10 things to do when feeling down

There are many degrees and shades of not feeling good, from bad mood to serious depression. The latter requires professional treatment, but there are many things to do when feeling down in the ‘common’ way, and considerably improve one’s state of mind. This article explores a variety of ways to come out of those low states.

Explore a Variety of Techniques

We are all different and that’s why I have selected a range of different techniques and approaches, so you can choose a technique that resonates with you. I would recommend exploring all the techniques, comparing their effectiveness, and decide what works for you best. I use a mixture of all these techniques, according to a specific situation.

Feeling Depressed for No Reason?

It’s hard to count how many times in the past I asked myself: “Why do I feel depressed for no reason?” Generally, I perceive myself as a joyful person with almost childlike curiosity about life and fascination by the beauty of creation, but because I can reach such internal highs, feeling truly ecstatic, I can also get seriously down, to the point of self-destructive thoughts. And often there is no clear reason for such states.

I have long acknowledged and accepted this fact about myself, but I have also decided to work on it. I’ve made myself a promise that if I find myself feeling low, I won’t feel guilty for having these emotions, but I will make an effort not to stay in such states for long. I want to systematically work on strengthening my emotional resilience. That’s why I have researched many different ways that would help me spring back from the dark places very fast, and which I could then share with others.

Below is a list of ten techniques or concepts that I have found helpful, and which I frequently use to feel good and keep the low states of mind at bay. I hope that you will find some of them helpful too.

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martial_arts

1) Change Your Physical State

There are many ways to improve our emotional state by changing our physical state. In this section, I will describe four different approaches.

When I feel generally low and demotivated for no obvious reason, I follow the techniques that the ‘motivational guru’ Tony Robbins often uses during his talks and seminars.

These techniques are meant to change your physical state, alter your brain chemistry, and consequently improve the way you feel. You’ll basically trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy when you feel the very opposite. Your brain will then release some feel-good chemicals, which will result in improving your mood, and your day may be saved from being a near-failure into a day with a new perspective, filled with inspired, meaningful action and sense of connection with everyone.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

It takes some will to get yourself to do anything when you’re miserable, but there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve overcome your worst self and conquered your own mind. Just like The Buddha said –

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.”

angel statue

Strike Some Power Poses

Our posture and body language affect how others perceive us, but – and much more importantly – it also affects how we perceive ourselves. Tony Robbins believes that assuming a confident posture even when we don’t feel confident can increase feelings of confidence in the present moment, while in the long run it positively impacts our chances for success.

To sum up:

Our physiology can change our minds.

Our minds can change our behavior.

Our behavior can change our outcomes.

These points have been a subject of many studies, including a Harvard University study conducted by Dr. Amy Cuddy, whom Tony Robbins often quotes during his talks and events.

The following two simple techniques that Tony Robbins shows in the video further down are known as ‘Power Poses’. They’ve also been explored in Dr. Cuddy’s academic paper published in Psychological Science.

The first Power Pose is done by standing straight with your shoulders back, and placing your hands on your hips, and remaining in this resolute, ‘Wonder Woman’ posture, for up to two minutes.

This should help you feel more clear-minded and decisive.

wonder woman

The second technique is based on the theory that making an expansive posture helps people (and animals!) feel more powerful. Expand and raise your arms upwards as is you were shouting “Hooray!”

expanding_pose

In fact, saying “Hooray” to yourself can make the technique even more effective. (Even if you start with a genuinely sour, resentful face!)

Do this three times and notice how you feel afterwards.

This is one of my favourite techniques, because if I’m feeling low or grumpy and try to do this, the sheer absurdity of it makes me laugh, and I know I’m on my way from my misery.

You can check one of Tony Robbin’s motivating mini-lessons on breaking your negative thinking here:

You can also visit his website and glance through all his personal and professional development programs here: https://naturegrooves.com/tony-robbins-programs.

rebounder

Vigorously Move Your Body

A very simple and effective way to improve your state of mind is to move your body. This will change your physical state instantly. Dancing is one of the best ways to trigger joyful, liberating feelings and diminish the bad ones.

Whenever I think of dance as a way of freeing the mind from all troubles, it makes me remember several poignant scenes from Zorba the Greek. However, for most people, it’s impossible to force themself to dance when they’re feeling low (unlike Zorba, who was able to transform any misfortune, deep grief included, into a wild dance).

