Every now and then, we all get brought down by circumstances and external events. There’s just plenty of stuff that can go wrong, as make our way through what should be — and hopefully is — the great and generally awesome adventure of life.
Maybe you’re struggling with financial issues. Or you find that you’re caught repeating bad habits time and time again, and really want to stop for once and for all. Maybe you’re following a daily routine that just brings you down, but you can’t think of a realistic way of structuring things differently.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important in these trying moments to step back, take a deep breath, and take some steps to cheer yourself up and re-orient your perspective.
Here are a few tips for doing just that.
Make a plan for how you’re going to change your daily habits going forward, to be more of the kind of person you want to be, and to live the kind of life you want to live
One of the leading causes of despair and melancholy is the sensation that we just don’t have a good way of dealing with our problems, and that there’s no perceivable light on the horizon. When people have hope, and a plan, they can put up with a lot, and keep moving forward towards better times. When hope is lost, however, things are often too tough to bear.
When you find that life is getting you down, take a step back and look at the big picture. Get an idea of whether you’re heading in roughly the direction you want to in life. Maybe specific details aren’t playing out exactly as you want them to and you’ve got to adapt your immediate plans accordingly, but are you nonetheless on track for being the kind of person you want to be?
Make a plan for how you’re going to change your daily habits going forward to be more the kind of person you want to be, and to increase the odds that you’ll live the kind of life you want to live. But focus specifically on your day-to-day habits — as these truly determine the kind of person you’ll be.
Do you want to be a “fit person”, “an artist”, “a writer?” then ask yourself what each of those people would do on a daily basis, and shape your habits accordingly. Maybe that means doing an hour of exercise a day, without looking for a specific weight-loss target. Or maybe it means writing 500 words a day, or something similar.
Take steps to wrap your head around your immediate circumstances
If you’ve got specific issues hounding you at the moment, it’s important that you acknowledge them and take meaningful steps to begin working around or addressing them.
People on disability, for example, may struggle to find appropriate lenders for loans, and may need to do a lot of research to find the best offers, and may perhaps also need to consult with professional advisers on the topic.
If you have a particular financial issue hanging over your head — an expense you need to cover, or a loan you’re struggling to pay off, for example, budgeting based on your current reality (particularly along the lines of a zero-based system) might be one of the best things you could do for yourself.
And whatever the particular circumstances that you currently find yourself confronted by, and don’t enjoy, it’s always a good idea to come up with a bird’s eye overview and action plan for dealing with the situation. Using a project and life-management system such as a Bullet Journal, or David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology can go a long way in this regard, and even a run-of-the-mill checklist can help facilitate transformative action.
Get some extra sleep
Reports from the USA and the UK show that the average individual routinely gets significantly less sleep than they need on a nightly basis. And that’s not a small thing, either.
Too many people — especially the ambitious, business-minded types — seem to believe that sleep is a luxury rather than an essential requirement for a healthy and happy life. And so they cut corners here and there, and trade hours of nightly slumber for extra time in the office or down at the bar with colleagues or friends after a difficult week.
In his bestselling book, “Why We Sleep”, Matthew Walker looks at some of the science of shut-eye and concludes that good sleep is essential for the proper and healthy functioning of just about every system in the body.
If you’re feeling down, go to bed. Have a long nap. Or book yourself half a day off work just to sleep in.
Eat a delicious, carb-heavy meal
Carbs aren’t too fashionable right now, but there’s a lot of good evidence to suggest that they’re really important for health and wellbeing, especially in terms of regulating mood.
In fact, some research indicates that carbs seem to play a significant role in reducing the presence of the stress hormone cortisol in the bloodstream. Suffice to say, when your stress hormones are through the roof, you’re not likely to cope very well with the various lows and disappointing moments of life.
Comfort eating isn’t likely to be a good idea as a frequent and recurring strategy, not least of all because it promotes a dependent relationship on pleasurable food, and can contribute to weight gain and eating disorders. But if you’re feeling really wound up, eating a delicious, carb-heavy meal — which is nonetheless made up of relatively nutritious whole foods — can be a great coping strategy.
Go for things like unprocessed pasta dishes made from traditional recipes, dishes involving sweet potatoes, and anything else that may be carb heavy which appeals to your taste buds.
Better yet, make it a communal meal, for you and your family, or friends. Cook up something delicious from scratch, share some good company, and unwind with food.