There are dips on the adventure of Life. Unforeseen challenges arise and problems rear their razor backed edge. You make plans. You try new things, or you're just ambling along having a mighty fine time when the floor drops. You're going to fail, make mistakes, and sometimes you're not going to feel good about it.
How can you navigate the playground of the dips you encounter on the Life adventure?
You can choose to be more self aware. You can notice the blessings and the possibilities. You can design your life on the go, instead of letting it be defined by your problems.
People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.
Everyone experiences moments, or even days, when you're just not your sparkly self. Here are 10 things sure to lift you up when you're feeling down:
1. Go On An Artist Date. This concept was popularized by author Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way. It's a solo expedition to explore something that interests you. Think artsy, fun, playful, imaginative, impromptu. As a practice it helps restore your inner wellspring of creativity which is sure to come in handy when you're in a dip.
2. Hang Out With High Vibing People. When you're not feeling great it's really important to surround yourself with people who will love you and lift you up. When you spend time with critics and complainers it's an energy downer. Whether it's family, friends, or trusted colleagues surround yourself with folks who have a positive perspective, encourage and motivate you.
3. Move Your Body. One of the best ways to pick yourself up when you’re having a rough day is to get your blood and energy in circulation. Go outside and take a walk. Ride your bike around the block. Go to the gym. Dance around the house. Get up, get moving, and get with it. Movement is a mood enhancer and feels good too.
4. Take Deep Breaths. Focusing on your breathing may not sound like much, but it can make a world of difference if you’re feeling down. Spend a few minutes focusing on nothing except your breath. Take long, slow breaths and release the heavy thoughts on each exhale. Shifting your breath shifts your emotions. That's a great start to get you out of that self dug hole.
5. Read a Good Book. Don't read a self help book, read a good novel instead. Losing yourself in a good story or identifying with a powerful character will boost your confidence and fill you with a sense of adventure. It also flexes your imagination muscle and helps spark your creativity (and possible solutions for what's weighing you down).
6. Do A Spring Cleaning (Now). Getting rid of clutter can clear not only your physical space but also your inner space. Comb through your closet, books, appliances, junk drawers and bathroom. Let it go. Not only will your mood lift, you’ll have more energy for the stuff that really needs your attention right now.
7. Write, Draw, Paint, Dance, Sculpt. Writing is usually the first thing I do when I’m feeling down. It always helps to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper. Oftentimes just reading what I've written is enough for a re-frame. If writing isn't your thing, do your thing whatever that is. Creative expression is one of the ways in which we can make sense of our life struggles and challenges.
8. Help Someone. There are two benefits here: First, the time you spend on the activity (cooking dinner, running an errand, whatever) is precious time away from whatever is bothering you. Second, the sense of accomplishment boosts your energy, and so does the gratitude of the person eating your home made chicken soup.
9. Watch a Funny Movie. When you're in the thick of feeling low, it can feel like your whole life sucks. Sometimes you just need to take a break to gain some perspective. How you’re feeling right now is one tiny moment out of the thousands you will experience. Sadness is temporary. Pain passes. Pick yourself up by watching your favorite comedian, funny movie or YouTube video.
10. Give or Get a Hug. Hugs build trust and a sense of safety. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one's serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness. Hugs strengthen the immune system and strengthen self esteem. Hugs are SO good for you and they feel awesome.
When you're feeling down it can feel all encompassing. It can color your whole world, if you let it. If you're still struggling, ask yourself this question: Will this matter in 5 years? The answer is almost always no. It's all a matter of perspective. Why sweat the momentary dips?
The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.
~ Anais Nin
Challenging situations open us up to extraordinary opportunities. I've been softened AND strengthened by the dips as much as the heights. Sometimes both are required (from someone who continues to experience an extraordinary amount of dips in her world).
Lighten Up. Enjoy the adventure. It's the only one you have.
PS Ready to lift yourself out of a dip?