How to feel better when you are down

April 23rd 2023

If zero is depressed, and ten is flying, what number are you at now?


If I asked you right now to give me a number between 0 and 10 that represented how upbeat you feel, a number would spring to mind.  This is because you know what it is to be at a 0 and you also have a reference for what 10 would feel like.

This referencing can be readily applied to stress, anxiety, depression.  You know you are stressed because you have experienced complete peace.  You know you are anxious because you have felt relaxed.

So if you are down in those low numbers, how do you get yourself back up?

Let’s talk energy.

It takes energy to lift yourself up so what happens if your battery is flat?

Think about an aeroplane taking off.  It doesn’t lift straight off into the air.  It starts to move forward, speed builds up until eventually there is enough momentum for it to leave the ground and then it climbs quickly.

This is much the same to the progress from 0 – feeling really down, through to 10 – ‘flying;’ feeling really high on life.  It takes a lot of effort to get from 0 to 1, 1 to 2 but it gets easier and by the time you get to 6 or 7, those last few numbers are reached much more easily.

How to get from 0 up to 2

We start with the basics:  Hydration, diet, sleep.

These are the foundation stones upon which you can then build and if they are not in place, you will not ‘take off’.  Focus on drinking hydrating fluids (ie not intravenous coffee!)  Give your body the fuel that it can use to get going again (NOT chocolate crips and cakes!) Practice good sleep hygiene.

These give your body the basics it needs to get you moving again.

Moving from 2 up to 4

Once the foundation is strong, you can then start building that momentum.  This is anything that for YOU leaves you feeling better.  This may be going for a walk, exercise, taking long baths.  It is doing those things, that by doing them, leaves you feeling better.  They are the sort of things you can do regularly that cumulatively start to build up.

Think of this a bit like money.  You put your money into your savings account because you then get more out.  By investing your energy into an activity, you get more back.

From 4 to 6

This is the point where momentum is now building.  You can start to do things that you could not when you were at the 1 or 2.  This may be going out to see friends, doing a higher level of exercise.  Again, different things work for different people but you now have enough momentum to make these larger investments of energy knowing that you will benefit from it.

And now you are lifting off.  You will have enough momentum behind you, enough energy to then do those things that continue to help you to fly and soar even higher.

Be prepared

Have you ever heard the expression, “The time to mend the roof is when the sun is shining.”  It’s a metaphor to put solutions in place before the problem escalates.

And there is a great, easy exercise that I encourage clients to do that can help keep you ‘in the air’ and should you have an unexpected landing, get you back up into the air quicker, all by managing your energy.  Download that here.

So, Id love to know….what number would you give yourself now, and what are you going to do to get you up to the next level?  Do share with me!!

Caroline Cavanagh is an anxiety specialist  and hypnotherapist in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  She is an author and professional speaker and would love to talk to you if you would like to know more about her work

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