*Note: If you got sucked into this title, there’s a good chance that you, like me, harbor the twisted and deranged delusion that it might somehow be possible to feel good all the time and be perfect.
Following are eight ways to feel better when feeling good isn’t really working out. As to perfection, I’ll only say this, trying to achieve it is one superb way to feel like crap all the time. Don’t even bother.
This may sound like odd advice, but I’m not talking about wolfing down potato chips and chocolate bars. I’m suggesting that we eat mindfully.
Any food can be eaten mindfully, from a single green grape to slice of deep dish pizza. Eating food this way is the opposite of emotional eating. When we pause and see our food first, really see it, maybe closing our eyes as we take a bite, noticing all the sensations it conjures in our mouths, and the memories and emotions it ignites, we become filled with wonder. Being filled with wonder always improves the day.
Sometimes my brain just won’t stop with the negative chatter. No matter how hard I try, those old tapes are on re-play and I can’t shut off the machine. Reading gives me a chance to listen to somebody else’s tapes. They are always a lot more interesting and insightful than my own, which I’ve heard umpteen million gazillion times anyway.
If I’m too stuck in the morass of my own monkey mind to even read, pulling ugly words out of my head and putting them down on paper seems to defuse their power. I don’t worry about doing “good writing”, or making anything I plan on saving for posterity, I am literally sucking the poison out and spitting it somewhere it can’t hurt me. I use a lot of bad words and capital letters. It usually helps.
I’m not a big hand holder or hugger—I generally want to be physically left alone. I don’t know how or why I got this way, especially because the pleasure of holding somebodies hand can be so acute. If there is not a person whose hand I would like to hold available, I hold my dog’s foot. He doesn’t like it, but he lets me do it as he stares at me with his baleful eyes. I instantly feel better.
It’s a fact that you can’t be pissed and in a state of gratitude simultaneously. Gratitude is like negativity white out. And there is always something to be grateful for. Always.
6) Surprise someone.
I mean this two ways. If I’m bummed, I’ll sometimes sneak up on my son and say “BOO!”. He’ll normally scream and shove me, which makes me laugh, and then he’ll try and get me back which can turn into a rollicking afternoon.
But if you don’t have a handy nine year old available, and the other people in your life don’t appreciate sneak attacks, surprise them with something nice. Good surprises include a phone call, home made soup, or a flower picked from the garden and left anonymously on somebodies stoop.
7) Take a shower (and maybe sing a song).
You might be more of a bath person, that works too, but I love love love my shower. I get in there and stand under the hottest water imaginable. If I can muster a song, all the better. I can’t always do that and that’s okay. Either way, by the time I get out, the black edges on the world have receded enough that I can start functioning again.
I am always in a better frame of mind post-walk than I am pre-walk. Ideally, I go to the woods with my dogs, but a five minute turn around the block solo can penetrate a stagnant mass of ugly in my heart. One foot in front of the other. Easy pease-y.
I realize these are not radical suggestions, but sometimes we need a reminder that we can quickly and effectively take the wheel when it comes to shaping our own reality. If we choose to express love and live in the moment with gratitude, we can feel good a lot of the time, and accept the times that we don’t more gracefully.
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photos: elephant archives