5 Tips on How to be Happy Again When Life Gets you Down

There isn’t a person on this earth that is happy every moment of every day.  I’m starting with this because I want you to know that even when you feel alone in your emotions there is always, right now in this moment, someone else who is feeling the same way that you are.  While that might not make you feel better in and of itself, I hope it helps you see that you are not alone.  And the fact that you are here reading this means you are ready to find a way out of the sadness.  This is the first step.  You are one step closer.

We can get ‘stuck’ in sadness and disappointment sometimes.  This is normal, but hard.  Even although we don’t want to be there, something keeps us there.  But, knowing that there are tools to help relieve these emotions goes a long way in helping us to not stay there for too long.  And I’d like to feel like although we are not sitting across from each other in person, we are having a conversation of sorts.  We are together in this.  I hope that goes some way in reminding you that you are not alone.  With that said, here are some of my top tips for how to be happy again when life feels heavy.

1) Connect to Self 

When we feel unhappy in life, there is ultimately only ever one reason for that, and that is a disconnect from ourselves. The unhappiness is caused by normal life situations where you felt like you had to go against your own needs or wants.  Some examples would be: someone wanting us to feel a certain way (and we got angry because we didn’t agree with what they were saying), or showing up for an event or a job (but our heart was not in it).

These are just examples of situations that cause that feeling of separateness from our true, authentic selves.  We may not even realize that this separateness is causing us grief and anxiety in life. Instead we look to blame the situation or the people when really all we want is to be true to ourselves. There is a pull, in every moment, for us to be true to ourselves. So, when we inevitably meet with personalities that we clash with and situations that are not ideal, these trigger us.  They make a part of us feel sad. They separate us from our true desire and authenticity.

So, what can we do when this happens? We know that this is a part of life, but how can we cope better when these situations arise? Different tools work differently for different people.  For me connecting to myself means taking time out to recharge.  To meditate.  To pray, in my own way, to God. Mindfulness is another wonderful tool that allows us to be still for long enough to remind ourselves that we are more than just this tense emotion brought on by an argument.  Or this empty feeling brought on by a rejection. It reminds us that even our emotions pass (and should!). And that we are still left standing.  Strong and capable of keeping ourselves steady through the storm.  For you it could mean setting clear boundaries in life.  Whatever it is, find a way to be true to yourself and to make your voice heard.

2) Remember what Lights you Up

What is that one thing that can make you smile every time without fail? Is it the sparkle in your child’s eyes? Is it your favourite song or is it that feeling you get when you painted that last brush stroke on your newest masterpiece? Knowing what lights you up can turn the situation around almost instantly. Even although these things come naturally to us, we do tend to forget their power when we’re feeling down.  So, make a list of your top 10 go to pick-me-up favourites.  Keep some handy for those days when you need a reminder that there are things in your life powerful enough to chase away the darkest shadows.

You may put these up on your wall in your bedroom to remind yourself on a daily basis of these sparkly truths. Keep the list in your purse and on those sad day look at the list and thnk to yourself ‘I’m not letting it get through this time’. It’s not going to fix everything but if you have these go-to tricks up your sleeve and you take the time to remember the sound of a baby laughing or the way you feel when a new recipe you’ve just tried was a sensational hit, you will know that a shift is possible. That joy can creep back in, and darkness can slowly creep out the back door while you embrace the warmth and the light.

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3) Connect with Others

This is actually a really tough one when you are feeling down.  I know, personally, I need to have a ‘step-back’ moment for myself before I’m ready to go back and deal with people.  And, that’s okay.  For me it works wonders.  But, don’t completely disconnect.  We are meant to be around people.  We heal through our relationships (even when we sometimes find them frustrating).  So, if you need an hour away sleeping or walking, do that.  When you are ready, go and sit down and chat about how you’re feeling with someone you trust.  Get a hug (best treatment in town).

Sometimes meeting a friend for coffee is all the magic you need, sometimes its crying on the phone to Mum.  Each situation and each person is different, but don’t underestimate the value of opening up to the people in your life.  They might not know you need them until you tell them!  And, we all want to be needed in this life so opening up is healing for both sides.

4) Find Calm

When you feel overwhelmed by life, take a moment to breathe.  As cliched as it sounds, taking a moment to stop and to work through the emotions in a calm way allows you to think more clearly and to gain new insights into these emotions.  If you close your eyes and shut out the rest of the world for a moment and, just sit, in the calm and the quiet, what happens?

I like to slowly move through the body mentally, from head to toe, telling my body to relax.  Every muscle.  Firstly, it is very relaxing, and secondly it helps you turn your thoughts away from what is bothering you.  It helps you open up to that sense of calm.  When you allow that, you see that you have more control than you realized because you have the power to release the anxious or unhappy thoughts.  Calmness really is a super power and we have it within us.

5) Perspective

I’ve left this one for last because I kind of feel like this begins to grate on people after a while.  Nobody likes to be told constantly when you’re feeling down to gain perspective.  To basically, in a sense, shut up and deal with it because it could be worse. This is not an easy thing to hear but, unfortunately, I have to throw it in because, if handled in the best possible way, it is something that can help us to climb out of a negative place. Perspective is powerful in the way I see it. If you are gaining perspective, in a healthy way.  Instead of it being shoved down your throat it can be a gentle shift towards positive thinking instead of an anger-inducing nuisance.

So, what am I saying here? I’m saying that you can use perspective as a gentle tool. I’m saying ‘hey, stop for a moment and look at your side’, so when someone says to you ‘there are so many sick people in the world, show a little bit of gratitude!’, this is coming across in a negative way.  But, if you say to yourself ‘I am blessed with health’, this is also making use of perspective while not dragging yourself down and making yourself feel ungrateful for what you have.  It’s a shift in perspective.  Ha ha, sorry I couldn’t help myself.

An exercise

Tips aside, I’d like us to do an exercise. Ask yourself why you’re unhappy. What has triggered this? It can be different from one day and one month to the next. We want to be clear and get to the bottom of what is bothering us at this point in time.  It could be that it’s a person in your life that has triggered you in some way. It could be that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t quit smoking, your sugar habits, eating junk food etc.

Everything in our lives comes with a why and how. We need to start with why that leads to the trigger, and then we need to figure out the how. How do we take the next step? How do we improve on the emotions that we are struggling with? The first step is to not see it as a mountain, rather see just that one small step.  Find something relatable, something small that you can change to improve the situation. It could be as simple as taking yourself outside for a walk or listening to your favourite song.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t look for reasons to make it bigger than it is.  Rather, look for reasons to make it ‘fixable’. Sadly, we humans have a propensity for drama. Don’t do that to yourself. Rather, make a conscious choice to look for the silver lining.  To find a glimmer of hope.  To take steps in the right direction even if its just one step today.  Maybe tomorrow you take two steps.  Start here.  Start now.  Just start to find hope, and light and love. Find something that puts a smile on your face. Take the time to think about happy memories. Think about what it is that makes you smile.  Guaranteed, if you tap into the right memory, the right emotion, that smile will re-appear on your face.  Remember, all the good moments you’ve ever experienced live forever in your heart and you have access to them at any time!  Tap into the feeling of those memories and bring them forward to create new ones today!

Steph x

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