Life isn’t always easy. Almost all of us go through hard times at some point, and that’s completely normal, but there are things you can do to help you feel more positive and hopeful for the future.
Whilst I could suggest loads of tips and activities you could do to help boost your mood and outlook in life, I’ve handpicked these six for you as they are accessible and affordable to most people, and provide a foundation of good habits which you can build on over time.
1) Take care of your body
You don’t need to go out and buy expensive equipment, sign up to a gym or embark on some crazy diet. Simply be kinder to your body and make some little tweaks that can add up to make a big difference.
Try eating a little more veg and a few less takeaways, drink a little more water and a little less alcohol and caffeine, get to bed at a decent time (Tip: try going to bed just 30 mins before your current bed time!), and finally, move a little more – walk to the local shop instead of driving, park a little further away from work or get off the bus a stop earlier.
It all helps and will add up over time.
2) Try journaling or Morning Pages
Journaling is a great way to reflect on past events or your present problems and get the constant stream of thoughts out of your head and onto paper. You don’t need to follow a specific process, just write about whatever is bothering you. Maybe buy yourself a nice new notebook and find some quiet time each day to do this on your own. Early morning or late evening works well for a lot of people.
Morning pages is similar, but this practice is about getting up in the morning and writing 3 sides of paper on anything and everything that pops into your head, from “Oh no, I forgot to drop that parcel at the Post Office yesterday!” to “Why do I always cook spaghetti on a Tuesday?”. The key with Morning Pages is to not overthink it. Just start writing and keep going until you get to the end of 3 pages. It’s for your eyes only and you’ll probably never look at it again. Sometimes it will feel like you’re writing a lot of nonsense, but it’s another good way of reflecting and helps to clear your mind.
3) Catch up with an old friend
Catching up with an old friend or work colleague has multiple benefits. It gets you out and motivated to get up and ready. It’s nice to talk to someone and hear what’s going on in their life, and you don’t need to share your problems with them, just building back up that connection with them can help you feel more positive about life.
You might also like this article on self-care
4) Book a counselling session
Sometimes getting a little professional help can save you a lot of pain and extra months or years of suffering. The benefits of counselling can far outweigh the costs, which are often short-term as once you’ve had a few sessions, you’ll have a ‘toolbox’ of strategies you can use to live more positively. As a fully trained psychotherapist and experienced counsellor I can help you develop new ways of thinking to help you move past the things that hold you back.
5) Visualise your new future
Visualisation is a powerful technique for seeing your life in the future and how it could be. You might visualise yourself in a loving supportive relationship, or with a job that you really enjoy, or having more fun with your children. You can use it to image material things, like a nicer home or car, or feelings and behaviours, like feeling happy and content or no longer smoking or overeating.
6) Learn something new
Learning a new skill helps to expand the neural pathways in the brain, as well as meaning that you focus on that new thing, so it can be a good distraction too.
You could learn:
- a new language – try free apps/websites such as Duolingo
- a musical instrument – it doesn’t have to involve private tuition, you’ll find instruments and music books in lots of charity shops, and there are hundreds of YouTube videos teaching you how to play
- a new subject, try Coursera or Vision2learn for free online courses. Or pick up a book on a subject that interests you at your local library or bookstore.
Once you begin grasping the new thing you’re learning, you’ll get a feeling of achievement which will help lift your mood and make you feel proud.
How I can help you
Life can be hard, especially if you’re dealing with abuse, trauma, grief or a difficult situation.
But please don’t give up hope, there is support available and I can offer confidential counselling in a comfortable space. Whether you’re dealing with something now or trying to recover from something that happened in your past, I can help you move forward.
If you’d like to book a counselling session, you can contact me here.
I look forward to hearing which of these you tried, and please do share the article with others as you never know who it might help.