Mantras for when you are feeling down...

We all feel down from time to time. It is natural and normal to have moments, days, sometimes even weeks where our mood is lower than usual. However, when these times arrive in our lives, it is also helpful to have some tools that we can turn to which will help us to get through. How we talk to ourselves in those moments when we are at our most vulnerable, is really key to our recovery and our ability to bounce back from those low days/times in our lives.


In moments when we feel down and sad, our natural inclination can be to be very mean to ourselves. We can exacerbate the feeling of hopelessness that we are experiencing by talking to ourselves very unkindly. If we are harsh and critical when speaking to ourselves, it can lead us to feel even more down. In these moments too, we may also try and pretend that we don't feel how we feel and suppress our emotions with things such as food, alcohol, smoking, shopping or drugs. We may again talk to ourselves unhelpfully by telling ourselves things such as "pull yourself together" or "don't be so weak" - again however such negative self-talk and suppressing our emotions can just make things worse for us long-term. I work with a lot of people that struggle with their relationship with food and often food comes in as a coping mechanism when someone feels down or sad. Often for these individuals when these negative emotions come up, instead of feeling and moving through those emotions, they try and suppress the emotions by turning to food instead to feel better. Of course food only provides temporary relief and often the emotion of sadness is still there afterwards.


What can help instead of suppressing emotions or being very critical to ourselves when we feel down is to focus on talking to ourselves kindly and compassionately in these moments, really treating ourselves with the same love and care that we would treat someone we dearly care about.


Firstly, it can help us to acknowledge that it is natural and okay to feel sad sometimes. It is an inevitable part of life. Those more negative emotions are not something to just try and suppress or make go away. They aren't pleasant to feel - but it is only by feeling them, accepting them and processing them that we are then able to move through them into better feelings. The more we just try and suppress our emotions, the more likely they are to fester and then surface at a later stage. We don't want to make those emotions go away - in fact we want to accept that they are there with a gentle curiosity. Also, often those emotions carry helpful messages. If we feel sad whenever we are at work - perhaps there a message in this about how we feel about our profession. If a certain aspect of our life or certain people always cause certain emotions to surface, perhaps this is a helpful re-direction tool - helping us to shape and create a life that will serve us better long-term. So it is important to be kind to ourselves and gentle with ourselves when we feel down and low rather than being harsh on ourselves or expecting ourselves to just feel happy/good all of the time.


When the natural tendency to be harsh on ourselves surfaces in those low moments, here are some phrases or mantras that we can recite to ourselves that can help us to be kinder to ourselves:


1. FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS ARE TEMPORARY - THIS WILL PASS AND I CAN AND WILL FEEL BETTER WITH TIME

Feelings never last forever. Whilst we may feel really awful and hopeless at a certain time - better days will come and it can really help to remind ourselves of this when we feel low.