When you’re feeling tired, annoyed, or downright sad for no reason—at least a reason that makes sense—it can be difficult to move past it. While therapy can help long-term, I’ve always wondered if there are quick things to do in the moment to shift your headspace before you enter a complete downward spiral. After speaking to a panel of experts, turns out that yes, sometimes shaking things up can shake you out of a negative mindset. Try these 18 tips for re-energizing your mind, body, and spirit , all within five-minutes or less.
Before you get the impression these tips are designed to be an instant cure-all for every bad feeling on the rainbow, keep in mind that all emotions on the spectrum serve a vital purpose to your experience as a human being. These darker and more frustrating emotions help us understand ourselves on a more intrinsic level, pointing to what may be ailing us in ways we may yet not be aware of. And because life is filled with high highs and low lows , you can’t always expect yourself to be able to easily reset your mood with the flip of a switch. Like all of us, you may need to reach out to a therapist or counselor to help yourself process some deeper issues.
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However, for those days you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed for no perceivable reason, sometimes all really need to do is try something different. Remember, you are a human being, and by making a point to activate, refresh, and heal your mind and body, you may be able to flush out some of the stale sadness lingering in your joints. After all, your mental health concerns may be coming from boredom, tiredness, or sheer hunger. Here are 18 research-based and expert-approved ways to improve your mood or reset your headspace in five-minutes or less: 1. Be present.
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Whenever you’re feeling sad or anxious, there’s a good chance you may be obsessing over the future or spending too much time reliving your the past. Finding a way to bring yourself back to the present can help you let go of worries or fears that are not rooted in your current reality. Natalie Jambazian M.D., a Sherman Oaks-based licensed marriage and family therapist , recommends the 5-4-3-2-1 method: “Sit in a comfortable area, whether this is in your car or at home and describe five things you see, four things you hear, three things you smell, two things you taste and one thing you smell. This is a wonderful grounding exercise to help stay in the present moment.”
Wendy Schofer M.D., a holistic pediatrician and founder of Family in Focus , recommends focusing on the sensory vibrations that surround you. An example: When eating an apple, “focus on the texture, the taste, the temperature,” she explains. “The focus on the external can help shift your state from focusing on the internal.” 2. Feel your emotions.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Give yourself permission to cry. It’s important to remember that negative emotions are not to be shunned or ignored, because they’re all part of the natural flow of life.
Shofer also tells StyleCaster that avoiding or repressing the difficult feelings associated with life can create even more obstacles in the long run. She explains: “I practice getting curious about what I am feeling, really going into my body and feeling the vibrations of the emotion,” she says. “I welcome the emotion because it is telling me something important. When we listen to the emotions, welcome and feel them, they can pass through on their journey. That’s how processing is done, in a nutshell. Trying to make it go quicker or resist feeling emotions in the moment can make it harder and perpetuate emotions to become bad moods.” 3. Write it down.
If your mind is overwhelmed by confusing thoughts and concerns, write everything down and get it out of your system, suggests Dr. Jambazian. She explains that you should: “Make it a habit to journal your thoughts and feelings ,” she says. “This will help externalize your emotions and feelings rather than internalize them.” Even setting a timer for five minutes and writing down a stream of consciousness can provide immense relief. 4. Do a breathing exercise.
It’s your body’s natural instinct to inhale and exhale, but conscious and intentional breathing can do wonders for releasing negativity, resetting your headspace, and uplifting your mood.
Maria Andrews, a yoga teacher and the managing editor at Broadsea Media Co. , recommends something called “box breathing”. Influenced by traditional yogic pranayama, this calming technique that is accessible to anyone. The how-to, courtesy of Andrews Close your eyes and visualize a box.
Clockwise, trace the left side of the box in your mind’s eye, breathing in for four seconds,
Trace the top of the box, holding your breath for four seconds as you do that.
Trace the right side of the box, breathing out for four seconds.
Trace the bottom edge of the box, holding your breath again for four seconds.
Repeat this for a few minutes, noticing your body relax as you go.
“By focusing on consciously extending and slowing down the breath, your heart rate slows and you activate your parasympathetic nervous system,” Andrews explains. “This puts your body in a physiologically calmer state called the ‘rest and digest state.” This, in turn, can create a positive feedback loop, positively affecting your mental landscape.”
Another breathing option: “Voo Breathing.” Sarah Rollins, owner & licensed therapist at Embodied Wellness PLLC , “loves this exercise “because it stimulates the vagus nerve, which creates a sense of […]