When we are feeling bad there are both practical and attitudinal things we can do to feel better.  

Practical Approaches:

  • When you are experiencing a prolonged, negative emotional state, it's always a good idea to visit your physician or an alternative health care provider for a check up.  There are a number of physical problems that can contribute to feeling depressed or anxious (thyroid and other hormone imbalances, blood sugar levels, etc.)    

  • Sleep is extremely important.  If you are having a hard time sleeping visit a health care professional and explain the problem.  Get some help.   The most stable, healthy people feel awful and a little crazy after not sleeping  for a few days.  After a couple of nights of good sleep many  people feel much better and more able to view their current situation with more clarity.

  • Try going substance free (unless you are physically addicted, in which case medical supervision is necessary.)  Alcohol is a depressant.  Hang-overs can feel a lot like panic attacks.  Caffeine is an agent that can create anxiety and irritability.  Marijuana can be both depressive and paranoia inducing.  If you're not feeling in top form it may be that what you're putting into your body is contributing to your current state.

  • Self care is key.  Try to eat nutritious, hot meals.  Go to the gym or take a walk at lunch in the sunshine.  Call a trusted friend and share what's going on with you, or just connect.  Go to church or a meditation group.  Go do something fun!  Watch a funny movie. 

  • Exercise can make a big difference.  Researchers have found that 2 weeks of 1 hour of aerobic exercise a day can profoundly, and positively, impact mood.  

  • Many of us watch the news every night.  In these turbulent times, the news can be depressing and scary.  If you're having a hard time in your personal life, try taking a vacation from the news.  You don't need to add to your worries by being reminded of the bad things going on in the world.

     Attitudinal Reminders:

  • When you are having a hard time try adopting an attitude of curiosity.  Ask yourself "what am I feeling and needing?  What's going on with me right now?'  Don't judge your experience as good or bad (which stops inquiry and often leads to beating up oneself), just be open to knowing.

  • Be kind to yourself.  When we feel bad we're often hard on ourselves.  Approach yourself with compassion and kindness.  Uncomfortable feelings aren't a sign of being a bad person - they are part of being human.

  • Remember that for most of us life is a series of good and bad days.  When you are having a good day enjoy it - take note!  When you're having a bad day practice just noticing that.  Having a bad day, week or even month, does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with you or your life.

  • Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  If you are having a tough time, talk to friends or family.  Withdrawing from loved ones is a sign of depression.  Feeling connected to people who care about us usually makes us feel better.  If you are uncomfortable talking to someone in your life, but really need to talk, maybe it's time to contact a professional.
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