Hello Sweet Friend:
Do you ever find yourself feeling down in the dumps? Like things just aren’t quite as bright and shiny as they were yesterday?
Totally, right? It happens to all of us! For so many different reasons.
Whether you’re working through something or just woke up in a funk, it can be really hard and disheartening to deal with a deflated spirit.
But there are gentle ways to lift your spirit back up and boost your mood.
And today we’re going to explore 7 easy options together.
So grab a cozy blanket and get comfy. Let’s talk about simple ways to help yourself feel better when you need it.
1. Allow Yourself To Experience Your Feelings
There’s this incredible love affair with positive feelings. We even have a hashtag for it – #GoodVibesOnly, baby! And who can blame us? I’m certainly enamored with joy. And I imagine you are too!
But, here’s the thing… ‘Good vibes only’ doesn’t work. It isn’t real. Negative feelings will come up for you, no matter how positive your mindset.
And that’s ok.
While it may feel very counter-intuitive, it’s very important that you allow yourself to work through negative feelings when they arrive.
It can be scary sometimes to really allow yourself to unpack your feelings. But I promise that they aren’t there with plans to take over. They just need to pass through. And sitting with them can be the first step towards letting them pass.
David Kessler, the co-author of On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss and founder of grief.com, has this to say about allowing your feelings to move through you:
“Sometimes we try not to feel what we’re feeling because we have this image of a ‘gang of feelings.’ If I feel sad and let that in, it’ll never go away. The gang of bad feelings will overrun me. The truth is a feeling that moves through us. We feel it and it goes and then we go to the next feeling. There’s no gang out to get us.” (source)
So feel those feelings without judgement, so you can work on moving forward and lifting your spirit up. Really understanding how you’re feeling and where those feelings are coming from gives you the opportunity to nurture your feelings and move forward in a healing way.
Know that it’s completely normal and valid for negative emotions to arrive. Life has it’s ups and downs. You’re doing a great job, even when you’re dealing with the down parts.
2. Reach Out To Your Support System
An ear or a shoulder can go a long way. Emotional and social support are invaluable and can truly help you bunches in times of stress.
Think back to the last time you received support from a loved one. Did it lift your spirit? Heck yes, right?! A heart to heart with one of your people just plain leaves you feeling good.
Even better, venting, talking about your feelings and experiences and getting help can be positive ways to allow those feelings to move through you.
But don’t just take my word for it.
Susan Newman, Ph.D., a social psychologist, personally views reaching out as a great way to relieve stress:
“My most effective stress relief comes from speaking with friends, but only the ones I know have my best interests at heart. They are great listeners, supportive, and almost always come up with strategies to cope with the stressor or, at the least, put it in perspective for me. If nothing else, they point me in a better, less stressful direction.” (source)
Your emotional support network can include friends, family, coworkers… basically anyone you feel safe and comfortable speaking with.
Talking to a therapist is a wonderful option too.
Therapists create a safe space free from judgement. Everything is confidential. And the relationship is unique to your own personal needs. Sometimes that unbiased perspective is everything.
Philip J. Rosenbaum, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and is the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Haverford College, puts it this way:
“Therapists engage with their clients’ lives without becoming a daily part of it. Well-defined boundaries allow therapists the perspective from which to observe behaviors that friends who are involved in a client’s life may be too close to see.” (source)
My therapist taught me coping mechanisms that have continued to help me for years. The experience can be incredibly valuable! So don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor or therapist if that feels like the right direction for you.
If you are in crisis and need help right now, here are some global resources that can be there for you immediately.
You don’t have to go it alone. When thing feel heavy it can sometimes take a few extra hands to help lift your spirit back up. Reach out when you need to. You deserve help and love as much as everyone else.
3. Reflect On The Good
Positive thinking is more than just lovely, it actually affects your mindset. For real! Exposing yourself to things that uplift you and thinking about the positive helps your mind see more possibilities. Yowza! That’s so freaking cool! (source)
Taking a moment or two to focus on the good, especially when you’re feeling down, can be magnificently uplifting.
(As long as you know that it’s ok to acknowledge, focus on and work through the tough feelings too.)
How can you reflect on the good? There are tons of options! Including:
- Gratitude Journaling
- Having a Positive Chat with a Loved One
- Expressing Thankfulness
- Indulge in an Uplifting Self-Care Activity
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter how you go about it. If something helps you focus on the goodness around you, make time for it. It will lift your spirit right up!
4. Try Positive Affirmations
Positive mantras and affirmations are meant to give your mindset a boost and lift your spirit. They don’t work for everyone but, when they do work, they can provide quite the powerful boost.
If you want to give them a go and see if they’re right for you there are a few ways to potentially get a bit more out of them.
Let’s take a peek at how to get the most out of positive affirmations:
- Choose a Believable Affirmation – Going too extreme can backfire, since you’re not likely to believe in it.
