How To Help Yourself Feel Better

Updated March 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Negative emotions are often unavoidable. Most of us have experienced them at some point, potentially regularly. Many of these feelings are short-lived and have no lasting health or side effects. 

However, depending on what you’re going through, your emotions may linger for weeks, months, or years. If you are feeling down, there are skills you can learn to potentially help yourself feel better.

Are You Struggling To Feel Better On Your Own?

Ways To Feel Better 

You may know yourself better than anyone else. You might be aware of your fears, deepest secrets, desires, preferences, opinions, or beliefs. For this reason, you might be the most equipped to help yourself feel better. 

Helping yourself cope with negative emotions and get out of a slump may be accomplished through one or all of these steps:

  • Let yourself feel and express your emotions

  • Do things that help you relax

  • Find hobbies and activities that bring you joy

  • Practice self-care

You might not feel that you have the tools you need to feel better on your own yet. Try to work on developing them over time. Additionally, lean on a support system and ask for help when needed. 

Let Yourself Cry

After you identify that you’re feeling down, let yourself sit with your emotions. Feeling your emotions may cause you to cry. For example, if you're feeling unappreciated in a certain situation, crying can be a normal response when triggered by strong emotions. Everyone reacts differently to stressors in their environment, but crying might bring physical and emotional relief.

Studies show that suppressing your emotions could have detrimental effects on your physical and mental health. If you cannot cry, labeling your emotions or journaling may be a way to express emotion healthily.  

Many individuals report feeling better after a cry. This response could be due to the release of certain chemicals and compounds through your tears. For example, a build-up of manganese in the body may cause intense feelings of sadness or anxiety. 

Tears release the extra manganese, balancing out your body and making you feel better. As well as releasing hormones and toxins from your body, crying is often a human way of reaching out for comfort. Our instincts teach us from infancy that crying is a way to communicate a need for support. Studies show that social support is essential to health. 

Stretch And Meditate

Stretching is one way to increase blood flow throughout your body, relieve pain, and relax your tense muscles. This exercise is often available and can be done at home or on the go. 

When you’re upset and stressed, your muscles may naturally tense up. Stretching naturally reduces physical stress, in turn relieving mental stress.

Try to consider the importance of deep, mindful breathing. Taking deep breaths while stretching could increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. More oxygen can let your heart know it doesn’t have to work so hard and may lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Try Yoga, Mindfulness, And Meditation 

Yoga and meditation have been used for ages to help increase mood and overall well-being. Taking time out to try mindful meditation is often said to help bring the body back to a sense of equilibrium, elevate mood, and bring on or strengthen creativity. Studies also point to yoga being a valuable resource for reducing depression or anxiety

Mindful meditation can require an individual to take in their current state of mind and focus on one thought or moment. Meditation can be used to centralize one’s focus on something more positive. To start, inhale and exhale, keeping in mind only one thought. If other thoughts come up, acknowledge them and let them move on. 

When you meditate, find a quiet spot away from the sounds and distractions of everyday life. Meditating without interruption can be essential in obtaining its full benefits. While many beginners may assume the traditional lotus position often seen in films, you may find it uncomfortable and distracting, so sit or lay down in a comfortable way. 

There may not be one “correct” way to meditate. Instead, meditation works best when tailored individually. Focus on something meaningful rather than worrying about what to think about.

Practice Relaxation Techniques 

One way some individuals cope with bouts of sadness is to sleep it away. It could sound too simple to work, but it may help you. A fifteen-to-thirty-minute nap can allow your body a chance to relax and destress.

When you are asleep, your body often takes it as a chance to heal and regain energy. A short nap may leave you feeling refreshed and more invigorated or motivated to get things done. It can also give your mind a chance to process the events of the day, categorize memories, and leave you feeling better overall.

Use A Stress Ball 

Another popular way to relieve stress is using a ‘stress ball.’ Made of foam or other sensory materials, stress balls often fit right in the palm of your hand. 

