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10 Ways To Jumpstart Yourself Out Of Feeling Down

Creative Commons License photo credit: MR+G

“This is my depressed stance. When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this.” – Charlie Brown

You know those days when you just feel depressed?  I’m not talking about diagnosed Major Depression, I’m simply talking about that blue feeling we all get from time to time.

Or, maybe it’s not just from time to time, maybe there has been a period of a few weeks or a few months where things just haven’t felt right to you.  Your life isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great either, and you’re not sure exactly what’s making you feel down.

What do you do with yourself during these times?  When you feel down, it can be hard to make a plan and take action to make yourself feel better, you probably want to just lay around and stare at the wall or something.  😉  Here are some things you can do to make yourself feel better when you are depressed.

1.  Engage in physical activity – When I am feeling depressed, this would be the first thing I would do to make myself feel better.  Getting your heart rate up, sweating and working your muscles really helps to shift your focus from your mind to your body, so you can take your mind off of feeling down.  Don’t forget lighter forms of physical activity either.  Taking a walk, stretching or playing with your pets can also do the trick.

2. Watch what you put in your body – When I feel down, I tend to want to eat fast food burgers and fries, but really, this won’t help me feel better.  I tend to just feel more lethargic.  Better fuel for my body means I generally feel better.  Poor fuel means I’m just adding to my depression.

3. Go Outside – Spending time in nature is rejuvenating for our souls.  The sounds, the smells and the sights all help to remind us that we are connected to the natural world.  We gain a sense of well-being and a fresh perspective when we are outside.(link to rejuvenate yourself with nature)

4. Get in touch with a friend – When we spend time with people we enjoy, we can’t help but feel better.  Not only are we connecting with a fellow human being, but hopefully we are doing a lot of laughing.  I have friends where everything is funny when we are together.  Laughter is healing.

5. Find the humor in the situation – Sometimes when we are really feeling down, we can start to take everything way too seriously.  Pull back from your situation and find something funny about it.  When I was depressed because I was in a job that I hated, one day I realized that I was in the exact opposite environment that I needed to be in to really thrive.  Even though I was hating life, this made me giggle.  Humor helps us to gain perspective.

6. Break your routine – Whatever it is that you usually do, don’t do that.  Get out of town and visit a friend, go on a day trip to the world’s biggest rubber band ball (I don’t know that there actually is one, but it might be cool if there was), or simply take an afternoon off from work and go to the park.  Just break your routine.

7. Daydream and Imagine – For me, this is one way I gain tremendous amounts of energy when I don’t feel great – I simply imagine where I would like to be.  Think about the dreams you have for your life.  What do want to be?  What could you be?  Don’t limit yourself here – take off and enjoy the ride.

8. Do something creative – Paint, draw, knit, build something with your hands – it doesn’t matter what it is or if it’s any good.  This is simply creativity for creativity’s sake.

9. Take up an activity that you’ve always wanted to try –  Want to learn a new language, try skateboarding, or create a blog?  Start something that you’ve been thinking about trying.  Who knows? – this could become a new passion.

10. Change something – Finally, realize that your depression may mean that you need to make a change in your life.  Figure out why you feel the way that you do.  Where does it come from?  Make plans for change.

Do you have anything to add? What do you do that helps when you feel depressed? Feel free to add to the list in the comments!

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  1. Agree with all the ideas. Some things I avoid when going through a low phase – too much tv, sleeping long hours and listening to sad songs – they make things worse for me.

    Usually doing something outrageous and positive knocks me out of my downs – the excitement sets everything right.

    Avani’s last blog post..Following My Heart

  2. Hi Amanda,
    Sometimes we’re all a little down in the dumps. And this is a great list of ways to “unslump” yourself…as Dr. Seuss would say.

    I’m especially drawn to both nature and working out – two things that work very well for me. The one I don’t do all that often any more is daydream. And the truth is…I miss it. So, Amanda, thanks for the reminder that it’s okay to do this. I will!

    Another one for me is to just get in the car and drive. With no destination or plan. Just go….

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Dani – I’ll have to give that post a look! Thanks.

    Hi Avani – “Outrageous and positive” – I love it! I like the things you added as things to avoid – sleeping too much can definitely reinforce feeling down.

    Hi Lance – Great addition! I have a long commute to work, so sometimes the car can stress me out, but there are also times when it feels good to be on the open road. Thanks for that idea.

  4. Thanks for this. One of the most helpful things I do when I’m depressed is to get in touch with what that sensation I’m calling “depression” actually feels like. For me it’s a sinking, slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach, almost like I’m falling. But when I notice that this is what I’m calling depression, suddenly it no longer seems so heavy and serious — this sensation really isn’t preventing me from doing anything, and I don’t even have to call it “depression” if I don’t want to.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Chris – That’s an interesting idea. Since we can feel all of our emotions in our bodies, it makes sense to put our attention on those physical sensations. When you experience emotions this way, they can become less overwhelming, as you pointed out. Thanks.

  6. Fabi Aguayo Fabi Aguayo

    Thank you 🙂

  7. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Fabi – You’re welcome. 🙂

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