- Try it in Third Person – There’s some science that shows that third person affirmations can be more successful. Bonus points if you add your name to the affirmation, since it will create some self-distancing. This lets you take a step back and observe things like an you would when listening and talking to a friend. Since we can often kinder and more patient with friends than we are with ourselves, self-distancing is a powerful tool. It can also kick negative self-talk right in the butt!
- Create Personal Affirmations – What makes sense for me might not be right for you. Come up with affirmations that you find uplifting and joyful. Whatever feels right is best!
5. Tap Into Joyful Movement
If you’re feeling up for it, exercise can really help to boost your mood. But it’s even better when you make it fun and indulge in a form of movement that brings you joy.
Choose something that you really like. It doesn’t matter exactly what it is. Yoga, strength training, walking or just shaking that booty to your favourite jams are all valid forms of movement. As is anything else that may come to mind.
Whatever gets that beautiful body moving and makes you happy is worth it. Joyful movement can do so much for your physical and mental well-being.
Studies actually show that the marvelous mood boosting benefits of exercise can shine through, no matter what form of movement you choose. And intensity doesn’t matter either! It’s ability to boost your mood is still there, whether you’re working it hardcore or enjoying something more gentle. (source 1, source 2)
How exactly does working your beautiful body lift your spirit? Exercise has been shown to positively affect your mood and reduce stress. (source)
One way it manages to do this is by boosting the production of feel-good endorphins, which not only make us feel more positive but also reduce pain perception! Pretty cool, right? (source)
So, if you’re feeling up for it, work it honey!
6. Take Some Slow, Deep Breaths
Intentional deep breathing might sound too simple to be impactful, but daaaaammmmnnn is it ever powerful.
Essentially, deep, belly breathing elicits a relaxation response. And all you need to do is breath in deeply and slowly through your nose, filling your lungs and making your belly rise.
It can feel really unnatural at first. Especially since diet culture has made many of us feel as if our tummy should be flat, many of us tend to suck in our tummies and take shallow breaths.
But, according to Harvard Health Publishing, shallow breathing actually increases tension and anxiety.
Also – all tummies are beautiful, all the time. Whether they’re flat or round, bloated or toned.
There’s A LOT to dismantle when it comes to diet culture and fatphobia. Let’s take a step forward today by working to release that tummy tension. Let yourself breath deeply and fully when you need to. It can help to reduce stress, create a sense of calm, slow your heart rate and lower or stabilize your blood pressure. And it won’t remove any of your beauty or value, I promise. (source)
You can try deep breathing all on it’s own, or, if you prefer, combine it with something else like meditation or yoga. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable.
Want to give deep breathing a try? Simply:
- Find a comfy, relaxing space
- Start intentionally belly breathing – in slowly through your nose, until your chest and tummy rise as your lungs fill with air. Then breath out slowly (through your mouth or your nose, whatever feels best).
You can do this for five simple breaths or for five minutes. Whatever feels best. Sometimes even one simple, intentional breath can make a huge difference and lift your spirit up.
7. Write Yourself a Love Letter
Everyone loves an uplifting note, kind card or a sweet text. It’s just plain nice to hear that someone loves and cares for you.
And it’s just as nice when you take the time to remind yourself that you also love and care you. Plus, you can sprinkle in all those awesome qualities you adorable about yourself and the things that make you proud.
There is power in nourishing and prioritizing your relationship with yourself.
Whether it be a short and sweet note focused on a couple of things you’re proud of, or a few pages about how incredibly awesome you are, it will lift you up.
Plus, we’ve already talked about how self-distancing and talking to yourself in the third person can be a huge help. When writing a letter to yourself, the self-distancing might let you look at your own qualities more objectively, like an outsider. Research suggest that this helps you recognize qualities within yourself that you may not otherwise notice. (source)
Not only can this lift your spirit right up, it may also help strengthen your relationship with yourself and boost your self-esteem. Self-love always goes a long way. So any activity that nurtures a powerful self-relationship is absolutely golden.
8. Take Care Of Yourself Your Way
Ultimately, whatever actions or activities lift you up and bring you joy matter.
When it comes to self-care, there really are no rules. And there is no one size fits all either. It’s just about responding to your own personal needs and prioritizing what works best for you.
So if something always lifts you up, or if it feels right in the moment, go for it. Even if it isn’t on this list. You know yourself and what works for you best. Do whatever feels right.
Know that taking care of yourself in whatever way makes sense for you is marvelous. When you take care of yourself, you also connect with yourself. And a better connection with yourself helps you to prioritize the self-care that works best for you. It’s a beautiful cycle that lets you become present for yourself when you need it most.
What lifts your spirit when you’re feeling down? Anything from this list you’d love to try? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: Self-care is always a worthy investment of your time.
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