I know what it feels like to be really miserable. I’ve been there. I know how hard it is when it’s a struggle to move, let alone get out of bed. And I know how much you may want that bad feeling to be over, no matter what’s causing it. But I believe that you have to fight for it, inch by inch, and over time, you will feel better. Rather than hoping for a quick recovery, if you have the patience to do the little things that make you feel a little better, and keep doing them even if you don’t really notice the improvement, you can climb yourself out of almost anything.

Luis Molinero
Source: Luis Molinero

So I made you a list of 21 simple things you can do to feel better right here, right now. Print it up and stick it somewhere so you can see it often and then just choose one or two from the menu several times a day. Guaranteed, if you’ve been feeling really miserable, this practice will help you feel better. Best of all, it’s free, low tech and doesn’t take any equipment (or at least, not much)!

  1. Take a walk and really connect with nature
  2. Sing a song (any song) with gusto
  3. Donate money, items or your time to a charity
  4. Practice penmanship – beautifully write out the alphabet
  5. Watch a stand-up comic on YouTube
  6. Play with your dog or cat
  7. Write an encouraging note to a friend or relative in need
  8. Meditate for ten minutes
  9. Do a drawing whether you’re a good artist or not
  10. Listen (really listen) to music that you love
  11. Bake something
  12. Take a candlelit bath with spa music using essential oils
  13. Do a twenty minute yoga or stretching video
  14. Read a book or poem
  15. Put on music and dance
  16. Talk with your most supportive family member or friend
  17. Sign up for a class to learn that thing that interests you
  18. Close your eyes, sit up straight and take ten slow mindful breaths
  19. Do a jigsaw puzzle
  20. Write down three things for which you feel grateful
  21. Zumba! No one can feel down when they’re doing Zumba!

If you feel tempted to do one of the things on the list, do it! That’s your wise inner voice pushing you to reach for health. I’m sure you have a lot of reasons why not to do things, but once you find yourself leaning towards being active, go for it. You can start to break the spell of misery.

I’m a psychotherapist, family therapist and the author of Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal; The Divorce Talk: How to Tell the Kids – A Parent’s Guide to Breaking the News without Breaking Their Hearts; My Sister, My Self: The Surprising Ways that Being an Older, Middle, Younger or Twin Shaped Your Life and the editor of Planet Heartbreak: Abandoned Wives Tell Their Stories. I can be found online at www.vikkistark.com.

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