What works for us in terms of creating a sense of contentment and maintaining our wellbeing is very personal to each individual. When we’re feeling low or stressed or anxious, we often look to make behavioural changes to boost ourselves and make us feel better.
The most common ones are ensuring are being with friends and family and talking to them, exercise, relaxation, treating self with love and respect but it really does depend on the individual. For some exercise is the activities of sadists and for others creating a gorgeous dish does nothing. For some, going out, drinking too much is the medicine (maybe literally) that they need whereas others would see that as a very unhealthy activity. Naturally, excess alcohol use is not healthy and indicates a need to hide away and escape. For others, having plans and things to look forward to whether it be a family get together, planning to look after grandchildren or a holiday next year helps their sense of wellbeing.
Taking a note pad (paper, phone or tablet), note down a list of things that could become your First Aid kit. You may want to divide this into 3 sections – things you can do when 1/ I am feeling low, 2/I am feeling stressed and 3/ I am feeling anxious.
The one on my phone notes reads:
1/ When I am feeling low I can –
- Cook something nice
- Play with children
- Get a hug / intimacy
- Pick an activity from My Little Book of Mindfulness
- Go out – a walk, coffee, cycling …
2/ When I am feeling stressed I can –
- Watch comedy
- Go cycling
- Use my punchbag
- Talk to someone close
- Go out
- Write down a plan of action for my stressors
- Write to separate my stressors into separate entities
3/ When I am anxious I can –
- Meditate – find something new on YouTube
- Watch comedy or something that will make me laugh
- Get myself hugged somehow
- Talk to someone close
- Write about how I’m feeling
- Decorate (possibly)
Having a list like this can allow us to feel a little more equipped and more resilient which reduces the times we’re likely to feel low, anxious or stressed. This is similar to having a good support structure. If we know we have support around us whether this be from a partner, friend or professional, this often gives us a sense of security and strength.
Taking charge of your mood by altering behaviours can be very effective as we all get down, stressed or overwhelmed at times and we can find ways to manage this in the here and now. Should there be prolonged or repeated experiences of this, it may be time to look a bit deeper into what may be driving or causing the symptoms. For example, if work is repeatedly causing strong symptoms of stress, then short term management will only help in the short-term.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or feedback.