Life will always be filled with ups and downs, positive and negatives, good days and bad days. We don't always feel our best and we can all struggle with things like stress, low mood, or anxiety.
Sometimes we may lack the motivation to feel like feeling better instantly. We just want to be in that feeling of sadness for a few moments, and that’s okay.
But when you're ready to feel better, there are lots of things you can do to soothe or uplift your emotions. You do have some control in changing your emotions.
You never have to just be stuck with feeling sad or angry. Try making choices that can help to shift your energy into positive motion again.
Here are 20 things that you can do whenever you feel down.
1. Take a break
Something as simple as taking a 15 minute break can help decrease any feelings of being burned out or stressed. Think about other things that make you happy. Taking a break can increase your focus and attention when you start working again.
2. Do your favorite activity
Everyone has an activity they enjoy doing the most. Some of my favorite activities are writing, exercising, playing music, and watching sports.
Whenever I get a chance to enjoy doing those things, it usually boosts my mood a little bit.
Think about some of your favorite activities that you enjoy in life. Consider those your go-to options whenever you’re looking to boost yourself up.
3. Listen to relaxing or feel-good music
With music, there are two ways you can go when it comes to using it as a tool to feel good. You can either listen to songs that make you relaxed, or songs that make you feel good.
Feeling better isn’t always about making yourself happy. Sometimes it’s just calming your anger, anxiety, or other intense emotions.
Music that relaxes you can help accomplish that. In other cases, you may be feeling down or depressed, and just want to find a way to bring some joy back into your day.
That’s where feel-good music can help you. Put on some dance songs or any other kind of genre that just energizes you.
4. Eat your favorite meal
While it’s important to not always use food as a means of coping with emotions, it can be a good option to enjoy your favorite meal when you’re sad.
You can cook one of your favorite warm dishes that you like, or maybe enjoy your favorite dessert, like a bowl of ice cream.
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways you can turn your mood around instantly.
Letting out your emotions is kind of like deflating the air out of a balloon. Events and circumstances in life can fill us up with so many intense feelings, we’re almost ready to pop.
When you write down your thoughts in a journal, that can potentially get those emotions to release from inside of you.
With less of that pressure inside, you might find it easier to focus on something else more positive.
6. Drink some tea
There are many different kinds of tea that are known to have some relaxing effects on people. Some of the more common ones include green tea, chamomile, and peppermint.
I wasn’t always a tea drinker myself, but as I tried it in recent years, I found it very effective in helping me relax.
You can research different ones and see which one might work best for you.
7. Watch old events you enjoyed
I’ve been doing this more lately than I used to. I’ve looked up old sporting events or other types of events that I remember really enjoying when I first watched.
The funny thing is those feelings don’t go away. You can almost get the exact kind of excited feeling you got when you saw the event happen live the first time.
Perhaps it gives us a feeling of nostalgia, or maybe some things are just fun to watch over and over again no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
Either way, it might make you feel good.
8. Go out in nature
It may not be as enjoyable if it’s cold or hot where you are right now. Nonetheless, on a good day when the weather feels nice, this can be an instant mood-changer.
I know for myself, whenever I'm able to step outside and breathe in some fresh air, I feel a sense of calm come over me.
It’s as if every negative emotion I may have been feeling inside starts to become still. I can get a chance to think a little bit deeper about what I’m dealing with inside.
The next time you’re down and it’s a nice day outside, take a little walk outside.
9. Let yourself cry
Crying is usually thought of as being a bad thing, because most of the time we’re doing it is when something sad happens.
But I’ve noted in previous articles that there is research that shows crying does actually makes us feel good.
The science of it all is it releases oxytocin, which can help calm us.
Healthline notes that emotional tears have stress hormones in them, which get flushed out of our body, helping us to feel better.
You should never be ashamed of crying. It’s an excellent tool to utilize in your most stressful moments.
10. Try singing
Here’s something you might not have heard of before. There was a study a few years back that found singing can have the same calming effects as yoga.
My partner likes to hum and sing a little throughout her day. Most of my family like to do the same as well.
