What can I do to feel better?


It’s essential to engage in positive social interactions and cultivate meaningful relationships in our lives. Neglecting this may have you feeling lonely which has been linked to being less happy, less satisfied and more pessimistic (Singh & Kiran, 2013). As our day-to-day lives are busy, we have to spend our days balancing between work, responsibilities, running errands and so on. This leaves us with no time to connect. In a world of more virtual interactions than physical, human connection is now more important than ever. Investing time in nurturing relationships can significantly help you to feel better when feeling down. Human connection can be a walk in the park, a chat over coffee, or a nice warm hug. Engaging in these with loved ones can be a powerful tonic for lifting our spirits and enhancing our well-being.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness offers a calming path to feeling better through learning to observe our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. This allows space for clarity and inner peace to emerge. With each mindful breath, we soften the tension in our bodies and soothe the anxiety and stress we may feel in our minds.

Incorporate mindfulness into everyday activities by bringing conscious awareness to the present moment. Whether you’re eating a meal, walking to the bus stop, or washing dishes, immerse yourself fully in the experience by noticing the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations around you. Engage all your senses and soak in each moment without rushing or multitasking. Throughout the day, take brief pauses to check in with yourself and observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them.

Start by setting aside a few minutes each day for mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or mindful breathing. If you are unsure of where to being with mindful breathing or gaining mindfulness skills, apps such as “calm” or “smiling mind” can be helpful as it will offer guidance. Consistency and patience are key when integrating mindfulness into your daily routine. Start with small steps and gradually build upon your practice over time. Remember that mindfulness is not about achieving perfection but rather about embracing the journey of self-discovery and self-awareness.

Implementing healthier habits

The gut provides approximately 95% of the total body’s serotonin (also known as the happy hormone), therefore it is no secret that eating well and improving your gut health, will directly impact your mood and happiness (Jeremy Appleton, 2018). Consuming a diet rich in probiotics, prebiotics, and fibre can support a diverse and thriving gut microbiome. These nutrient-dense foods supply the brain with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation, support neurotransmitter production, and protect against oxidative stress (National University). On the contrary, studies and meta-analyses demonstrated that greater intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms (Lane et al, 2022). Making conscious choices to prioritize healthy eating habits can have profound effects on mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life, empowering us to thrive mentally and emotionally.

It is no secret that sleep plays a fundamental role in supporting mental health and overall well-being. Adequate sleep is essential for the brain to recharge, consolidate memories, and process emotions effectively. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine excluding devices, and creating a comfortable sleep environment, is essential for optimizing mental health.

It is also widely acknowledged that physical exercise, even something as simple as taking a walk, can have profound benefits for mental health. Engaging in regular physical activity has been shown to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Exercise also reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol and stimulates the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which play key roles in mood regulation.

Protecting your mental health at work

A poor work environment can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion often cause by prolonged and excessive stress. Fortunately, we can take some simple steps to protect our mental health at work. Ensuring a positive and less stressful work space will help you focus on the tasks at hand whilst enjoying a productive and happy work life.

The first step in doing this is to stop and reflect. Identifying the sources of the stress can be crucial to make changes where you need. These stressors might encompass perfectionist tendencies, challenging colleagues, long working hours and so on. Upon reflection, it may become evident that you will need to establish personal boundaries and adhere to them. These boundaries could be as straightforward as ensuring you take your lunch break rather than eat at your desk while continuing to work. Another important boundary could involve leaving work matters at work (and be strict about it).

Preserving mental well-being involving work also entails taking proactive measures outside of the workplace. As previously mentioned, practicing mindfulness can be a great way to feel better, and you can integrate these techniques into your work day or each morning.

Self care and self compassion

Prioritizing self-care activities that nurture our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs is vital for replenishing our reserves and promoting overall well-being. Whether it’s carving out time for relaxation, engaging in activities that bring us joy, or seeking support from loved ones or a professional, self-care allows us to recharge and refocus, empowering us to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater ease and resilience.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

Written & Reviewed by Dounia Crivelli, Associate Psychologist, in 2024