Every one of us has those days where we feel sad or on low mood, often with no obvious triggers. Where our body feels heavy and sometimes even getting out of bed feels like a truckload to lift. Days where all you want to do is curl up in bed, and not talk to anybody. Sometimes you cry so much you can’t stop. Sometimes you so badly want to cry but the tears never come. Days where none of your accomplishments, big or small, seems to be obvious. Where you feel hopeless, sometimes worthless, other times just tired. Whatever it looks like, we all have one of those days where we feel just downright awful.
More often than not, getting out of these instances are so hard that no matter how badly you do want to get out of it, you still don’t really want to do anything. Or can’t do anything. During times like this, the one part of our body that seems to be working nonstop is our mind. Sometimes I wish it would just shut up. It goes on all these different tangents that more often than not isn’t going to make me feel any better but only worse. Therefore, during times like this one of the best things we can do is to take control of our minds. Take the same thoughts that are criticising ourselves to look deeper within.
So here are some questions you can ask yourself when you feel awful. It would be better if you can bring yourself to write your thoughts down about these questions. But if you can’t, just contemplating them in your mind is also beneficial.
What did you do just before you started feeling the way you feel?
This question is to get you thinking about what may have caused your current awful feelings — be it sadness, anger, tiredness or something else. What have you been doing until just now? What about what you’ve been doing may have been triggering? Perhaps, you’d find that there was nothing about what you were doing just before that caused or triggered your current feelings. And that’s okay. Usually, once you start thinking about it, your mind would probably take you on different tangents and you might end up somewhere else in your thoughts. Maybe about something hurtful or judgmental someone said a weak ago that didn’t matter then but is bothering you now, maybe about that one time you said something you didn’t mean and embarrassed yourself which is making you frustrated now. Whatever it is, once you find it, tie it to an imaginary balloon and let it go. Imagine it flying far far away from you. And if you didn’t find the reason, then don’t worry too much. Ask yourself the next set of questions. Just don’t let yourself loop into this question, trying to find the cause.
When was the last time you ate?
Are you hungry? That’s pretty much what thins question is asking you. When we are hungry and we don’t realize it, it sometimes does manifest in our moods. Being ‘hangry’ is a thing, you know. So see if you’re hungry and that it may be why you are feeling the way you feel.
When was the last time you hydrated yourself?
This is the follow-up of the previous question. Are you thirsty? Being dehydrated doesn’t just have physical adverse consequences but our mental and emotional selves also suffer. So drink a heaping amount of water and observe how you feel.
When was the last time you moved your body?
Sometimes our emotional stagnation is a direct manifestation of our physical one. So ask yourself, when was the last time you moved your body? Have you been cooped up in your room for too long? If the kind of work you do requires you to sit in one place for a prolonged period of time, have you been in that position for too long without an actual break?
Ask yourself when was the last time you saw the sun, got some fresh air, or took a walk. Maybe you’ll find that you have done all of these in recent times, that a lack this is not the reason you feel awful. If so, then that is still an answer. Move onto another question.
When was the last time you focused on your breath?
Most of us take our breathing for granted because our body just carries it out in the background so mindlessly without any effort that we don’t really think too much about it. Despite it being one of the most essential things for life. In today’s fast-paced life, everybody is doing something or going somewhere all the time that sometimes we actually forget to just breathe. Just breathe, you know.
So ask yourself, when was the last time you gave yourself some time or space to breathe? In the physical sense but also in a literal sense, when was last time you actually focused on your breath? The inhales and exhales, and let yourself feel the rejuvenation that comes with it? This simple but essential thing that we do every moment which God has made so convenient. So ask yourself, and try to focus on your breathing. Getting oxygen well into your brain and body will make you feel so much better.
When was the last time you gave yourself a treat?
We are quick to buy or make presents for friends or be kind to someone else. But when it comes to ourselves, we often aren’t as compassionate. But a lot of the times, what we really need from us is some self-compassion. So ask yourself. When was the last time you gave yourself a treat? Be it anything, from getting yourself your favourite chocolate, having a bubble bath, or giving yourself a whole day to just rest and do the things that you enjoy. No matter how big or small, whatever it is that would bring you joy, give yourself a treat.
What is the worst thing that can happen?
This is one question that I ask myself so often when I’m in any sort of a fix or trouble. What is the worst thing that can happen? When things start to go wrong, we think of all of these worst-case scenarios. But do we actually think about it? Because if we do, we might just realize that even the worst-case scenarios may not always be the worst thing that can happen. Of course, there might be pain or embarrassment or discomfort or something else depending on the issue. And yes, going through that would be difficult. And you probably would hate to have to go through it. But at the end of the day, would you come out of it alive? That’s what I usually force myself to think about. If I’m not going to die, if an opponent is not literally going to kill me, then really, as hard as it is, you can still bear through it. And you would have learned something once you come out of it.
Although these questions make you think what went wrong or what to do to make it better, I also want to emphasize that there really is nothing wrong in feeling down once in a while. Sometimes its also good for us in the long run, as it forces us to slow down. You don’t have to force yourself to feel better as soon as you start feeling down. Its okay wallow in your sadness for some time. It’s okay. If doing nothing for a day and just lying around is what is going to make you feel better the next day, then go for it. As long as this doesn’t last way too long that it creates disruptions in your daily life, just be. Sometimes feeling our unpleasant feelings in its whole will also give us insights and realizations about ourselves, and even make it go away faster than when you try to ignore or avoid it by suppressing and forcing yourself to step past it.