If dancing is the last thing you’d think of when you’re in a miserable place, I’d highly recommend getting a rebounder and try some jumping instead. I find it incredibly helpful when I feel down; the flying movement, without having to develop much effort, always lifts my mood.

Or, if I feel angry, jumping helps me to get rid of excessive energy. It feels as if I am literally shaking all the bad thoughts off. After all, we are made of energy, and emotions are just various forms of energy. Energy sometimes over-accumulates or gets stuck, making us feel out of sorts, but fortunately we can influence energy by movement. (Hooray!)

Jumping on a rebounder gets the lymph moving, which helps remove toxins from the body, toxic thoughts included.

getting a back massage

Have a ‘Spinal Flush’

Spinal Flush is a simple, but very effective massage technique that I’ve learned from Donna Eden, the renowned energy medicine practitioner and teacher. It is based on pressing the areas about an inch outward from your spine, in a downward movement.

Massaging your body can considerably improve both your physical and emotional state, and Spinal Flush reduces a large amount of your accumulated stress and emotional tension by ‘flushing’ the built-up toxins away.

This technique can be a very welcome treat for women experiencing PMS, and for anyone who feels down in the dumps or is simply tired. I can guarantee that after several rounds of Spinal Flush you will feel considerably relaxed and rejuvenated.

I have described the Spinal Flush in more detail in the article Two Simple Techniques for Deep Relaxation, where you can also watch a video of the charming Donna Eden and her husband David Feinstein demonstrate this technique. It’s very well worth learning if you want to give your partner or friend a big treat!

donna-eden-holding-neurovascular_points

Donna Eden and David Feinstein

Hold the Neurovascular Points on Your Forehead

You can change your physical state and shift your emotions with the following simple technique, also taught by Donna Eden. It involves holding the two frontal eminences on your forehead. They are known as the neurovascular points.

When you are stressed, a large amount of blood flows into your muscles to help you ‘flee the enemy’. Your brain doesn’t know it is only a stressful thought. Holding your neurovascular points will cause the blood flow back to your head and restore calm.

The technique is simple: Put your one hand over your forehead and the other hand over the back of your head, while thinking of something that bothers you.

By doing this, you will be redirecting the blood flow back to your brain, because the electromagnetic fields of your hands can influence your blood flow and draw it towards them. Bringing the blood back to the head will teach the ‘fight or flight’ system of your brain to respond in a calm way, rather than perceiving your every stressful thought as an emergency-trigger.

You can watch a video of Donna Eden showing this technique in my article How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety. You may also try the fun kinesiology-based experiment with lifting the kettle, described in the article. Children love this experiment!

contentment

2) Internalise That You Are Enough

When I notice that my confidence and self-esteem are plummeting, and my mind is haunted by images from my youth when I felt bullied or belittled by some of my peers, I listen to the renowned British psychotherapist Marisa Peer (pun purely coincidental). She has developed a unique method partially based on autosuggestion and hypnotherapy, which can ‘rewire’ your mind to free you from old patterns of self-sabotage and negative thinking.

In her talks and workshops, Marisa Peer highlights the following three points:

1) The common denominator of all our emotional issues is that we don’t feel good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, wealthy enough, talented enough…in short: We don’t feel we are enough.

2) The major cause of depression are the harsh, hurtful words you say to yourself.

3) Your own praise is more effective than praise from anyone else.

The main aim of Marisa’s work is to us fully implement the belief that we are enough. Under her guidance, many people have experienced deep healing from the grip of their subconscious mind and limiting beliefs.

If you’d like to learn more about her method, you can watch her free masterclass.

I Am Enough Marisa Peer

3) Observe The Voice in Your Head

I often notice that there’s a voice in my head which is making a list of all the things I should worry about. However, the very fact that I manage to notice it is good news. In the past, I would not actively notice the voice; I used to think that I was the voice – and that had caused me to feel bad far too often.

As soon as you learn to recognize the anxious, negative self-talk, you are on your way to freeing yourself from it. You will be able to savour the present moment and become a much more content person.

This concept forms a large part of the teachings of the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, which has been crucial for helping me gain better control over my thoughts and emotions.

His teachings, closely related to Zen Bu