Life is full of ups and downs, but it can seem like the downs are starting to outweigh the ups.
But that’s okay! The key to overcoming tough times in life is finding ways that you can enjoy yourself during those difficult moments. No matter how hard things get, there are always things you can do to make your day a little bit brighter. These are some of my favorite strategies for staying happy even when everything seems dark around me. I hope they’ll help lighten your load too!
Write in a journal.
Journaling is a great way to get all of your thoughts and feelings out in the open. When you keep everything bottled up, it can be tough to stay positive. But when you write down your thoughts, you’re able to sort through everything and make sure all of your emotions are in line. This helps me stay positive because I can clear my head, talk to myself, or let out any anger that I might have after a hard day.
Find an inspiration board somewhere on the Internet and pin it to your wall.
This is something that I’ve been doing for years! Every time I find something inspirational, I pin it up so that I’m never too far away from motivation. When you surround yourself with pictures of happy people doing fun things or cute animals being adorable, it’s much easier to maintain positivity throughout the day. Mine is full of mad libs memes (awesome), quotes by amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, and links to cute kittens that make me smile.
Listen to an upbeat playlist of songs that always makes you feel happy.
For years I had a playlist of bright, poppy songs that were guaranteed to make me smile no matter what mood I was in (I even updated it for this post! Check out the Spotify link below). When I’m feeling down, there’s nothing like pop music to help me get back on my feet and start enjoying life again! Just make sure you don’t listen to your favorite sad song over and over again because then you’ll just end up more depressed than before.
Find new hobbies or activities that give you satisfaction.
Doing things that are fun is one of the best ways to get your mind off of tough times. If you’ve been having a rough time lately, find something new to do that gives you a sense of accomplishment. For me, this has ranged from learning how to cook (and actually enjoying it) to going on nature walks and taking pictures of the pretty scenery around me. Whatever hobby or activity makes your heart sing will help put a positive spin on a bad day!
Surround yourself with people who make you happy whenever possible.
If there’s someone in your life who always puts you in a good mood no matter what happens, spend as much time with them as possible. When my days start looking bleak, I call up one of my friends and we talk about all sorts of random things until I’m laughing so hard that I’ve forgotten what was making me upset in the first place. Positive people are a godsend during tough times!
Take yourself on mini-vacations every day.
This is something that I started doing a few years ago and it’s one of my favorite things to do when life gets a little too much. Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, instead of staying in my room or going out for a depressing walk, I’ll take myself on a “mini-vacation.” This can be anything from lying down in my hammock for an hour to taking a long bath with lots of candles and reading a good book. It’s amazing how just 30 minutes of relaxation can make such a big difference in my outlook on life!
Another way to maintain a positive attitude is by practicing gratitude every day. When you practice gratefulness, it can almost feel like your problems are laughable because there’s always someone who has it worse than you do – and that is definitely something to be grateful for! To help me stay on top of this, I keep a journal of three things that made me happy each day and write them down before going to sleep at night. It might not seem like much but after a few weeks those little things have added up and now I have lots to look back on!
Get outside as much as possible.
When all else fails, take a walk or go sit outside. Fresh air is one of the best things for your mind and body, especially when you’re feeling down. If it’s too cold outside or you don’t have time to go for a walk, opening up your windows to let in some natural light is a great alternative. Sunshine is scientifically proven to make people happy, so take advantage of it whenever possible!
Remember that no one has it easy, and everyone struggles at some point.
I remember reading somewhere once that the most successful people in the world have all gone through rough patches – even those who now seem to be living perfect lives! Knowing this helped me stop feeling sorry for myself because I realized that I’m not alone in my struggles and if these amazing people can overcome their tough times then so can I. So what if you’re going through a rough patch right now? Everyone does, and just knowing this will help you keep your head up until things get better (if they ever do).
Set small goals for yourself every day.
Instead of setting big goals like “I need to be happy” or “I want to have fun,” set small goals for yourself every day. For example, on a gloomy day I might try to smile at one person during my class or watch 5 minutes of something funny online when I feel like crying all day. Little goals like these can take your mind off your problems and make you feel accomplished no matter how small they may seem in the moment!
Set big goals too (if you want)!
Of course, sometimes we need a little extra push when it comes to getting ourselves out of a rut. If all else fails, setting some big goals for yourself will definitely help get you out of that funk you’re in. Just remember that the most important thing is that YOU decide what’s best for YOU and don’t let anyone else tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
Talk to a therapist.
