No matter who you are, we all have bad days from time to time. It’s a natural and normal part of life. However, even though your sadness might be screaming at you to stay inside and never wash your hair again, you still have the ability to do something to turn your day around!
That is one of the most incredible things about living on this planet: we have free will, and in every single moment, we get to choose how we want to feel.
It can be really tempting to dive into bad habits or take the path of least resistance, and slip further into your sadness… But it won’t make you feel any happier. Next time you’re feeling unhappy and you think your life sucks, try one (or all!) of the following.
AVOID THE NEGATIVE AND EMBRACE THE POSITIVE
Often when we feel bad, we find ourselves subconsciously gravitating towards things that will make us feel worse. So my suggestion is to avoid conspiracy theories, the news, and particularly depressing documentaries, no matter how hypnotic and fascinating they might be.
If you find yourself browsing Youtube for Louis Theroux’s bleakest documentaries, STOP! Choose to spend your time on things that will make you feel good, like unabashedly silly comedies (e.g. Zoolander) and uplifting documentaries (e.g. The Eye Has To Travel).
In fact, here’s a list of 33 Movies To Watch When You’re Feeling Sad, Glum Or Bummed Out.
When life sucks, don’t forget to laugh and seek out things that will open your eyes to beauty.
LAVENDER OIL ÜBER ALLES
Every babe with even the slightest magical inclinations should have a big bottle of lavender oil in her domicile. It smells incredible, it’s relaxing, it lifts your spirits, and it will help you sleep soundly too. I not-so-secretly believe that lavender oil can solve pretty much any problem you throw at it.
Go wild with lavender oil! Saturate your clothes, skin, and house with it. Add it to your bath, humidifier, and oil burner. Dab it on your wrists and your pillow. Inhale the scent deeply when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or sad. Let it open you up and dissolve any tension. Total magic.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Even though you might swear there nothing will feel better than staying in your grey sweatpants and lying in a horizontal position, I’m here to break it to you. You’re wrong! Use a bit of soap and some mascara. Resist the urge to dress in black head-to-toe. Lace up your sneaker wedges and head out into the world.
You don’t have to do anything too crazy. Go and sit in a park for a while, or take your dog down to the river. Ride your bike around and drink an almond milk latte. Feel the sunshine on your face, watch people walk by, and remember that this sinking feeling, this despair, this existential crisis, is temporary. This too will pass. I promise.
POLISH UP YOUR GREEN THUMB
Bring a little bit of nature into your home and it will make you feel just a little bit happier. Buy some plants and put them in your window and next to your workspace. Make your creative area — you do have one, right? — a place you want to be. Clear out the clutter and replace it with green, living things.
In fact, if you don’t know where to begin bringing a little nature inside, here are some magical houseplants to attract love, joy and prosperity into your life!
RECOGNISE JOY AND HOLD ONTO IT
Ellen said that one of the secrets of happiness is to really recognise joy when you experience it. You might be walking along the street and feeling terrible, but if you see a colourful flower or you’re struck by the beauty of the sun shining through the leaves, stop right where you are. Say to yourself, ‘This is so beautiful! This is happiness. I am feeling happiness in this moment.’
Then, do your best to hold onto that feeling for thirty seconds. Let it radiate through your body, allow your bones to marinate in the positivity. The point? Firstly, it’ll help you see the happiness in tiny moments. And secondly, you’re training your brain to recognise joy, which makes it easier to be aware of it in the future. Pretty awesome.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
One of the easiest ways to get yourself out of a funky mental situation is to do something creative, because it forces you to use another part of your brain. (Art therapy exists for a reason!) Don’t put any pressure on yourself: you don’t have to write the next Great American Novel! Just take it slow and have fun.
Grab a colouring book and lose yourself in kaleidoscopic colours, or doodle weird little characters while you half-watch old episodes of Sex & The City. Make a mess with pastels or fold little origami stars. Rearrange your bookshelf by colour or put little flower arrangements in each room of your house. Enjoy yourself! Get consumed by colour and you’ll remember the world isn’t so bad after all.
There’s a reason why we love watching movies we’ve seen before, and why songs released in 2001 light us up like human-shaped Christmas trees. It makes us feel good! It’s comforting, and it actually makes us feel more optimistic about the future. Indulge that impulse!
Listen to music that takes you back to a comforting, fun time in your life. Lately for me, a playlist called 90’s House Party 2000’s Hangover has been doing the trick. the same goes for movies or books you love: load up on the stuff that nourishes your soul, no matter how silly.
This is an especially powerful thing to do during Mercury retrograde, which is all about looking back at your past and acknowledging it. You’ve done so much and you’ve come so far. Celebrate that!
DIVE HEAD-FIRST INTO FEELING GOOD
I’ve written oodles of lists over the years full of ideas to make you feel happy again. If you’re not sure where to start, check out 100 Ways To Be A Love Letter To The Universe, 10 Really Easy Ways You Can Love Yourself More Today, 100 Things To Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List), 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now, 10 Ways To Snap Yourself Out Of A Slump, and 50 Ways To Put The Light Back In Your Heart.
I mean, damn. That’s 370 ideas right there!
DISCOVER YOUR BEST TRAITS
One of the exercises from week one of Miracle Worker is to email 10 friends and ask them what your three best qualities are. This can be extremely nerve-wracking, but everyone who has done it has been delighted with what they received. (A really nice way to keep the circle of love going is to reply with their three best qualities. Everyone wins!)
The reason why we suggest this exercise is because it can be so hard to see our best attributes, especially when we’re not feeling great about ourselves or our lives. The truth is that we are our own biggest critics, and so taking the leap and asking for someone else’s opinion can help us wake up to our own magnificence. You are rad as fuck, and you should know it!
TALK TO A DOCTOR
If you just can’t seem to regulate your thoughts, if you’re thinking about suicide or how much better life would be if you ceased to exist, it’s essential that you talk to a professional. Feeling this way is not your “fault”, and it doesn’t make you defective or flawed. It’s just an illness that needs to be treated — and urgently.
You are way too magnificent to spend another day feeling terrible about who you are and what you’re capable of. I believe in you! Take care of yourself and the people around you.
Love forever (and ever and ever),