If you have been feeling down in the dumps, rest assured you are not alone. Everyone and I mean each one of the 7.5 billion (according to worldometer) human beings present on this earth right now, have had to struggle with that ‘blue’ feeling at one time or another. ‘C’est la vie’, as the French say. So even though it’s normal, it can sometimes, become abnormal, especially if you stop struggling and start accepting it, as part of who you are. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, it can help you in various situations but accepting yourself to be a victim of circumstances and accepting sadness as a permanent feature in your life is not acceptance my friend, it’s called ‘resignation’ ‘defeat’. And since, I have referred to you as my friend I would not like you to be labeled as morose or melancholic, hence, I am going to let you in, on some tips to ward off that feeling of impending doom.
1. Treat yourself
It’s good to pamper yourself once in a while. All work and no play, often makes you miss out on the most important part of the equation, ‘yourself’. If you have been strictly counting the calories, give yourself a break and indulge in some rich chewy chocolate brownie, topped with crunchy nuts and a generous helping of divine vanilla ice cream or whatever it is, that you have been craving. High sugar and high fat foods, hyperstimulate our brain’s pleasure center, and causes the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with motivation and movement, also known as the pleasure chemical’.
A healthier, alternative to ‘treating’ yourself, is a day well spent at the spa. A nice relaxing massage will promote secretion of the mood regulating neurotransmitter serotonin and make you feel much better.
2. Watch some comedy
Whenever, you are down tune in to Paramount Comedy or watch your favorite comedy film. Watching Pink Panther’s scene on repeat, where Steve Martin is trying to learn English, always cheers me up instantly. In no time, from streams of tears gushing forth from my eyes, I am rolling on the floor with laughter. A study at California’s Loma Linda University, found that laughter can reduce the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Thus, a good laugh can have a calming effect, loosening your muscles and relieving them of tension for up to 45 minutes after.
3. Listen to some music
There are different genres of music to match your countless moods. There is soft slow music, which helps you cry, brings your unexpressed emotions to the surface, so you can deal with them and accept them. Then there is heavy metal type, to help you vent suppressed anger. Then there is the upbeat, dance n pop which can inspire you, to tap into your creativity. Music is powerful, it stimulates the brain. It helps release, endorphins and dopamine causing stress levels and blood pressure to lower, resulting in a soothing effect. Dr. Peter Sleight at the University of Oxford, in a research indicated, that it can not only help improve athletic performance but also initiate movement in neurologically impaired patients of stroke and Parkinson’s. Finland among other Nations is increasingly resorting to music therapy as a much cheaper alternative to depression medication.
‘So please don’t the music’, while I make my way over to my favorite place… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZJ9tx_zk4A
Exercise doesn’t particularly refer to sweating it out, hours in the gym. As a matter of fact, the best way to exercise is by choosing an activity that you enjoy, it can be; running, cycling, dancing. For me, a walk in the park not only adds up to my required, 150 minutes per week of recommended aerobic activity but it also has a Zen effect. Moderate to intense physical activity, causes the brain to release chemicals called endorphins. ‘Endorphins’, also known as the ‘happy/feel good’ hormones also have a pain killing effect much like morphine. They can reduce stress and induce positive feelings. Interestingly, according to WebMD, research reveals that exercise is often an ‘underused treatment for mild to moderate depression’.
5. Be present in the moment
This is also called ‘mindfulness’. Most negative feelings come from dwelling on misfortunes in the past or even fears of the future. So often, we are so wrapped up in lamenting the past and dreading the future, we totally miss out on the present. Mindfulness is at the heart of Buddhism, yoga, Taoism. This is what formed the basis of Wordsworth and Emerson’s poetry. The difference between, all those people who were epitome of peace and came forward with such beautiful pieces on Nature; and us, is that we often overlook the beauty around us. If we stop and absorb all our surroundings, we will learn much and appreciate much. For instance, if we are having lunch out in the open and we pay attention to the azure sky or the birds chirpily chasing each other, we will be overwhelmed with a sense of wonderment, our disposition will automatically turn from dismal to one more hopeful and joyous.
Psychologists say, that people who have or develop the art of ‘savoring the moment’ perform better, have higher self esteem and are generally happier. Mindfulness also has multiple health benefits like, boosting immunity, decreasing stress, pain, reducing risk of heart disease. Hence, become consciously aware of your here and now to stave off feelings of despondency.
6. Surround yourself with positive people and positive things
Happiness is contagious unlike depression, reveals a collaborated study conducted by the Universities of Manchester and Warwick (journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B). So just calling or hitting up with your friend, chatty Betty or jubilant John, might leave you feeling much more energized than you did before.
Subscribe to motivational pages on social media, like Positive Outlooks on Facebook, Zigziglar on Instagram, Paulo Coelho on Twitter, they will keep you updated with uplifting quotes. Besides, you can even make your favorite motivational quote the wallpaper on the home screen of your laptop or cell phone. I have seen people, who get such gems of wisdom, enlarged, framed and hang them in their rooms or offices, needless to say that as a rule they are merrier than the rest, who don’t bother. We, even the best of us need constant reminders and motivators to keep us going. So what are you waiting for, take your choicest quote and hang it on that bare wall!