When you are down in the dumps, how do you make yourself feel better? I mean quickly and naturally, without any chemical intervention (not that pharmaceuticals are bad). There are 2 ingredients, so to speak, to feeling better almost instantly. One has to do with the body, and the other has to do with the mind. Quite simply, you need to change the way you are thinking. And you need to change your physiology, your bodily chemistry.
The primary and most direct way to change how you feel is to move your body. Go for a walk, a run, a swim, a bike ride, and move in a forward direction. Or if you are really feeling junky, move harder and faster. Try high intensity interval training, lifting weights, push-ups or pull-ups and break a good sweat. Those kinds of movements will produce endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine in the body. These chemicals all can make you feel good (or feel better). The more intense the body changes, the more intense and rapid the feelings change.
Serotonin is another molecule that generates positive, happy, content feelings. You can generate serotonin production through activities like meditation, controlled breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, a massage, a warm bath, or immersing yourself in a good book. These are good alternatives if you aren’t able to move the body in a more intense way, as just described. Again, just focus on physically changing your physiology.
The Mindset Component
The other ingredient to help you feel better, the mindset component, is important to maintain those feel good chemicals in the body. And to help manage those negative thoughts from making you feel bad in the future. It is just as important as moving your body and should be consciously addressed daily, along with the physical activities.
When you are taking physical action to change your physiology, like exercising, moving, or in a meditative session, recognize that you are growing as a person. Tell yourself that you are progressing, that you are getting better and feeling better, that you are working toward greater health and well-being. This act of affirmation and embracing the journey, so to speak, will also release dopamine, make you feel better, and keep you moving forward.
No matter what you are doing throughout the day, flood your mind with positive thoughts of growth. If you are feeling down and need to move hard but can’t at that moment, tell yourself you will when you get the time. And practice deep breathing instead. Embrace those crappy feelings and move through them.
Negative feelings are a part of life, but so too is squashing them. We are wired for growth and growth is absolutely possible. There’s no need to be stuck down in the dumps. We can change our bodily chemistry, change our minds, change our brains and take control of how we feel. Physically moving our bodies and improving the way we communicate to ourselves does the trick!
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