Nobody reaches adulthood without discovering that life is a rollercoaster. Sometimes we’re up – elated, overjoyed, beaming ear to ear. But unavoidably, we all face challenging times, facing sadness, grief, frustration, depression or simply fear. (Certainly, pick up any newspaper right now and the world can definitely feel quite scary.)
We’ve long believed that small changes can make big differences to how we feel – and that’s definitely true when facing life’s challenges. So when you’re on the low of that rollercoaster, here’s what we know works – on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.
- Start by breathing – anxiety is often allied to shallow breathing.
- Untense your body from top to toe, uncrossing arms and legs and straightening spine and neck.
- Take more exercise generally – it’s been proved to lift your mood as well as tone your body.
- Ask a friend to give you a hand, foot or shoulder massage for a minimum of 15 minutes once a week, and reciprocate. Allow yourself to relax completely and accept it as a present you deserve.
- Investigate possible food allergies; wheat, for instance, can depress some people, and simply cutting it out of your diet can in some cases lift the depression. Read The Complete Guide to Food Allergies and Intolerance by Professor J. Brostoff (out of print, but excellent – and you can still find it on Amazon).
- Quite smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate), which have been linked to depression.
- Drink lots of pure, still water.
- Get enough sleep – try to go to bed early (10 p.m. is ideal). We’re huge fans of the This Works Deep Sleep range, whenever sleep is elusive.
- Improve your diet, making sure you have enough EFAs (oily fish, olive oil and linseed oil are good sources), and supplement with a product like Power of Krill since it’s so hard to get the optimum daily dose from your diet. Low levels of vitamin B have been linked with depression; other important mood food supplements are vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium and the omega-6 fatty acids.
- Always take a lunch break – try for 45 minutes at least.
- Remember you’re not the only one – so many of the people you see every day are likely to have felt the same way. Everyone’s on that same rollercoaster.
- Be your own best friend: imagine the help, love and support you would give a friend in the same situation – and know you deserve the same.
- Don’t write yourself roles in other people’s movies when you needn’t even have a walk-on part in their lives, or get caught up in their problems.
- Take a few calming drops of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy in water.
- Practise feeling joy in small things – a phone call from a friend, beautiful flowers, not getting a parking ticket, a delicious meal.
- Burn vetiver essential oil, the oil of tranquility, in a vaporiser – or simply put some on your heel.
- Allow yourself to wear your favourite clothes, do your hair and put on make-up.
- Lie or sit comfortably and picture in your mind somewhere you love being, where you have once been happy.
- Take a worry break: confront one of your worst fears and really worry about it for the next five minutes. The deal is, however, that the worry is confined to that time only and you don’t worry again for the rest of the day.
- Unclutter your work and living spaces.
- Count to five, or preferably take five minutes, before yelling at anyone.
- Don’t watch the news. (Especially at the moment, we’d recommend.)
- Read a wonderful novel.
- Smile at someone; laugh at a joke; see a funny film. Smiling and laughing – even if you fake it – trigger feel-good hormones. Try shouting ‘Happy!’ and beaming.
- Listen to music you enjoy – the rhythm can help your mind.
- Light a candle in a holy or inspiring place – which could of course be your own home.
- Make a wish to whatever force you believe gave you life.
- Believe that there are other people on your side.