How much control do you have over your mental health?

Really Down? (16 self-help ways to cope)

From the article below, you will get an idea about what to do when you are really down. I will provide you with 16 simple self-help coping strategies to overcome dark phases in your life. 

Are you feeling down?

Life is full of ups and downs. It’s like a sine curve with grooves and ridges. Every person on this planet feels down, depressed, anxious, stressed at some point of their lives. 

Here are some very easy self-help tactics which you can have a look at if you think you need help. 

Self-reflect

The first step is to become conscious about what is happening. You have to ask yourself what exactly dragged you to this condition. You reflect back to those life choices which you think are no more sustainable. You try to realize your state of darkness and acknowledge the fact that whatever you are in no more deserves your potential. 

You start questioning everything that you see is happening around you. You question your motives, other people’s motives, your beliefs, your fears, why you misbehaved, why you didn’t do things, why you succeeded, why you failed. 

Answering these questions will make you conscious of what you can and cannot control. You will realize your faults by analyzing a situation to its core. You will also find a reason for your dissatisfaction towards your life. This will help you think of possible solutions and ways to handle your problem.

Therefore, reflection and realization will bring you clarity.

 Talk out to someone

 When you are really down, do not sit back at home and get yourself trapped in the vicious circle of negativity. Ask for help from someone who you trust. 

Talking to a trustworthy person will help you with letting the negativity out and feel hopeful. A discussion with a friend about a problem you are facing might spark a moment of insight in which you are able to see how an event from earlier in your life might be contributing to your current patterns of behavior. This emotional release may help you feel better able to face your current dilemma.

Reaching out to someone for help is not easy at times. You may not have someone who you completely trust or you may have  a fear of getting judged. In that case, consider asking for help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They will make you go through talk therapies and counselling which can be very helpful in situations of distress and despair.

 Listen to music

Music is an amazing source of sensory pleasure. Good rhythm, tone, melody, lyrics will help you heal your worse mood, make you feel less alone and inspire you to get going.

Cuddle or play with pets

Cuddling and playing with pets are  good ways of therapy too. Pets can increase your energy level, make your heart and soul feel better. If you cuddle your beloved pet, all your stress, anxiety and distress will go away in seconds. 

Go for a walk

Going for a walk is a good way to uplift your mood. Whenever you feel low, just get yourself clad in a comfortable outfit and move out. Walking will help you find a lot of elements to attend to such as houses, trees, dogs, people, lakes and people; this will serve as a distraction and make you feel better.

Undergo catharsis

Emotional catharsis is a basic need of every human. The term itself comes from the Greek katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing”. With the help of catharsis we shed off all the negativities, complications and hopeless thoughts. Further it cleanses our mental impurities and motivates us to start anew.

Writing a journal helps a person to shed off all the negative thoughts. When you are down and there is nobody to listen to, writing about your feelings will help you feel lighter and relaxed. 

Crying is also a helpful catharsis option. It will help you to let go of stress, anxiety, pain, toxins by boosting our mood and relaxing the body.

Hug someone

Virginia Satir, a family therapist says, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research shows that hugging is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

 Let’s look at the benefits of hugging:

  • lower our stress throughout the day
  • can also give our immune system a healthy boost
  • might even lower heart rates and blood pressure.
  • could lead to decreased depression
  • e nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety.
  • Hugging boosts self-esteem
  •  Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter

Laugh

 ” Laughter is the best medicine”. 

Laughing and smiling is the most required emotion a human being needs to make them emotionally strong and stable. Laughing is like a medicine. It instantly fills you with happiness, hope and optimism. A happy mood makes a person live longer.

There are numerous benefits of laughter on our emotional and physical well-being. Let’s look at them :

  •  Laughter relaxes the whole body
  •  Laughter boosts the immune system.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins
  •  Laughter protects the heart
  •  Laughter burns calories
  •  Laughter stops distressing emotions
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge
  •  Laughter draws you closer to others
  •  Laughter may act as a natural antidepressant.
  • you breathe better after laughing.
  • Laughter calms stress hormones.
  • Improves Memory Recall

Get back to the past

Whenever you feel dejected, read good old emails, comments, texts and listen to kind voice notes of your mother, grandmother, lover or anyone close. You can also look at old photographs, paintings, gifts, journals and make yourself get back to those days when you were young and life was simple. Rejuvenating your mind with old memories will bring in you happiness and hope.

Write yourself a letter

Try this out. This is really healing. When you feel down try to sit calmly with a pen and paper. Imagine you have a future version of yourself waiting to become you after a few years. Write a letter to him/her saying how life has treated you till now; how life is treating you right now; how you will be overcoming this phase with power and resilience and you cannot wait to meet your future self, a stronger version of yourself.

Introspect 

To deal with depression, you should start with basic techniques of nurturing mental peace and tranquility. 