These balls are often squishable but give enough resistance to give your hands a light workout. The repetitive motion of squeezing and releasing the ball can effectively relieve both mental and physical tension.

Do Something You Enjoy

Many hobbies and activities can actively help in reducing stress. Once you’ve woken up from your nap, try to find an enjoyable, relaxing activity such as the following. 


If you own or know how to play an instrument, allow your creativity to take hold. If you do not know how to play an instrument, listening to music has also been proven to help boost your mood. If you like to sing, consider singing along to your favorite songs. 

Music is often referred to as a universal language and may be capable of many benefits. Music therapists aid their patients through song, allowing them to listen to, interpret, and make their own music. 

Through music, individuals are often able to express their emotions in ways that feel difficult through words. Music has been shown to be a means to express oneself and achieve and maintain stable mental and physical health.


For many, art is a creative outlet that allows them to express their emotions through a means besides words. Grabbing a pack of pencils and sitting down for a relaxing doodling session may relax your nerves and make you feel happier. Or get a hold of some paints and let your imagination run wild.

If you don’t feel creative, there are still ways that you can relax, unwind, and indulge artistically. One potential method is finding a coloring book that suits you. Nowadays, there are many types of coloring books available – from those for kids to those for adults and from simple shapes to intricate patterns. Coloring can be a creative output and supply hours of relaxation. Studies show that coloring mandalas, in particular, can ease anxiety symptoms. 

Many psychologists provide art therapy, which allows patients to convey their emotions through paintings, drawings, and models. 

Expressing concerns and feelings through these hands-on methods may allow patients to cope with stressors. They might be able to express through art what they can’t convey through words. Art therapy may help you build self-esteem and reduce undue stress.

Are You Struggling To Feel Better On Your Own?

Spending Time With Pets

If you’re a pet owner or animal lover, you may feel that cuddling up with your fluffy friend is emotionally valuable when you’re feeling down. Whether you’re worried about grades or sad over a breakup, a pet may always be there for you.  

Science also supports the benefits of owning a pet. Petting your cat or dog can help release chemicals in your brain, often called “feel-good chemicals.” When endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin are released into your brain, they often work to relieve pain and stress.

Cats may help you in a physical sense just by purring. Those soothing rumbles resonate between 20-140 Hz, a range that has been proven medically therapeutic. A cat’s purring has effectively reduced stress levels and lowered high blood pressure. 

Practice Self-Care 

Emotions are often temporary. However, when you’re feeling down, care for yourself by practicing self-care in whatever form suits you best. You may choose to start by treating your body with kindness.  

For example, you might choose a healthy dinner one day. You may soak in a warm bath filled with your favorite scents to relax. Or you might take a long relaxing walk away from the bustle of traffic. Many of these activities could benefit your mental health. 

Try to practice self-love if you feel self-criticism is taking place. Take pride in any positive steps you take, whether it’s getting dressed or making the bed. These actions can seem complicated when you’re struggling emotionally. However, completing and taking pride in everyday tasks may boost your confidence.

See A Counselor For Extra Support 

While there may not be one timeline for healing, specific interventions may help you move forward more effectively. You can chat with a therapist using a variety of communication methods. 

Feeling down could be caused by various factors, such as depression. Depression may make it difficult to get out of bed or the house. Online therapy allows you to avail care and support from the comfort of your home. You can connect using a method that makes you feel most comfortable and move at your own pace.

One study found that “depression symptom severity was significantly reduced” for those who utilized an online psychotherapeutic intervention. Those who had never used therapy before had a more profound response to the intervention.

If you’re ready to try an online treatment method, consider signing up for a platform such as BetterHelp, which offers a growing database of counselors specializing in a variety of concerns. 


Helping yourself feel better often requires trying different methods to find what works. What works well for one person may not be beneficial to another. Different coping skills, exercises, and practices you can turn to when needed may significantly improve your quality of life. 

It may also be helpful to receive advice from a licensed therapist, whether online or in-person, to assist you along the way. If you’re ready to get support, consider reaching out to a counselor. 

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