7 Healthy, Long-Term Ways To Cheer Yourself Up When You're Feeling Down

by Paul Hudson

Sometimes we feel sh*tty. It happens. Things don't always go right and bad luck can creep its way in from time to time. The trick isn't to dwell on how unhappy you are at the moment, but rather to focus your energies on getting out of that mindset and moving back towards happier and more pleasant times.

We all have our own way of dealing with ourselves and our emotions when sadness and gloominess get the better of us.

Unfortunately, most of us use methods that are far from healthy -- methods that do more harm than good, which often turn into habits. And not the good kind either. But there are ways of cheering yourself up that don't involve screwing yourself over in the long run. Here are a few:

Go for a run.

Exercise does wonders for your body. If your body feels good, then it's likely that your mind will follow suit. Intense exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, relieving your stress and making you feel good. Although we like to pretend that the way we look doesn't really matter to us, the fact is the exact opposite.

The way you look does affect the way you feel. So not only will you feel better getting into shape, you'll feel a whole lot better once you are in better shape. A healthy and fit body does wonders for your brain -- you feel like a new person. But for now, go for that run and get near-instant satisfaction.

Do some healthy munching.

People usually go for that bucket of ice cream when they are feeling less than sunny. This, however, only makes us feel worse the next day -- if not the next hour. Most people like to eat when they feel down because it creates an instant boost in mood. Eating is viewed as a reward and, for this reason, makes us feel a bit better after the first bite.

However, not all foods are created equal. Some foods in particular are better than others when it comes to lightening our mood. Do some digging and figure out which foods have the necessary compounds to produce the neurotransmitters needed to boost your happiness. There's plenty to choose from -- it really depends on your preferences.

Do some meditating -- go for a walk to clear your mind if you prefer.

Most of us aren't unhappy... happiness itself is a misunderstood term. Most confuse happiness for joy, claiming that if they aren't joyful then they aren't happy. Unfortunately, joy is a passing sensation and can't be made permanent. Instead of focusing on pure joy, find contentment.

Most of us would find that we actually are content -- we just don't bother to slow down to realize it. Happiness is a choice, not some sort of result we have no say in. If you want to be happy then first learn to be content. The only way to do that is to take some time to realize that you already are.

Talk to someone you care about and, more importantly, who cares about you.

You don't need to go downing shots or popping pills -- you could, but that often only makes things worse in the long run. Why not have a regular conversation? I know it sounds boring... but people used to be fine with such things back in the day before we craved for every moment to be a memorable one.

Go and talk to someone about what's bothering you, what you're worried about and what your options are. Or don't talk about any of that and talk about something else instead to get your mind off the whole situation. It's times like these that friends are made for.

Get some sleep.

They say that you may be depressed if all you want to do is sleep... but maybe if you got some proper sleep, you wouldn't always feel so awful. It's not just about getting sleep; it's about getting a good night's sleep. Get your seven to eight hours. Get to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

Don't go to bed drunk or high. Take some time to clear your mind before you sleep. Don't eat right before bed. There are tons of reading materials that can help you get a wonderful night's sleep -- and that may very well be exactly what you need to get you feeling great again.

Read an uplifting story or watch an uplifting movie.

Distracting yourself from reality isn't always recommended... but in this case, it is. If you are miserable then you may need an uplifting story to reignite that fire of yours. We often feel down because we don't feel alive -- that passion that made us tick for so long went out. Watching an uplifting or motivating movie should do the trick. An easy and pleasant read will also do the trick.

Create an exit strategy.

We often find ourselves feeling bad because we find ourselves stuck in some sort of situation. When this is the case, doing all the things mentioned prior will help, but they won't solve your blues. What you need is a real solution to your problems, an exit strategy. Feeling trapped is the worst feeling in the world.

As human beings, we value freedom above all else. When we come to feel caged up, we lose hope and energy. In order to feel revitalized, you need to come up with a solution, a way to get out of whatever predicament you may be in. Run some best and worst case scenarios and make sure you have a clear understanding of all your best options.

Photo credit: Chris Burkard

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