If you’re not fond of doing complicated poses, this can be an easier way to relax yourself and help you feel a little better.
11. Do a relaxation technique
There are lots of relaxation techniques that one can do to feel calmer. Mayo Clinic has a whole list of them that you might enjoy trying. Among the techniques out there include:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Deep breathing
- Tai Chi
You can look into each of them and discuss with a health professional which one might work best for you.
12. Clean your space
Not everyone likes to clean, but it might be surprisingly effective in making you feel good. A study found that a majority of people feel less stress and more peace of mind after cleaning.
Thinking of my own experience, it’s been true for me as well. After my space is clean, I get an interesting sense of my room feeling lighter.
The study additionally found cleaning gives us a sense of accomplishment as well, which that’s always a nice mood-booster.
13. Watch a funny show
Sometimes just watching an episode of one of your favorite comedies can make you laugh and ease your tense feelings.
Recently I’ve been watching old episodes of King of Queens. There are many comedies that can be found online.
Look for one that you remember enjoying. If you can’t find it, search for a stand-up of one of your favorite comedians or anything else that makes you laugh.
14. Do some cardio
Cardio is a great way to change your energy when you’re down. As noted in this article on exercise making us happier, endorphins, dopamine, and other feel-good chemicals increase in our body when we do it.
It causes us to feel more joy and confidence, and less stress, physical pain, and anxiety. So even if you don’t like exercising, give it a try anyway.
15. Watch a motivational speaker or a preacher
Sometimes just hearing a motivational speaker give you a pep talk, or a spiritual leader tell you that everything’s going to work out, can be enough to lift you up.
Fortunately, with YouTube, you can find hundreds and maybe even thousands of different people to inspire you.
16. Call a friend or family member
Perhaps even better than listening to a motivational speaker or preacher, is listening to your best friend or a close family member.
The people closest to us usually know just what to say to help us feel better and find perspective in our situation.
If you don’t have anyone you’re close with, you can find people to talk to at local religious groups or other community organizations.
There’s always someone out there, whether it’s in person or online, that can be there to listen to you.
17. Think of things you’re thankful for
Focusing on the good that’s in your life can help you feel less bad about whatever your situation is, and feel better overall.
There are lots of things most of us have in life to be thankful for. Among them include:
Think of all the people and things in life you have around you that make you feel good. Dwelling on that will give you a little more of a positive feeling inside.
18. Take a warm bath or shower
If you’re the type of person that doesn't shower or bathe often, you might want to reconsider that. The first obvious reason is because it’s good for your hygiene.
But beyond that, showering and bathing can actually make you feel happier. A psychologist notes that it makes us feel less pessimistic and enjoy more pleasure.
Research has also found that it reduces inflammation, soothes muscle problems, helps us sleep better, and helps with depression.
These reasons alone should make you no longer neglect cleaning yourself throughout the week.
19. Watch a new movie
Sometimes it’s nice to just get drawn into a world outside of your own. That’s what watching a new movie can do for you.
You can distract yourself from all of your problems and focus on a creative story that was put together.
Pick out something from one of your favorite genres of film and see if it helps you avoid your negative thoughts and feelings for a while.
20. Think of a future event you look forward to
When something in the present bothers me, thinking about something in the future I look forward to sometimes helps lift my mood.
Right now, I’m looking forward to all of the playoff football games I’ll enjoy the next few weeks. I also look forward to seeing my partner again soon as well.
You can plan something for yourself to look forward to, or you can focus on things you know you’ll enjoy that will be happening soon.
21. Get some rest
Sometimes just taking a nap can be good to feel a little better again. There’s been some research that’s shown that a short nap can contribute to happiness.
Of course, it’s also important to get enough sleep in general, as it’ll help you be better able to manage your emotions.
You may not be able to control everything that happens in life, but you can find ways to deal with what happens better.
The key to calming yourself down or lifting yourself up is to take some form of action. As you choose to be proactive in practicing self-care, you’ll be better able to change your mood when you want to.