This is something that I’ve never done but I know a lot of people who swear by it. If you’re feeling like you can’t get out of your tough times by yourself, talking to a therapist might be the best thing for you. They’ll be able to help you figure out what’s going on and give you some tools to help you deal with your problems in a healthy way.
Lift weights (or do another type of workout).
Working out is one of the best things for your mental health, especially when you’re feeling down. Not only does it release endorphins (the feel-good chemicals in your brain), but it also gives you something to focus on other than your problems. If you’re not a fan of lifting weights, there are plenty of other workouts that can help you get through a tough time – just find something that you enjoy and will stick with!
Cook your favorite meal.
There’s nothing like cooking your favorite meal to make yourself feel better. When I’m feeling down, I love to cook my mom’s chicken noodle soup or my grandma’s chocolate chip cookies – both of which always make me feel better! Cooking is a really great way to take your mind off of things for a little while and is definitely worth trying if you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.
Look at old photos from when you were happy.
This one sounds a little weird, but all of the old photos from times when I was happy ALWAYS make me smile. If looking at real-life people isn’t your thing, looking through old family videos will have the same effect. There’s something about reminiscing about how happy you once were that can instantly take away any sadness or anxiety you might be feeling.
Use your imagination.
Sometimes we just need to take a break from our everyday lives and escape into another world where everything is better than it is now, even if only for a little while. Using your imagination can be a really effective tool for helping you deal with tough times – just close your eyes and think about all of the things you wish were going on in your life right now (for me, I imagine myself living out my wildest dreams like I’m one of those people who can go back and forth between two different dimensions…I know it sounds weird but it helps).
Drink some tea.
Tea has always been my go-to drink whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by problems or stressed out – and for a good reason! Tea is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that are great for your mental health. Plus, the act of drinking tea can be really calming and relaxing, which is perfect when you’re feeling tense or anxious.
Draw or write about your problems.
This one is similar to using your imagination – but instead of escaping into another world, you’re staying in this one and writing/drawing about what’s going on in your life. This can be a really helpful way to get your thoughts out there and help you see them more objectively. It might also help you come up with some solutions to your problems that you never thought of before!
Take a hot bath.
Taking a hot bath is one of my favorite ways to relax and de-stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a hot bath can be a great way to calm down and clear your head. Add in a few drops of lavender oil (which is known for its relaxing properties) and you’ll be feeling like yourself in no time!
One thing that always helps me when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed is getting organized. Cleaning my room, doing my laundry, or organizing my desk always makes me feel more in control of my life and less chaotic. It might not work for everyone, but if you’re the type of person who responds well to order and routine, this could be a great strategy for you.
Make a list of things that make you feel good.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed with problems and sadness, one of the best things I can do is make a list in my head of all of the things/people/places that make me happy or bring me joy. There’s something about reminding yourself of the great things in your life (no matter how small they may be) that instantly makes everything better, so if you’re going through a tough time this might just be what you need to turn your mood around.
Write down five things you’re thankful for every day.
In addition to reminding yourself of all of the great things in your life, it can also be really helpful to remind yourself of why those good things are there in the first place. A great way to do this is by writing down five things you’re grateful for every day. This can be anything from your family and friends, to your bed and your favorite food. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you’ll start to feel more positive as a whole.
I know that when I’m feeling down it’s really easy to just want to stay in bed all day and not move an inch, but exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling down. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that make us feel happy – so by working out when you’re feeling down, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor!
Connect with friends and family.
One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling down is to reach out to your friends and family. Talking to someone who loves and cares about you can be really helpful in lifting your mood and making you feel more connected to the world. Plus, it’s always nice to have some support during tough times.
Take a break from electronics.
Finally, if all of the previous tips haven’t worked for you, maybe it’s time to take a break from electronics altogether. I know that for me, spending too much time on my phone or computer can actually be really overwhelming and make me feel worse, so unplugging every once in a while might be just what you need.
When you’re going through a tough time, it can be really helpful to try out some different strategies to help you get through it. These are just a few of the things that have worked for me in the past, but I would love to hear what other people do in times of need! So if you have any tips or tricks that help you get through difficult times, please share them in the comments below. We can all benefit from each other’s knowledge and support during tough times. Thanks for reading!