There are many things that connect one stranger to another; things that no matter where you are in the world or who you are in the world, you can relate to on some level. One universal emotion is pain. Everyone has had one of those days where you just can’t get out of bed in the morning or you scream to some invisible force for screwing with you. Despite the negative connotation of pain, there is a sense of beauty in the emotion. Pain is one of the foundations of humanity that links even the most seemingly opposite people together. Therefore, we all have to find ways to deal with it, and luckily there are plenty of people to throw out advice. From one stranger to another, here are 10 ways to make yourself feel better:
Sometimes all you need to realize that what you’re feeling isn’t actually the end of the world is to see it right in front of you. Putting your emotions into words and taking it out of your head can be the best way to see for yourself that it probably seemed a lot worse in your mind. It is easy to have one negative feeling build on another and keep building until it seems unmanageable. If those thoughts can’t go anywhere but be confined to your brain, of course it will seem like the end of the world. Making those insecurities or bad memories tangible puts things into much needed perspective.
2. Dedicate time for yourself.
Go somewhere you can be alone and not disturbed and do something you like to do or that you know relaxes you. This can act as a form of meditation which is scientifically proven to improve your mood. Go get your nails done (guys can get their nails manicured, too), get a massage, take a walk in a park or around your neighborhood… It will be specific to each person but dedicating time to just yourself can give you the much needed break you’ve needed.
3. Watch a movie, read a book, or get into a new TV show.
I want to separate this method from the previous method because I think there is truly something special about being able to escape from your world and jump into a new one. Art is a form of magic; it can transport you and transcend you. You get to experience other lives, other people, and other places. When you’re feeling really down on yourself and can’t take another minute being you, sometimes the best antidote is simply taking a break from just that. Don’t be you; be Harry Potter or James Bond or Pam Beesly. Even though you will have to return to your life eventually, it is nice to take a break from the everyday struggle of living your life for a little while.
4. Plan something fun.
Something that has gotten me through some tough times is being able to look forward to something else. So you’re in a crappy job with a crappy boss; plan a road trip with a couple of friends on your next day off. You and your significant other just broke things off for good; plan to do something way out of your comfort zone like sky diving. Whatever the problem is, whatever the tough time is, if you have something that brings you the smallest shred of excitement, it will help lessen the pain.
5. Give yourself the advice you would give to someone else in your situation.
This method is not only a tactic used by professionals but it is also one of the most effective in this list to get through difficult times. Whatever the situation that you’re in that is making you miserable, what would you tell someone else who is going through that same thing? Write it down. Write yourself a letter. This sounds super cheesy and most people would just brush it off as stupid or silly but TRUST ME, it works. It instantly puts things into perspective and makes you realize that you can and will get through it. Keep the advice you wrote to yourself to look at when things get tough again. It is also great to look back and read it when you do get through it because it can remind you of how strong you actually are.
6. Talk to a parent.
I don’t care if you’re 6 years old, 16 years old, or 60 years old. Your parents will always be there for you and always know a lot more about life than you do. Who knows, they may have even gone through the exact thing you are going through and have some killer advice to help you get past it. It constantly amazes me when my mom or dad have the ability to say exactly what I needed to hear. Unlike friends, they don’t care if you rant 24/7 or vent to them every single day; they eat that stuff up. So, appreciate them and their support and call them up!
Now this one will also be another method that people dismiss. I would have dismissed it a month ago, too. But, I have recently discovered the power of exercise to take out your frustrations. It doesn’t even have to be this intense, painful workout. Go take a walk or a jog on a treadmill or do some crunches. I do think this method varies for everyone because I know I used to HATE working out. I would dread going to the gym if I ever even went. But after starting college and having a gym about a two minute walk away from me, I quickly learned that it is a nice escape when things get overwhelming. And on top of that, you always feel good about yourself leaving the gym.
8. Make amends with someone from your past.
A million things could be wrong when you’re not feeling like yourself but one way to ease your conscience is to fix a wrong from your past. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, it always feels good to let go of a grudge and eliminate another reason for you to be unhappy. Life sucks sometimes and people suck sometimes but that doesn’t mean you have to let it follow you for the rest of your life. You also don’t have to abandon your principles to make amends with someone who possibly did you wrong. Just let them know you’re over it and ready to move on. It will not only make you feel great but it is also very liberating. It could lift the weight off your shoulders you didn’t even know you had.
9. Experience inspiration.
This can mean a multitude of things… You could go watch a speaker who has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles (for example, Malala Yousafzai). Take a class you’ve always wanted to take (cooking, painting, philosophy, whatever!). Join a club you never thought you would join. Volunteer (animal shelter, homeless shelter, school, etc.). Go out and be inspired. It is much easier than you’d think.
10. Let life happen.
One of the most life-changing things you can realize is that time really does heal all wounds. Before you know it, you’ll get your groove back. You just have to have faith in that. In the meantime, just go through the motions and try and find joy in the mundane. Sometimes the best thing to do when you’re feeling pain is to just let life happen. Time will fix the rest.