We all have our down days and each one of us will have our own, very personal, reasons for feeling this way. Whatever the root cause of your low mood, there are some simple things you can do to gain a new perspective on life and see things more clearly.
The next time you are dealing with stress or anxiety in your life (and mind), try to practice one or more of the following techniques that can bring you a sense of calmness and peace.
1. Think Big to Feel Small
Inside your mind, with all that chatter going on, it is easy to forget the outside world even exists. Once you open your eyes and look out at it, however, you’ll start to see your problems in a whole new light.
You are one of more than 7 billion people on this planet of ours. The Earth orbits around a star that is one of countless billions in the Milky Way and there are estimated to be 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Just let that sink in for a moment before reading any further…
Now think back to the thing that is causing you stress; does it seem less significant to you now?
Feeling small among the vastness of the cosmos isn’t reason in itself to feel down though; it should only energize you through a sense of awe and wonder.
2. Think Small to See Big
Looking up and out isn’t the only way to access a sense of perspective; focussing in on the tiny can be just as effective.
Consider your own body and the trillions of cells that are all working together in ways we can still only guess at. Think about the complex ecosystems that are all based upon a foundation of tiny creatures: algae in the sea or bacteria in the soil for instance.
Life is amazing – there is simply no getting away from it. Your life is a miracle in and of itself. Remember this when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
3. Take a Walk in Nature
The easiest way to put points 1 and 2 into practice is to leave the modern world behind, albeit temporarily. Say goodbye to your home, your office, and your possessions, and strike out into nature.
There have been numerous studies into the positive effects that simply being in the natural world can have on our mental wellbeing. Heck, you’ve probably felt it yourself during a walk in the countryside or while swimming in the sea.
So next time you’re feeling frazzled, experience nature in all its glory and let your worries fade away.
Nobody goes through life without facing struggles of one sort or another. From these challenging times, we can take comfort in the knowledge that no matter what comes our way, we have the ability to get through it.
Whatever you are facing today, you have the knowhow and the mental strength to tackle it without fear. Instead, you can approach the situation with a feeling of confidence. After all, look at what you’ve achieved up until this point.
5. Consider Those Less Fortunate
Whether it’s a report on the news or a charity fundraiser, most of us will have seen stories of people living in the most terrible conditions. It is far from a rare occurrence for people to shed a tear or two when watching such heartbreaking scenes, but have you ever stopped to think about how you feel afterwards?
Chances are that you will actually feel more content with your own life after witnessing the plight of those less fortunate. It may sound like a terrible thing to say, but seeing what others have to face on a daily basis sheds light on the path away from your own troubled thoughts and emotions.
When life next leaves you feeling glum, think about those facing real hardships, experiencing genuine threats to their very existence; it will make you thankful for everything you have.
6. Relinquish Control
One of the most difficult things to do when you are feeling down is to let go. Our minds, and more specifically our egos, cling on to the belief that they are in control of everything when, in fact, they are only in control of how they respond to the situation they face.
It is a conscious choice to accept that you do not hold power over everyone and everything around you. Once you realize this, you no longer need to dwell on thoughts and can put them to one side mentally, until the time comes to address the issue at hand.
Other times you simply need to let them go entirely and trust that whatever the problem is, it will get resolved without you needing to worry about it.
So much has been said about the power of the present moment, but it is worth repeating, if only to reinforce the message in your mind.
When you are feeling low, chances are you’ll have thoughts racing through your head; these are very rarely productive in terms of improving your wellbeing. On the contrary, they often exacerbate the problem. This is why having no thoughts at all can only serve to lift your mood and give you a new perspective on things.
So rather than rush around in a futile attempt to put the world to rights, stop for a moment, sit down and concentrate on the now in every minute detail.
The conscious rethink: how we view a situation impacts how we react to it; gaining some perspective on the matter can help alleviate any negative feelings we might have.