*Before you start reading this I just want to warn you that it is very long. I have so much I want to say and so many things that I think can be helpful to you in your time of trial. So, if you feel you just need to take a break while reading, feel free to do so. I won’t be offended, honestly, because I will never know!*
As much as I would like to say that I am an optimistic person, sometimes my mood is not always the greatest. Sometimes I just don’t feel well. Other times I am stressed about projects and midterms and finances for school. Sometimes I let my mood not only ruin my whole day, but give me an awful week.
Maybe you’re having a rough day, too. You’re sad because someone started a horrible rumor about you. You’re mad because your boyfriend cheated on you. You’re stressed because you your daughter’s health isn’t improving. You’re worried because your parents are starting to talk about divorce. Maybe you are anxious to hear what the doctor has to say about your test results. Whatever it is that’s making you upset isn’t a little thing. Anything that can change your feelings and your performance with even the simplest of daily tasks is something huge. But you don’t have to let the affects of your circumstances consume you.
So, I’ve compiled a list of fifteen things that I do whenever I am having a really bad day. You may think that some of these things are really weird and that’s okay, because I’m really weird. I hope that any of these little “mood lifters” will really help you free yourself from your sadness.
1.Read your favorite verse or passage of Scripture:
This one is one of the most important things to do, yet is so difficult for me because I get easily sidetracked. When something bad happens, I tend to be preoccupied with the situation instead of being focused on the One Who can fix my problem. My favorite chapter to read when I am not in a good mood is Psalm 139. It’s really encouraging to me. It reminds me pretty much in every verse how much God cares about every little thing that I do, every thing that I am feeling, everywhere that I go, every little detail of my life. It’s great to know that even when I feel as if no one cares how I feel, that God does care.
Whatever your favorite verse or chapter is, read it. Maybe you don’t have a favorite verse. That’s okay. Start with Psalm 139. But keep reading until God shows you a passage of your own to claim at any time another situation that threatens to defeat you comes up.
2. Go for a run or workout:
I don’t usually get to go running that much because my schedule doesn’t allow for it, but when I do get to run I feel so much more awake and refreshed. If I don’t have the opportunity to run then I will instead do some yoga. Yoga really relaxes me and releases stress. Find some sort of physical activity that works for you. Not only will exercising lift your mood, but it is also obviously good for your health.
3. Listen to encouraging and uplifting music:
I don’t know why this is true, but when my friends are in a bad mood they will listen to really depressing, sad music. I’m guilty of this too sometimes. Why do I do this? I don’t know. Maybe I feel like the songwriter understands me. But it never makes me feel better.
So what I have done is created a playlist on Spotify with my favorite songs – songs with great lyrics and upbeat instrumental accompaniment. And guess what. Since I am such a nice person I am going to share my playlist with you! And if you are too cool for my music, you can create your own.
4. Write down things that make you happy:
I just like writing things down and making lists. It helps me think better and it helps me remember things. So instead of dwelling on sad thoughts, I challenge myself to see how many things I can think of that make me happy. One time I listed almost 120 things that I love. That incredibly long list included really simple things like these:
Good hair days
The sound of rain when I’m sleeping
Getting a tan
Being an inspiration to someone
You can even make your list really cute by adding pictures and using colorful pens (I’m not very artistic, though, so my list turned out to be really plain). Then when you’re done, you will have a list of happy things to read any time you are having a bad day.
5. Give someone a hug:
I’ve noticed that whenever I’m upset or not feeling well I will sit on my bed and hug my pillow or stuffed animal (yes I’m 19 years old and I still have stuffed animals. Don’t judge me!) It’s almost an immediate reaction whenever I’m not feeling myself. Usually when
I’m mad about something I don’t want to be near anyone; but when I’m sad, all I want to do is hug my mom or my best friend after a long, hard day. Just a 10 second hug relieves so much tension. It makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.
6. Have a nice cup of tea:
I think I’m a little bit obsessed with any kind of tea. I have boxes and bags full of all different flavored tea in my bedroom at home and in my dorm room (my roommates love me!). So, yeah, maybe I do love tea a lot and I drink it all the time, but that doesn’t mean that having a nice, hot cup of tea (in my owl mug of course) will ever get boring. If you don’t like tea, coffee or hot cocoa will be great too!
Sometimes the hardest thing to do when I’m sad is pray when it really should be the easiest. Sometimes I think, “Well no one else cares. Why would God care?” And that is the worst possible mindset to have. I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
HE DOES CARE!
