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.
2. I CAN COPE WITH FAR MORE THAN I REALISE - I HAVE COPED WITH DIFFICULT THINGS BEFORE AND BEEN OKAY IN THE END.
When we feel down we tend to underestimate our ability to cope. However, when we think back, we can often remember that we have coped with many difficult things before and been okay and made it through.
3. MY LIFE IS MINE TO CREATE - I CAN MAKE NEW CHOICES AND CHANGE THINGS I AM NOT HAPPY WITH IN MY LIFE.
When we feel down we can very easily feel hopeless about our future. However it can be empowering to remember that it is never too late for us to make new choices and re-design our life and our future. Of course there are certain things that we can't control, however there are lots of things that we can control too - and reminding ourselves that we have choices and options can be incredibly helpful in those moments when we feel down.
4. TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY - TODAY I CAN JUST FOCUS ON TAKING ONE SMALL STEP AT A TIME
When our to-do list is endless and we feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do/achieve, this can lead us to feel down and low. However it can help to just aim to take one small step at a time. We don't need to achieve everything just now, we can just focus on taking the next small step forwards. Sometimes this will mean just doing the smallest and simplest of things - that next step may just be getting out of bed in the morning, getting ready and eating breakfast and on some days, just doing these things is an achievement.
5. I AM WORTHY, I AM LOVEABLE, I AM MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH - I CAN AND WILL FEEL BETTER
In those moments when we are being harsh our ourselves, it can help to remind ourselves that we are worthy, loveable and more than good enough.
If you have been feeling low for over a week, please do seek out professional help or see your GP as there is lots that can be done to support you with your mental health. I help individuals that often find that they turn to food in moments when they feel low, down or stressed. I help them to both find new ways manage those emotions but also to develop new coping mechanisms that mean they can then build a new relationship with food. If you would like some support to boost your mood and to shift your relationship with food, please get in touch at email@example.com to book in a free consultation.
"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise" - Les Miserables