Five Ways To Feel Better Right Now

Sometimes we feel so bad that we need immediate help, not just an appointment a few days away. Here are six scientifically-proven ways to feel better right now. We encourage all our clients to use these techniques as needed between sessions, even if they aren't currently feeling desperate, because the more you use them the more you are training your mind and body to feel good. Try them all and you may find one works better for you than others.

 


1. Breathe

It may seem silly to state that breathing is important, of course it is, but how we breathe can have significant effects on our well-being. If you are feeling anxious then specifically focusing on your breath and following this technique can have immediate calming effects.[1]

Try what is referred to as square breathing and is a breath taken into the body by allowing the belly, rather than the chest, to expand. Simply, breathe in for a count of five, hold for a count of five, breathe out for a count of five and wait for a count of five before starting the next breath. Slower breaths allow for more oxygen to be absorbed and stimulate the parasympathetic system to calm you down.

 


2. Vocalize

 And another way to slow breathe, as well as stimulate the vagal nerve, vocalization! Talking, singing or chanting, acting on the vagal nerve and also forcing us to slow our breathing, can have calming effects too.[2]

Try using the square breathing described above and on the out breath use the phrase 'OMMMmmmm'[3] extending it to last the full length of the breath.
Or just get in the shower or go drive your car and start singing your favorite upbeat songs!

 


3. Butterfly Hugs

Developed by healthcare workers for emergency treatment of trauma, this technique soothes and calms and is based on evidenced-based treatment EMDR[4]

The simple technique involves crossing your arms in front of your chest and with your fingers either on your upper arms, or in the space between your chest and collarbone, and gently tapping. The position of the hands resembles a butterfly, hence the name. The tapping should alternate between both sides and one can include saying positive affirmations while doing them. The effect can be very calming!

 


4. Meditation

There can't be many people in today's world that doesn't already know that meditation has beneficial effects[5], but knowing how to meditate is often a challenge.

 


5. Exercise

Our bodies are built to move, but while we evolved with daily movement in mind, our modern lifestyle of extensive sitting and using vehicles to get around means that the majority of us are falling prey to weight-related ill-health. Exercise decreases depression[6] and anxiety[7], helping you feel good, feel stronger, helping with maintaing healthy body weight, and live with more energy. What's not to enjoy!

Try to engage in some form of aerobic exercise, such as dancing, running or even just brisk walking at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Be sure and get a check up with your doctor before starting any training to make sure you don't overdo it if you aren't already physically active. And you don't need to join a gym, but doing so can add a social aspect to exercising that will also help with raising your mood.

 


So Go Feel Better!

So now you have five simple tools that will help you feel better and can be done immediately. Yes, it can be difficult to start anything, especially if you feel down or too anxious to think about starting anything new, but even if you only do one each day for the next five days you will be making progress. And the more you do it the easier it becomes!

Here's to a more enjoyable life!

 


Sources:

1. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/743504/
2. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00334/full

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099099/
4. http://web.archive.org/web/19961104000212/http://www.emdr.com/studies.html
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400080/
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17846259
7. http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-199111030-00002