I heard a quote once that said, “Prayer doesn’t change the mind of God; it changes the heart of man.” God already knows your situation and how it’s going to turn out in the end, but He wants you to tell Him everything: all the things you need, everything you’re feeling, everything you’re dealing with. Honestly for me, once I start praying and unloading my burden from off my shoulders and on to God’s, it gets so much easier to keep talking to Him and that’s the way it should be.
If you have a hobby that you really enjoy, do it even when you’re in a not-so-good mood. It’s good to have some source of an outlet – something that you can pour all those emotions into and an activity that will help you relieve stress. Take soccer, for instance. If you’re really angry, just practice focusing all that anger and aggression on the soccer ball instead of another person. If you play an instrument take your emotions and use them to inspire a new song. If you’re a writer, journal how you feel. Use your descriptions of your emotions to inspire a character’s emotions or to capture the tone of your poem. Instead of letting your feelings get the better of you, take control of them and use them constructively do become better at the things you love.
9: Text or email a friend/mentor:
Sometimes this is the first thing that I do when I’m upset. I text my best friend. And let’s just say that I am the fastest “texter” ever when I’m angry. It’s okay to just “let off some steam”, but just make sure you don’t hurt anyone else in the process. Sometimes when we are not happy, we say things that will hurt other people even if we don’t mean what we say. I say “we” because I am at fault at times, too.
But talking things out with someone about how you feel will definitely make you feel more at ease. It may not help the situation but it will give you the encouragement that you need. Plus you can always count on a close friend to give you good advice.
Even if you don’t like reading, you really should take some time to read something. It’s good for the mind. And by “reading” I don’t mean checking Facebook or Twitter. That doesn’t count! Read something edifying. Read a book, a magazine, or you favorite blog (like this one. Just kidding!). Learning new things or reading really exciting stories always makes me feel better, and I hope it will do the same for you!
What I mean by “unplug” is turn off the TV. Turn off the radio, your laptop, your phone, and whatever other electronics you have that you use as some form of entertainment. Anything that makes noise, turn it off (unless it’s an air conditioner and it’s 300° in your room, then you can keep that on). Sometimes it’s best to just have quiet. Sometimes you just need to sit and think in silence before you can have any peace.
12. Take a shower:
I totally understand if you just want to give up on reading the rest of this post after reading this one. I know it’s a little strange. But, a nice, relaxing shower is calming to me. Take off your makeup. Wash your face and your hair. Use your favorite scented body wash and your most moisturizing lotion. Just feeling clean and refreshed is so relaxing and it makes me feel so much better. And, if you really want to splurge, give yourself a bubble bath!
13. Take a nap:
When I cry a lot, which happens quite often because I am very dramatic at times, my eyes get extremely irritated and I get a headache. And when that happens the only thing to make my headache go away is sleeping. Taking an hour-long nap isn’t the greatest idea, though, because sleeping for such a long time in the middle of the day will leave you feeling groggy and more miserable.
14. Eat your favorite snack:
I probably didn’t need to tell you this one because we all do it anyway when we are sad (unless that’s just me and my best friend, then that would mean that I totally misread you). I always hide a snack or two in my room somewhere (and don’t tell anyone because I know my siblings will tear my room apart in search of my Nutella.) to save for a bad day.
I’m definitely a “stress-eater” when I get upset, which is probably not the greatest thing to be. But I can tell you that after I have some Starburst jelly beans that I feel so much better.
15. Watch your favorite movie:
I don’t really have a favorite movie because I am incredibly indecisive, but I do have several movies that I absolutely love and could watch over and over again (and I have). I love Pride and Prejudice (2005 version), The Avengers, Anne of Green Gables, Tangled, Frozen, Courageous, and The Bourne Legacy. I pretty much know every line of all of these movies and I could probably act the movies out by myself as each of the characters if I wanted to. And if I am really in the mood for some really stupid humor, I will watch Napoleon Dynamite (don’t even ask why I think that movie is absolutely hilarious. I think a lot of dumb things are funny.). Even though I can sing every line of every song from Tangled without the subtitles and I a can repeat ever line that Mr. Darcy says to Elisabeth Bennett with the most skillfully artificial British accent I still love to watch these movies because it takes my mind off my sad situation for a while.
Just one more point.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Sometimes you really do just need a good, long cry. But you can’t let your feelings take control of your life.
I hope this “little” list helped you, even just a little. You can have control over your emotions! With a little motivation and God’s help, I know you will feel better soon.