When we are feeling down or anxious, there are lots of things that we can do in under five minutes to feel a little better. Here’s a starter list. Try writing down the items on this list that speak to you and adding items of your own.
- Stretch – Stretching not only brings us back into our bodies and out of our thoughts but also increases circulation bringing fresh blood to our muscles and joints. Stretching is a gentle way to wake ourselves up if we are feeling sluggish.
- Make a healthy meal – Weather you cook a full meal or just grab a healthy snack you will be getting nutrients that your body needs. Try eating slowly and in silence and tuning into your eating experience. You will find that tastes are more intense and enjoyable.
- Call a friend – Have a five minute conversation with someone who cares about you. You don’t have to talk about your troubles. Notice how it feels to know that you have their support and love.
- Go outside – If it’s daytime, try standing with your eyes closed facing the sun for five minutes. If it’s nighttime, spend a few minutes listening to the sounds of your area (everything sounds more peaceful at night). If it’s raining, put on some old clothes and run around in the rain without worrying about what happens to your shoes or hair.
- Take a hot or cold shower/bath – To feel soothed try warm water with some kind of scented soap or shampoo. To feel centered try cool water and let it run over your face for several minutes.
- Listen to music – Depending on what you need you might try classical (centering and stimulating), rock (exciting and cathartic), jazz (soothing), or oldies (nostalgic).
- Feel your feet on the floor – This is a simple way to bring ourselves back into the present if we are feeling sad about the past or worried about the future. Ground your feet and push them into the floor if you need to. Feel the floor supporting you.
- Laugh – Find a standup special on Netflix, call your funniest friend, or tell someone the story of the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you.
- Visualize something positive – Close your eyes and picture your pet, closest friend, a positive memory, or a peaceful place (anything that makes you feel good). Imagine that person or thing in front of you. Imagine the sounds, smells, and feelings that go along with it. Stay there for a few minutes.
- Do a favor for someone – Buy a sandwich for a homeless person, call an elderly family member, donate $10 to your favorite charity, or tell a significant other how much they mean to you. By doing something nice for someone else we not only make their day better but we can focus on someone else instead of ourselves (which can break the cycle of negative thoughts or emotions).
What else helps you feel calm? Put your list somewhere that’s easy to access for when you’re having a bad day.