The first thing that you can do is introspect, that is to understand the inner you. Asking questions like why and how will make you understand a situation from a broader perspective. Introspection will also help you become much more aware thus you can take control over your actions and behaviors.

The term introspection is also used to describe a research technique that was first developed by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt(also known as experimental self-observation). According to him benefits of introspection includes:

  • Gaining personal knowledge
  • Being aware of you own thoughts, experiences and actions

At home you can introspect by practising mindfulness through meditation, pranayama or breathing exercises.

There are all kinds of deep breathing exercises out there. Find one you like and do it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overly emotional.  

Cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is the most powerful gift one can ever give to others and most importantly to their own self. 

Your journey from hitting rock bottom would end with the exchange of gratitude. You will have to start with basic contributions such as praising yourself for the littlest of things, encouraging yourself for being able to do away with your bad habits, paying gratitude to yourself for being courageous enough to get out of the dark phase of life and stand with your head held high.

 Your existence is a constant prayer of gratitude to the universe and to yourself for having the courage to move beyond hard times and choose life when you could have chosen a number of other options just to make the pain go away. 

Your darkest times have given you things like depth, wisdom, courage which cannot be learned anywhere else. Look back and evaluate those dark times; try to create a positive outlook towards it. Thank yourself for making it possible for you to win the challenges of life. 

Lastly the most pure, simple and basic thing that you can nurture to make your life happening is to believe that “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude” – Karl Barth.

Watch stand-up comedies

YouTube is an abode of content full of fun stuff. Try watching stand-up comedies which will absolutely make you laugh. Usually stand-up comedians make puns on very simple issues and experiences we have in our daily lives. That will make you relate to those puns and get humour out of it. You can get over your low mood instantly.

Some extremely famous YouTube videos and comedians are linked here :

https://youtu.be/88bD9f2MivI ( Trevor Noah is my favourite)

https://www.mansworldindia.com/more/humour/worlds-10-best-stand-up-comedians/

Bake something

Who doesn’t like desserts? Everyone does. If you already know how to bake, try out new baking recipes. If you don’t, try it out, it is therapeutic. The smell of chocolate, vanilla butter is so tempting that you cannot restrict yourself but get addicted to the habit of baking. It will help you cope with anxiety, stress and distract you from all the negativities.

 Daydream

Take a mental vacation. Let your mind wander for a while. 

Let go

To hold on to bad experiences is the most deadly habit one person can ever have. Life is so short. If you spend half your life just holding onto things, you can never enjoy it. With every step you will get stuck at some point in your past and never come back. Life will become a place filled with negativity and darkness. 

With clarity and self-reflection you will start letting go of the old ideas and beliefs which are no more working. You will broaden your mind towards new ideas, people, opportunities, talents and experiences. As you empty your cup, so to speak, you fill it back up with stuff that you actually want, instead of accepting what was unconsciously passed onto you. Life hands you a fresh cup of reality.

Conclusion
From the article above, you have gotten an idea about what to do when you are really down. I am sure these 16 simple self-help coping strategies will help you to overcome dark phases in your life. 

FAQs: Really Down

How long does low mood last?

If it lasts more than 2 weeks, it might signal the presence of depression.

How can I lift my mood?

  1. Get more sleep.
  2. Exercise more. 
  3. Volunteer in nature. 
  4. Spend time outdoors. 
  5. Cultivate eudaimonic happiness

What foods lift your mood?

  • Fatty fish. 
  • Dark chocolate. .
  • Fermented foods. 
  • Bananas.
  • Oats. 
  • Berries. 
  • Nuts and seeds. 
  • Coffee.

  How to let go?

To hold on to bad experiences is the most deadly habit one person can ever have. Life is so short. If you spend half your life just holding onto things, you can never enjoy it. With every step you will get stuck at some point in your past and never come back. Life will become a place filled with negativity and darkness. 

With clarity and self-reflection you will start letting go of the old ideas and beliefs which are no more working. You will broaden your mind towards new ideas, people, opportunities, talents and experiences. As you empty your cup, so to speak, you fill it back up with stuff that you actually want, instead of accepting what was unconsciously passed onto you. Life hands you a fresh cup of reality.

How can I lighten my mood at work?

  •  Introduce plants in the office. 
  •  Offer healthy snacks. 
  •  Set up some fun goals or challenges for your team. 
  •  Run retrospectives. 
  •  Bring pastries or croissants at weekly/monthly team meetings. 
  •  Encourage fitness or sports activities. 

References

https://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-cuddling

https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/benefits-of-crying/

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/30-ways-to-improve-your-mood-when-youre-feeling-down/

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A final year undergraduate, currently pursuing a bachelors in Behavioral Science. I have a keen interest in understanding human behavior and cognition, alongside a fascination towards neuropsychology, psychopathology and lifespan development. I am aware of contemporary research studies happening in the field of psychology. Attention to detail, critical thinking and perspective-taking are my skillset Other than these, I like to bake, doodle and sing along to my keyboard too.