I promise you, we all feel down sometimes. One of the biggest differences between people, however, is how they deal with it. Some people ignore how they feel, other people dwell on it, and a third group finds ways to change their mood.
It turns out that this third group is generally healthier and better off than the other two, for the simple reason that they manage to pull themselves out of their funk more quickly. So what strategies do they use to feel better?
Well, most likely some of these:
Understand the empathy gap
When you’re feeling blue, you think that nothing can make you happy. In psychology, this is referred to as the hot-cold empathy gap and it’s always with us. It’s why we tell people to chill when they’re angry, and we get so upset when other people tell us to chill while we’re angry.
It’s also why when you’re happy you can’t imagine feeling sad and vice versa.
So, the first thing you’re going to have to understand is that you won’t feel like doing many of the suggestions that I’m going to make. But don’t let that stop you. Go do them anyway. Chances are, though you won’t believe it will make you feel better, it will.
Get into the sun
The effect of the sun on our mood isn’t just psychological, there is a big physical effect as well. This is due to sunlight creating more vitamin D, which has a profoundly positive effect on your mood.
So get some sun! Do note, you don’t have to be in direct sunlight for it to be effective. Even just sitting in the shade outside can have a big impact.
Talk to people (for real)
Just having somebody look you in the eye already boosts your mood. Imagine how good it can be for you to have an entire conversation with them?
Having a conversation with people that you care for can be hugely beneficial for our moods. This is because we’re social creatures and it has been programmed into us by evolution to seek out the company of others. When it’s not there, we feel blue—and when it is there, we feel better.
Help other people
One of the quickest ways to feel better about ourselves is to be appreciated by other people. So, go out there and get some gratitude! Volunteer somewhere, help out a friend with a project, or help an old lady across the street (though perhaps ask her if she wants to cross first).
You don’t even need people to notice that you’re doing good. Simply the thought that you’ve helped other people can often be enough. So, go pick up litter, bring back the whole street’s garbage cans, or find other ways to help your community.
Cuddle a baby or your pet
Looking at and touching cute animals and babies triggers the pleasure center in our brain. Find your baby brother or your pet and give them a big old cuddle!
Don’t have either of those? Then a good alternative is to find cute baby or pet videos online and watch a couple of them. Something like that can really brighten your mood! Mashable has a great selection.
Learn to let it go
Sometimes we get upset about something and then hold onto it for a very long time. Obviously, that’s not very healthy. So, learn to let things go. Somebody cut in front of you in the grocery store half an hour ago? Yeah, that sucks. But hanging onto that now won’t make your life any better.
Note, this is not the same thing as ignoring your feelings. You can’t do that as they’ll find some way to get back at the center of things. Instead, you’ve got to accept your feelings for what they are, understand why you’re feeling them, and then let go of the root cause of those feelings.
One step at a time
Sometimes you feel blue for a little while, sometimes you feel blue for a lot longer. If you’re in the latter camp, then it can sometimes take some effort to lift yourself up. Mainly, that’s due to the fact that you have to build up some emotional resilience in order to deal with the crap the world flings at you. That can be hard if you’re already feeling down.
The trick is to realize that it isn’t about getting to the top of the mountain. It’s about making sure that you climb that mountain a little bit every day, despite the storms. If you can keep doing that for a while and you can come out of the day feeling a little better than you went in, then you’ll feel truly better in much less time than you imagined.
Now isn’t that something to look forward to?
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