If you are reading this, I’m guessing you are feeling overwhelmed or have in the past. If so, I imagine you want to cut right to the chase and start reading about how you might combat these feelings right now or for future reference.
Let’s dive right in, here’s how to cope when you feel down.
How To Cope When You Feel Down:
Remember everyone feels like this sometimes
It is important to know that you are not the only one. It is easy to feel overwhelmed but actually it is quite common. It is vital that you do not begin to imagine that it is just you. There is nothing wrong with you but by telling yourself that there is, you will only do more damage to your mental health.
Don’t let your emotions control you
Do not make any rash decisions. This may lead to severe consequences that you do not want to face. Your mood impacts how you will act towards other people, how much money you will spend and how you spend your time. Avoid any decision making if you are feeling strong emotions. Your emotions could be affecting your thinking and you might not even be aware of all the details needed to make a decision.
Talk it out
“A problem shared is a problem halved” as the saying goes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your feelings are important. So do not, I repeat do not invalidate your emotions. Talk to an adult or friend that you trust. Finding someone who will listen to your feelings will help you feel supported and less alone. This will also help you to accept what you are feeling and will help you to figure out a way to overcome your feelings.
Sometimes there won’t be a solution, but talking it out will certainly make you feel better and calm down the intensity of the issue in your mind.
Sometimes when we are feeling stressed or anxious a lot of energy builds up inside of us. Physical activity can do wonders for your mental health. I know this is probably the last thing you want to do, but by even challenging yourself to take just a quick walk around the block can ease things.
Seriously, exercise even releases serotonin (a chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy). Therefore, it is scientifically proven that exercise helps boost your mood – so what have you got to lose?
Try it, go for run, have a dance party, do whatever you need to do to alleviate the stress. Ideally have a music playlist prepared in advance. Songs that will always make you move or that make you sing along no matter what is going on. Singing is another proven way of getting that serotonin boost. Who knew randomly bursting into song could help cope with feeling down?
Write it out
A blank page is one of the best listeners you will ever find. Before you start thinking I’m crazy, hear me out. Writing down your feelings is a great way to truly express yourself. The best part is you don’t even have to make sense. You can skip sentences, words, grammar and use the most scrawly handwriting known to man. No one but you may be able to make it out but it doesn’t matter. They are your feelings and it is up to you how you want to express them. Just get them out there. A simple yet effective way to help cope when you are feeling down.
Scribble on a page
Alternatively scribbling on a page can be just as helpful. If writing isn’t your thing or doesn’t feel like the best method for you, try some doodling instead. You don’t need to be Leonardo De Vinci or Rembrandt. What’s important is to figure out if this method helps you out or not. So, go wild, trace your hand, colour it in, punch a hole in the page and tear it up. Whatever makes you feel better!!!
Purchase a stress ball
In my opinion stress balls are a necessity of life. You are directing all of your energy towards the ball. This will ensure reduced stress and help you from letting those emotions take over. They work extremely well in situations where you are required to sit still or are devoid of any materials you might usually use to calm yourself down. Most stress balls are small and portable which is why I always keep one in my bag of tricks.
This one is pretty simple. You think? It is the first thing to go when the pressure starts to rise. Practice breathing slowly. I usually find a count of 5 and 7 helps me. What I mean by this is to breathe in for five seconds, hold and then breath out for a count of seven. Putting your hands on your belly and watching it inflate and deflate like a balloon can help you direct your attention towards your breathing.
I would recommend lying down somewhere comfy for this but if you are in a situation where you can’t lie down sitting or standing works just as well. Just full focus on the breathing and build up a deeper inhalation and exhalation over time.
Take a nap
Sometimes the amount of energy we carry when feeling overwhelmed can be exhausting. Sleeping can help get rid of some of this intense emotion you are feeling. There is nothing that can’t be helped with a quick nap. Everything will feel calmer when you wake up. You may even find a new perspective to help you deal with your emotions.
Studies show that drinking water improves your mood. Water helps boost productivity but also brightens up your day. Being dehydrated can make you feel grumpy, sad and confused. Water helps release endorphins (a chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy). All the more reason to be drinking water. Am I right? So next time you are feeling anxious or stressed, be sure to drink plenty of water.
Take a break
Is homework or future exams stressing you out? Stop what you’re doing right now and do something completely different. Read a book, catch a movie, go finger-painting. It is important to take time away from your problems. The further away from where you are right now the better. This is so that your brain will disassociate your enjoyment from your stress and not mix them up. You’ll remember there is a lot more to life than homework and exams and this will help you feel more positive and better able to face the difficulty after a break and a bit of distance from the problem.
If you find that there is still something you can’t manage, ask for help. There is always someone who can help but you have to ask.
Take a step back
Turn stuff down. You can put yourself under immense pressure by committing to too much. Sometimes you have to say no for your own sake. Your mental health comes first, remember that. Even though you might already have agreed to undertake the task, going back and saying “sorry no can do” is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is better to do one task right rather than 100 tasks wrong and in misery.
Don’t be afraid to cry
Crying is a natural response in relation to any overwhelming emotion, whether that be happiness, sadness or frustration. Crying is a great way to self- soothe and calm yourself down. While this may seem counter intuitive, it works. Crying relaxes your brain, helps to relieve pain, releases built-up tension and enhances your mood.
Do a power pose
This may seem silly but it really helps. Before walking into an exam or a new situation, pose, as if you were superman!
A power pose increases your confidence and performance. The way we hold our body says a lot about us. Someone who stands tall is always perceived to be more successful than someone who is hunched over. Holding yourself tall will tell your brain that you are confident even if you aren’t. This will boost your mood 100 to 1 so why not give it a try.
Fake it until you make it as the popular saying goes.
Be sure to give these methods a whirl the next time you are feeling overwhelmed and remember everyone feels like this sometimes. It is very important to know that you are not the only one.
Believe in yourself, or as Oscar Wilde says “Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken”.
How do you cope when you feel down?
If you are struggling to cope when you feel down, seek help.