I have decided to devote this blog post to discussing things that make me feel better when I am down. The last couple days have been quite challenging for me due to impending college deadlines as well as personal reasons. The great deal of excessive stress I recently experienced led me to seriously consider what helps me get out of an emotional funk and ultimately regain clarity, direction, and my overall sense of self. Oddly enough, the epiphany that it would be a good idea to ponder this concept visited me only two days ago, despite the fact I have dealt with stress most of my life. I sat down and had a mental conversation with myself about the inner workings of stressors in my life, and what practices, whether innately or intentionally, I tend to employ to overcome them. Essentially, I wanted to discover what I can do to remain on my feet when everything around me seems to crumble into pieces. I feel that obtaining a knowledge of stress reduction techniques which have a history of working is very important to maintaining the highest sense of internal peace possible. Please keep in mind while reading this that not all relaxation/stress reduction techniques listed here may work as well for you as they do for me, or even at all. Everyone is different, and it is our differences that make us each unique and beautiful in our own fascinating ways. In the comments, please let me know what helps you reduce stress. I would love to know!
- Create a “Good Vibes/Happiness/Everyday Blessings” Journal.
I thought of this and started doing it a very short time ago, but it has already helped me through rough times immensely. I basically bought a journal, and every time something nice happened to me or I witnessed something good happen to someone else, I documented it. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the event was—this practice is all about the emotional weight the occurrence has for you. The journal entries don’t have to be super long or complex, either. The point of doing this is solely to have something to look at which will brighten your day. Additionally, I feel like it is very important to find a way to remember all the small things that happen which make you or someone else smile. I know when I am in bleak situations I tend to forget about the abundance of joy life brings. That is something I really want to stop doing. It’s easy to be negative when you can’t think of good stuff that has happened to you, but when a bunch of it is written out, it is exceedingly hard to honestly feel like your life has been total crap thus far.
Here is a short example of one of my recent journal entries:
My mom ate dinner at Red Lobster (one of my favorite restaurants) and brought some cheese biscuits back for me.
There really is no event too small for this exercise. Seriously though, if you have never tried Red Lobster cheese biscuits you need to…10/10 strongly recommend. They are fire.
- Turn to faith.
If you are religious, I highly recommend bowing your head, paying scripture a visit, going to a worship service, or doing whatever within this realm works for you. Religion can really give you peace of mind when life brings tasks or circumstances which seem daunting. Even if you aren’t a religious person, perhaps taking some time to investigate different spiritual beliefs would be helpful in making you feel better, or if nothing else, it may peak your interest in the subject of religion or a division of it. Bottom line, the feeling of having some greater force on your side, protecting you, and/or guiding you can ease the heaviness of your burdens a little because it makes life seem less lonely. It also brings relief because the notion of you trying to move mountains by yourself is no longer prevalent.
- Reflect. (Make a personal reflection journal.)
It’s funny, because I never journaled at all until very recently. Now, here I am, creating a blog post with not one, but two features on the importance and helpfulness of journaling.
I got turned on to journaling very recently when two of my college professors recommended (or should I say demanded…) that my classmates and I do it during a study abroad trip (Thank you Professor Klein and Professor Abbott!). I really love journaling now and I am glad we were required to do it during our trip. I returned about three weeks ago, and there are so many things about my experiences I would have already forgotten if it weren’t for my journal entries. Personal reflection can be beneficial, not only for memory purposes, but also because it gives you a chance to go back in time and rehash what happened during your day. Pertaining to stress, perhaps by using this practice you could determine what sparked your discontentment. Gaining knowledge of this could even lead you to uncover unconscious feelings which may have been disturbed by an occurrence of your day. Sources of stress run deep sometimes, and if you can find the internal culprit which results in your unhappiness, you can discover proper coping mechanisms. Sometimes things as minor as the word choices, inflections, and vocal tonality of others can stress me out or make me feel less than 100%. When this occurs, I often do not understand why I feel the way I do initially. But, through journaling, I go back in time and I can attribute my response to underlying feelings deep beneath the surface of my everyday contemplations.
- Treat yourself.
Disclaimer: I am NOT about to endorse eating the weight of your feelings.
Food is a source of temporary satisfaction, and consumption of it (sadly) cannot heal wounds. However, sometimes you need a pick-me-up. Go eat something nice you’ve been craving. My go-to foods for this are typically ice cream or sushi. Sushi is a good one, because it is a clean food. It is almost always healthy (if prepared correctly), it tastes great, and it makes you feel better because of its nutritional value.
I know you probably hear this a lot but subtracting toxic people from the equation of your life can seriously improve your quality of living. It can be very hard to do, and sometimes you don’t even realize toxic people are in fact detrimental to your existence because you’re in it so deep with them. My simple advice is: If you suspect they might have something to do with why you’re feeling bad, just leave things with them for a while. Shut off the phone. Log off your social media. Do whatever it takes. You need to come first at this point. Fix yourself and then go clean up relationships, etc.
- Take care of yourself.
The importance of self-care cannot be overstated. Feeling better externally can help you feel better internally. So, on that note, go take a shower. Go get that facial you’ve been wanting but haven’t had time for. Get in on aromatherapy. Book an appointment to get a massage or have your hair cut. Do it. This is your nudge to make it happen.
- Listen to music.
Music can be extremely soothing. Take advantage of its healing properties and use them to your benefit. One tip though: If you are feeling sad, don’t listen to music that reflects your mood. It can make you spiral further into depression and become even more upset. Try to listen to things that are a little more upbeat. But, stay away from stuff that is too happy as well. That can make you hurt in a different way, reminding you of just how unhappy you are. I totally encourage listening to music that reflects your mood when you are angry, though. Get out your emotions. Head bang, scream, and be extraordinarily p*ssed. This is your opportunity to let off some steam under the guise of just being very into the music. Might I recommend Metallica for this?
- Have a conversation!
Honestly, people can be hella annoying sometimes. You aren’t an alien if this thought has crossed your mind. I actually tend to sometimes avoid conversations with others because I don’t feel confident enough in my strength or energy to deal with the sh*t they may feel inclined to dish. However, speaking with someone and acknowledging the power of human connection is a very important method to decrease stress and regain emotional stability. Find someone you can trust or who has known you for a while and let them in on what’s bugging you. They might have felt the same way before or are even feeling that way right now! Maybe they can help you, you can help them, or the two of you can enough find strength in one another to resolve problems simultaneously.
- Make time for yourself.
Go do yoga or take a bike ride. Meditate. Maybe even watch a movie and lay on the couch. Do whatever it is that will help you find peace. And, if you aren’t sure what that is, try to figure it out. Experimenting with what makes you feel better during rough times is important to your self-growth and overall wellbeing.
- Remember that making other people happy can have a domino effect.
When you are feeling depressed, go do something to make others feel happy. It will boost your positive energy as well. Personally, I enjoy volunteering at animal shelters and getting involved in my community through student organizations at my school. Give it a try! It is hard to succeed at life by yourself. Also, encouraging others to reach their highest level of achievement through kindness and the offering of a helping hand can work wonders and give you those warm feelings you’ve been longing for.
Lastly, I would like to remind you of something I often forget. That is, the reality of the statement, “You are enough”. Believe this in every way possible. Write this phrase down and draw a blank line in between the words are and enough. Fill the blank in with a word that fits whatever is bothering you.
“You are pretty enough.” “You are good enough.” “You are smart enough.” “You are strong enough.” “You are talented enough.” “You are brave enough.”
“You are enough.” Commit this to memory and write it and say it until you believe it.
Thank you for reading. Have a beautiful day!
Keep it sassy,