Dan
Life isn’t always easy, and it may seem like it is, in fact, difficult more often than not. Yet both ups and downs are a natural part of life, and we’ve all had our fair share of both. But when you do find yourself in a funk, why not, rather than dwell on it, which often just makes things worse, try to pull yourself out of it, and not let it ruin your day or week?
Sometimes when you’re in one of these moods it can feel impossible to break free, and sometimes it feels easier to just sit in it and brood instead of actively trying to get yourself out of it. Yet truthfully, there are some things you can do RIGHT NOW to instantly lift that extra weight off your shoulders and turn that frown upside down.
1. Get Up and Go for a Walk — Right Now (Finish Reading This Later)
I don’t care if it’s snowing or raining, too windy, too cold, or too hot, I guarantee this will make you feel better, especially if you can walk somewhere green, which has been scientifically proven to make you feel better. Just getting active and breathing in some fresh air can almost instantly lift your spirits. When you are down in the dumps it can be hard to find the energy to even get up to do this, but once you do, you will be glad you did!
2. Vent Your Frustrations Into a Journal
Get a notebook and a pen and just start to write. Write whatever comes to your head, and no matter what it is, just keep writing. Even if it’s just, “This is stupid. Why am I doing this? I hate this,” just keep going. Keep on going and eventually your frustrations will start to pour out through your hands and onto the paper. Sometimes, being able to vent out your frustrations to yourself can really take away some of their power. It’s as if, once they are out of your head and onto the paper, your brain is free to move on and think about something else.
3. Call a Friend or Family Member
Even though you may feel like you don’t want to burden anyone else with your bad mood, sometimes a friend or family member is just what you need to lift your spirits. At the very least, it can help take your mind off of whatever is stressing you out or bringing you down. You never know, maybe they’ll have a great story to tell you that will make you laugh. Either way, sharing your feelings can often make your problems seem less severe than you first thought, and knowing that there are people out there who care for you can really help shift your perspective.
4. Practice Gratitude
A surefire way to stop feeling sorry for yourself and dwelling on everything that is going wrong in your life is to spend some energy focusing on what is going right. Write down three things in your life that you are grateful for. If you tend to be in a bad mood because of your circumstances often, practice this on a daily basis, each day writing down three things that you were grateful for on that specific day. I have found it really helpful to enlist a buddy in this practice of gratitude. Each day you text each other three things that you are grateful for. It may seem tough at first, but the more you practice gratitude, the more you experience it and find more and more to be grateful for.
5. Laugh Out Loud in Front of a Mirror
Now, I know this sounds particularly stupid, but trust me, as someone who has had my fair share of bad hair days and straight up emotional turmoil — this works. And yes, it is just as dumb as it sounds. But have you ever heard the phrase fake it ‘till you make it? This is a perfect example of how that works. Stand in front of the mirror, starting with just a smile, and then move on to a giggle, and then a chuckle — this will eventually lead to a full blown belly laugh. It is just as ridiculous as it sounds, but I think that’s why it’s so effective; it’s so silly that you can’t help but laugh for real, and that will inevitably lift your mood. Sometimes, just looking at the scowl on your face in the mirror can get you going, but all it takes is one little smile to get the ball rolling.
These are just simple things that anyone can do at any time. They have worked tremendously for me in past, but if you are struggling with more than just a bad day and you feel you’ve been stuck in an depressed state for some time, more may be required to get yourself un-stuck. Check out the following articles for some more advice, tips, and tricks to assist you on your journey toward happiness and joy.