We all have times when we feel stress or down in the dumps. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have these feelings even if it’s just occasionally.
Stress seems to have become part of our everyday lives. But feeling down is a little different and left unaddressed it can sometimes lead to depression.
In the long term both stress and depression can affect our overall happiness and quality of life. Our relationships, family life and social life can suffer. As can our career and health.
Over the years I have developed a number of practices that lift me back up if I’m feeling down. And in my online community of midlife women we have a plethora of wisdom between us on topics such as this.
Recently I asked these amazing women what helps pick them up if they’re feeling down in the dumps and the sharing of tips was phenomenal. I’ll get to that soon but first there are a few insights I think it’s important to share.
Nothing and no one can make us feel down or stressed
No other person has the power to make us feel stress or flat only we ourselves have control over how we feel. And I believe it’s vital to take responsibility for own emotions.
That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for others to treat us poorly and it’s essential that we stand up for ourselves. However the way we feel about what happened is related to the meaning we gave it.
When we realize this we take back our own power to work through our emotions and change how we feel.
Name the emotion and feel it
Too often we choose to ignore our emotions and don’t even know what we’re actually feeling. Or we choose to stuff down what we are feeling without allowing ourselves to really experience it or work through it.
Many clients who work with me find it difficult to describe emotions initially because they have been so accustomed to not expressing them.
Personally I remember times in the past where I felt sadness rise up and I just swallowed it down and soldiered on.
Over time this can lead to feeling stuck, or experiencing a low level flatness that we feel like we can’t shift, or can eventually affect our health.
Naming emotions and allowing space to express them is essential. Tears, anger, sadness, fear they are all okay and part of our human experience. We are meant to feel them.
Explore where the stress or flatness is coming from
Our emotions are giving us messages all the time, so when we just ignore them we are missing the opportunity to expand our awareness.
And not doing this kind of exploration means that we can get easily triggered again and again, because we never learn from it. This is often called ground hog day and doesn’t allow us to have full quality of life.
When we enquire what the emotion is trying to tell us and why we feel the way we do, we often get insights that are quite profound. Personally by asking myself these kinds of questions I’ve had some big breakthroughs in self awareness, that continue to serve me well.
It’s often much easier to do this self exploration though after we have changed our emotional state. So let’s take a look at those tips I mentioned earlier to de stress and pull yourself out of doldrums. There are a few from myself, but mainly they are from my lovely community.
50 Ways to relieve stress and pick yourself up
1. Go for a walk in nature
2. Pray and go for a run
3. Express gratitude for what’s good in my life
4. Call a friend for a good chat
5. Listen to music
6. Make plans to have something good to look forward to
7. Dance with an online class
8. Work in my garden
9. Play lots of tennis
10. A long walk in nature and make a point of smiling at other walkers. If they don’t smile back remind myself that everyone feels down sometimes
11. Do yoga
12. Embrace the emotion and ask what it is trying to tell me
15. A walk where I can immerse myself in lots of green and fresh air and feel the sun on my skin
16. Making or creating something where I can lose myself in creativity
17. Doing something that brings me joy
18. If I can’t shake it off have a glass of wine and watch Netflix
19. Thinking logically or deductively about why I feel this way
20. Taking hold of perspective by considering those worse off than me
21. Journaling and Bible reading
22. Put the big girl panties on
23. Watch Graham Norton
24. Wallow in it for a while and then change my state by changing my surroundings
25. Call a friend and ask her about her day
26. Do something you love even if you have to force yourself to begin with
27. Exercise outside, a brisk walk
28. Focusing on listening to someone else
29. Laugh each day
30. Create a wellbeing list on Spotify and listen to it
And the list keeps going
31. Go for a walk with my dogs
33. Watch comedy on Netflix
34. Hug my loved ones
35. Play with my grandchildren
36. Walk on the beach
37. Smile and say hello to people and their dogs
38. Do something kind for someone else
39. Get up and move even jump up and down on the spot and shake it out
40. Write down what I am feeling
41. Sometimes I go to sleep for a while and then wake up and look from a different perspective
42. Focused deep breathing
44. Offer to walk someone’s dog if you don’t have one of your own
45. Sit on the beach, admiring the beauty and read under a tree
46. Remind myself of the wonderful place I live and the love I have in my life
47. Become aware of my self talk and change it
48. Mindful walking outside
49. Connecting with nature in a mindful way through touch, sense and feel
50. Doing yoga helps me become mind free and release the emotion
A plethora of tips and I know there are more. As I sat here writing those last few myself they just kept coming. Contact me if you would like to add more to this long list of ways to de stress and pull yourself out of the dumps. We all benefit when we share with each other.
Final words on stress and feeling down
Most importantly I think that we need to stop judging ourselves for how we feel. We are all human and all emotions are meant to be part of our experience on this planet.
As we choose to embrace all our feelings and explore the true reason we feel the way we do, we can make a difference in our own everyday life experiences and those around us.
Of course coaching can help you through the process of identifying what causes you to feel down and build your awareness so you have more control over your emotions in the future. If you would like to see what coaching can do for you CLICK HERE to book your clarity call.