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Feeling down for no reason? Try these 5 tips to regain your spirits

Image: PDPics/Pixabay
Most of us have at some point said the words “I’m feeling down” or “I feel overwhelmed” except we can’t put a finger on it. We feel listless and out of sorts for no apparent reason; often, even after a good night’s sleep or when things are going our way at home and in the workplace. At other times we experience bouts of anxiety occasionally coupled with a sense of foreboding, which can be unnerving.

Rarely is there a logical explanation for feeling the way we do. Doctors attribute it to the stress in our lives and since they can’t find a medical cause, they treat only the symptoms and recommend lifestyle changes to improve our mental and physical wellbeing.

While there are several ways to overcome this sense of unease, here are five specific tips that can make us feel more clearheaded and sure of ourselves, and consequently, be at our best.

We don’t always have to listen to negative stories

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is more empathy towards others; for example, lending a patient ear to those who have a lot going on in their lives. But sometimes it’s necessary to step back for our own emotional health and avoid listening to other people’s stories of personal distress, however well-meaning, for these can affect us and upset our mental equilibrium. By withdrawing, we’re not being insensitive — we’re only protecting ourselves from too many negative influences.

Stop reading news all the time — it can be depressing

A renowned spiritual teacher is once believed to have said that the worst thing we can do on waking up refreshed in the morning is to read the newspaper — or in the present internet age, news headlines on our phones. The teacher advises against starting the day with unfavourable news and having dark clouds of negative thoughts hanging over our minds for those can lead to worry, a nervous disposition and fear; thus, causing disquiet and restlessness.

Spend less time on social media

What applies to newspapers applies equally to social media. A daily overdose of distressing news and videos on interactive platforms can be unsettling and harm us mentally and emotionally. We have two choices — one, restrict our visits on social media, unless we’re in the habit of constantly posting something or the other; and two, as far as possible read only positive and uplifting posts. In other words, the less time we spend on social media, the better will be our state of mind and social behaviour.

Avoid Googling health symptoms online

Surfing the internet for information about health issues and self-diagnosing real or perceived medical conditions — in what is known as Cyberchondria — can actually do more harm than good. We Google our symptoms for reassurance and peace of mind and while everything is normal most of the time, we’re unknowingly inviting something else into our lives — chronic worry and health anxiety, and with it a host of other problems that can affect our quality of life and that of our loved ones. Suddenly, every little thing that we experience, a mild cough, an ache or a twitch, becomes a cause for concern and we could well have a mental health crisis on our hands. So, checking our symptoms online may not always be good for us — sometimes ignorance can be bliss, too.

Take a break from medical dramas

Medical dramas can be engrossing because of their dramatic and emotional aspects, the depiction of life-saving procedures, the humane treatment of patients, and the way doctors go beyond the call of duty to save lives. However, binge-watching medical shows can also be mentally draining when we spend too much time in virtual ERs and OTs, and possibly start brooding over illness, suffering and death. While these shows are mostly about hope and healing with positive outcomes, we find that, as in real life, doctors can’t save every patient in reel life either and that can be depressing. What we can do, instead, is watch medical dramas with a sense of detachment, telling ourselves that it’s not real, however realistic they are; take a break after every few episodes and watch a funny or lighthearted movie or series; or stay away from medical shows entirely.

So, the next time we feel off-colour for no reason, we can try these simple tips to work our way through unexpected stress and negative emotions, and regain our spirits.

© Prashant C. Trikannad

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