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?
Chances are you’ve spent a LOT of time deliberating on the ‘right’ food to eat. After all, your well being relies on your eating a healthy diet. But what is a healthy diet?
• Low fat?
• Low glycemic?
• Fresh and locally grown?
• Gluten free?
• Low carb?
• High protein?
You get the picture, right? An Amazon.com search for diet books resulted in 182,659 books. That’s a lot of opinions on the right diet. You’ll be very busy trying to keep up with all the theories and expert recommendations. And you still might not get there.
As a personal trainer, and holistic health counselor, I experimented with many dietary theories. Here's one of the things I noticed, most of us have been taught to focus on food as our primary nutrient but it’s not the whole picture.
Whether you were born in the Sudan or Switzerland, Great Britain or Guyana, there are 3 primary nutrients that are essential to life. You can live without …
air for 3 minutes
water for 3 days
food for 3 weeks
If you look at your primary nutrients from this perspective you can see that …
Primary nourishment comes from air
Secondary nourishment comes from water
Tertiary nourishment comes from food
Consider that your primary nutrients (physical energy sources) have a corresponding frequency which can be viewed as: body/mind/soul, physical/mental/spiritual, effect/cause/energy. (Pick your paradigm.)
And … what if some of the imbalances that we experience could be more readily remedied if we approached a health strategy that made use of all 3 primary nutrients.
When viewed in this way you can see that there are more sources of nourishment than you initially might have imagined. For example, if we're looking at secondary nourishment, you can add more water to your diet and you can also remove some structure from your schedule and allow for more flow in your workday.
We'll explore the other energy sources more deeply, but for now let's get some practice on enhancing your energy using physical nourishment:
Enhance Your Physical Energy Sources
Here are three practices to boost your energy and provide long term fuel for your self care:
I've experimented with a lot of diets and dietary theories. As in all things, my suggestion is to be guided from within on choosing the energy sources for you right now. The more you do this the more you dynamically design your diet, you eat intuitively knowing what's right for you in the moment.
Today, more than ever, it’s important that you learn what’s right for you and take responsibility for your own well being. Change your energy sources and you change what’s possible in your world, beginning with your physical, emotional and spiritual well being. That’s a great foundation to build an extraordinary life.
We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live life fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating, and adventuring. Consequently, the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventure of our lifetime.
~ Herbert A. Otto
As you do so, you impact those around you. The more this becomes the norm for most of us, the sooner it becomes the norm for all of us.
PS Ready to nourish your self?