8 Things To Do When You Are Feeling Down
By: Dr. Lena Pearlman
Feeling down, a bit lethargic, not wanting to get out of bed or just a bit sad? There are many things that you can do to feel better. The list of suggestions below is varied enough that you should find something of interest and something that works for you.
1) Channel Your Inner Monet or Renoir
Whether you draw stick figures, dogs playing poker or a landscape, evidence suggests that this can help you feel more calm, relaxed, accomplished, and happy. You can even gain some of the same benefits by coloring in a coloring book. In fact, there are many coloring books developed now for adults.
Do you enjoy singing in the shower, playing the air guitar or putting on headphones and jamming? If so, music has so many positive benefits for you. Music can help you relax, it can help you get up and dance and move around, and it can naturally make you feel happy.
3) A-Ha Moment
Having an “a-ha” moment and stimulating your brain has been shown to improve one’s outlook. It also feels good to have new knowledge or skills. This can be something as simple as watching some Khan Academy clips.
4) Move Your Body
Exercise helps your physical and mental health in so many ways. Exercise alleviates anxiety. When exercising, the body releases endorphins – which creates feelings of happiness and euphoria. An additional benefit of exercise is that it boosts self-confidence.
Moving your thoughts and feelings from your mind to paper helps you to process the past, be in the present, and plan for the future. Journaling brings you into a state of mindfulness.
6) Reduce the To-Do List
The feeling of accomplishment is a very powerful way to overcome feelings of sadness or helplessness. These can be a series of small things that need to be done around the house. An added benefit is that these tasks will likely require getting up and moving around.
7) Turn O2 into CO2
There are so many benefits to deep breathing! Breathing increases neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain. Breathing reducing excessive anxiety levels. As you relax your body, you will find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.
8) Talk to someone
Reconnect with an old friend or make a new friend. Talking with someone can help get your thoughts and feelings out. This may feel like the weight of the world has been removed from your shoulders. Often one realizes that whatever was making them feel down or sad, really is not as bad as they thought. It is also beneficial when you find out that there are others that may have dealt with something similar in their own life (and that they were able to move on).
If the feelings continue for a prolonged period and/or if they begin to interfere with your ability to function at home, school or work, it is likely time that you should consider speaking with a professional. A therapist or counselor is skilled at helping people to overcome challenges, to help process their feelings, to plan for healthy coping strategies, and to assist in making a plan for improved mental health.
Dr. Lena Pearlman is the clinical director and lead therapist at Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates (www.STLmentalhealth.com). The practice has nine licensed therapists. The therapists specialize in stress, anxiety, depression and relationships – and work with patients of all ages, couples and families. You can reach Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at: www.STLmentalhealth.com.