Our moods are like weather, constantly changing.  When a cloud appears, it’s time to mobilize all your resources to help you get through it.  Whether you feel blue, blah, or just plain gloomy, here are some useful ways to help the cloud pass a little more quickly.

Note:  If your symptoms are extreme enough to affect your daily functioning for two weeks or more, or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please see your family doctor or a counselor right away.

1. Break tasks down into small chunks and feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete one piece before moving on to the next.

2. Reduce your schedule so you have more time to relax.

3. Write your feelings down on paper.

4. Listen to your favorite music.

5. Take a moment at the end of the day to remember at least one thing you accomplished, even if it is something basic like getting out of bed, and congratulate yourself.

6. Eat three healthy meals every day.

7. Minimize your alcohol intake.

8. Engage in an activity that requires your concentration so you can be present rather than lost in depressing thoughts.

9. Express yourself with artwork using paint or pastels.

10. Treat yourself with a great deal of compassion, like you would a young child or your best friend; let go of judging yourself.

11. Find a balance between keeping yourself busy and letting yourself rest.

12. Look your best when you walk out the door.

13. Recognize that you probably are not feeling down 100 percent of the time, and enjoy these reprieves.

14. Notice if you are telling yourself a story in which you are the star of a sad and hopeless drama.  See how this story doesn’t serve you.  Pull your attention away by doing any of the activities mentioned in this list.

15. Watch a funny movie.

16. Do something special for yourself – take a bath, eat a meal of your favorite foods, get a massage.

17. Talk to a trusted friend about how you are feeling.

18. See if an endless loop of negative thoughts is playing in your mind about yourself, the world, and the future.  Know that these thoughts are very likely to be distortions of the actual truth.  As Byron Katie suggests, ask yourself, “How would it be if I didn’t think that thought?”

19. Move your body – exercise, take a yoga class, enjoy a walk in nature.

20. Be around loving family and friends.

21. See if there is a problem you can easily solve that would help you to feel better.

22. Take a shower every day.

23. Go to sleep at the same time every evening, taking an hour to wind down with a book and some herbal tea before you get into bed.

24. Find the most loving place within you and extend your love to the part of you that is hurting.

25. When you notice you are caught in endless TV watching or internet surfing, shift your attention to something more supportive.

26. Turn your attention inward to realize that there is a part of you that doesn’t feel down.  When you observe yourself feeling blue, take a look at that which is observing.  Where is the gloomy feeling?

27. Welcome your feelings and accept them as is, rather than fighting them or wallowing in them.

28. Go inside yourself to find the strength to keep going.

29. Let go of saying, “I should…” or “I shouldn’t…”

30. Remember that the feeling will pass – and if it doesn’t seek professional help.

31. Whatever you feel you lack, offer it out to someone else.  For example, if you feel you lack love, be loving; if you lack friends, be friendly toward others.

32. Give generously to people in every way you can think of – give a compliment, do something someone you know would appreciate, pick up the check when you are out with friends.

33. Think of five things you are grateful for every day, and feel the gratitude in every cell of your body.

34. Plan an enjoyable activity with a friend.

35.Go outside to let the sunshine in or use a light box.

36. Smile.  Research shows that when we smile, we eventually begin to feel happier.

37. Let yourself have the space to cry, then move on.

38. See if this mood is a tap on the shoulder to get you to notice something about your life.  Is there a gift that is being offered to you?  What can you learn?

39. Take some slow, deep breaths, letting your whole chest expand as you inhale, then exhaling out whatever you are holding on to that you don’t need.

Any more suggestions to add that might help another reader?  What is your experience of digging yourself out when you are feeling down?

Photo by *Zara

Gail Brenner

Gail Brenner, Ph.D. is a psychologist and author who joyfully shares insights about discovering that suffering is optional. Find more from Gail at her blog, GailBrenner.com and on Twitter. Her work offers a bridge between psychology and spiritual understanding and brings clear seeing and compassion to everyday human challenges. She is the author of the forthcoming book, "The Way of Yes: Finding Peace and Happiness Right at the Heart of Your Messy, Scary, Brilliant Life."

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