There really is a lot we can do to start feeling better. Most therapists will include these ideas in the course of therapy. They are common sense recommendations, often reflected by common parlance. You know them all but it is useful to be reminded of what keeps us well mentally and emotionally, as we tend to â€œforgetâ€ the good counsel at times of trouble:
- Problem shared is problem halved- stay connected with important people in your life.
We are social creatures and need others as much as they need us. When we share with others and receive their support we experience their empathy and that tells us how important we are to them. That is a good base for healthy self-esteem. By talking to friends and family we also might be introduced to another view point, which can change the way we feel about a problem. Spending time with people we like and love also provides an element of fun and can help put things in perspective.
When we feel down, wanting to shut down and withdraw is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. By doing the opposite you really can change things around.
- Glass half empty or half full? Notice what you have and capitalise on it
When we face a problem it is easy to feel like it is blocking everything out and marring the enjoyment of other areas of our life. There is always more to our life than the problem and there may be plenty we are inadvertently overlooking when it comes to what we have, our strengths and opportunities. Example: children drive you mad. What you may take for granted is the fact that you do have a family to share your life with.While noting it may do nothing for the current irritation, keeping in mind the positive aspects of what you have helps put it into perspective and address the issue with less negativity. Another example: no relationship and really longing for it? What you may be overlooking is the opportunity to use the time when you are single to develop new skills and pursue your interests or passions.
- Well done! Notice your own achievements
In Britain we are oh so very good at understatement and self-deprecating talk. How about trying something different? Perhaps in the privacy of your own thoughts at first? Start making a list of everything you achieved in the day- from getting the kids to school on time, through taking a deep breath and not rising to a provocation, to a small act of kindness. You will be surprised how, over time, this new habit will strengthen your sense of achievement and competency.
- Live and let live- nobodyâ€™s perfect- so let go of idea of perfection.
The tyranny of perfection can be exhausting. Embrace some of your own shortcomings and celebrate the quirky ways of those you love. Notice that we cannot have it all and that there is a price to pay for every choice we make. With that in mind draw your list of priorities, attend to them and let the less important aspects of your life be beautifully imperfect!
- Be as kind to yourself as you are to those you love
Most of us keep double standards when it comes to what we expect from ourselves (an awful lot) and what we are willing to accept in those we love. Notice if you tend to do just that and extend a little kindness also to yourself.
- Find or rediscover something that brings you joy
Think of what excites or inspires you. Being creative in some way? Giving to others? Learning a new skill? Physical exercise? A good novel? Whatever it is for you, have a go at finding a little time everyday for what you love. Better still, try and find like- minded people who share your interests. Doing things together will keep you motivated and might be the beginning of new connections.
- Use your body
You really do not have to sweat in the gym! There is physical activity for everyone and it may be walking, dancing, swimming or even hoovering, if that takes your fancy. Not only will exercise release happy hormones but it will also remind you that your body can serve you well.
- Connect with nature
The beauty of nature has healing and relaxing properties and it is worth tapping into this free resource. Find beautiful nature spots near you and next time you are feeling down try and make the effort to spend some time in beautiful surroundings rather than at home. Reconnecting with nature and any exercise involved will help your mood.