10 Ways to Feel Better When You’re Down by Jen Lawrence
They say that into every life a little rain must fall… Sometimes, however, it pours. If you’ve been struggling lately, here are 10 proven ways to improve your mood.

1. Breathe.

Genesis 2:7 reads, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” We need air to survive, but when is the last time you sat and took a full breath?  Sit somewhere quiet  and focus on feeling the air moving in and out of your lungs. Taking the time to really breathe helps calm the nervous system and will help you start to feel better right away.

2. Make self-care a priority.

When the chips are down, it’s hard to remember to eat well, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and do all of the other little things that keep us on an even keel. Try a new fitness class or cook your way through a healthy cookbook. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep and drink some water to make life seem more manageable. 

3. Do nothing.

Pslam 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” If you are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to do nothing for a while. Read the bible, pick up a magazine (we love Life:Beautiful), or watch a home decorating show on TV. Sometimes you just need to give your brain and body time off and reconnect with the beauty in the world.

4. Find someone who understands.

When bad things happen, there is often the desire to retreat inward and hide under the covers, but it’s better to stay connected. Talk to your minister. Reach out to other safe people with whom you can share your struggles. (Town gossips need not apply for the job!) If you don’t have a close confidant, there are plenty of online discussion groups for people going through just about anything. There is comfort in finding people who understand what you’re facing, and the empathetic reaction of others can help restore your faith.

5. Go pro.

There are so many talented people who are experts in helping people in times of crisis. Talk to your doctor, pastor, employee assistance program, or Christian counsellor. Prayer is important but don’t be afraid to ask for expert help if you find yourself in a slump. 

6. Help someone.

Smile at the store clerk. Put your change in the charity box at the checkout counter. Write a short online review of a book you enjoyed or local business you frequent. When you are down, it’s hard to be wildly magnanimous but small acts of kindness go a long way towards making you feel better.

7. Go for a walk.

If you are down, try to get out for a short walk. The combination of exercise and nature is a healing combination.

8. Set a goal for a year from now.

Set a small goal for a year from today. Maybe you want to read a three new books by the end of the year, or meet one new person, or learn to kayak. Set a goal that is a bit of a stretch but is achievable to help rebuild your confidence.

9. Put it in perspective.

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness, discovered that life circumstances such as health, financial stability, and relationships determine a slim 10% of our overall happiness. As tough as the tough times can be, they do not define us. Even in the worst of times, you can be content. When I am really down, I remind myself of my favourite C.S. Lewis quote: “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.” Amen.

10. Be kind to yourself.

Make sure you are nice to yourself. Write a list of five things you are good at and five things that make you unique. Think about what you have rather than what you lack, as gratitude is a huge contributor to feeling good. Remember Christopher Robin’s words of wisdom to Winnie the Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Finally – and most importantly – remember that God loves you and has a beautiful purpose for your life. You are wonderfully made!