Pearlman & Associates

655 Craig Road
St. Louis, MO 63141

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7 Things To Do When You Are Feeling Down

7 Things To Do When You Are Feeling Down

By: Dr. Lena Pearlman

There are many reasons why one may feel down in the dumps, a bit sad, stuck, or lethargic. These range from stress at work, conflict with a friend or relative, receiving disappointing news, relationship issues, etc. A person’s reaction to this could include staying in bed all day, isolation from others, drinking, overeating, or just sitting around doing nothing.

Another approach is to find ways that will make you feel better and that are better for your physical and mental health. Some suggestions include:

1) Just breathe

There are so many benefits to deep breathing! Breathing increases neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain. Breathing reducing excessive anxiety levels. As you relax your body, you will find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

2) Get some exercise

Exercise helps your physical and mental health in so many ways. Exercise alleviates anxiety. When exercising, the body releases endorphins – which creates feelings of happiness and euphoria. An additional benefit of exercise is that it boosts self-confidence.

3) Music

Whether you enjoy singing in the shower, playing the air guitar or putting on headphones and jamming – music has so many positive benefits for you. Music can help you relax, it can help you get up and dance and move around, and it can naturally make you feel happy.

4) Write something

Moving your thoughts and feelings from your mind to paper helps you to process the past, be in the present, and plan for the future. Journaling brings you into a state of mindfulness.

5) Cross things off your to-do list 

The feeling of accomplishment is a very powerful way to overcome feelings of sadness or helplessness. These can be a series of small things that need to be done around the house. An added benefit is that these tasks will likely require getting up and moving around.

6) Learn something new

Having an “a-ha” moment and stimulating your brain has been shown to improve one’s outlook. It also feels good to have new knowledge or skills. This can be something as simple as watching some Khan Academy clips.

7) Talk to someone

Reconnect with an old friend or make a new friend. Talking with someone can help get your thoughts and feelings out. This may feel like the weight of the world has been removed from your shoulders. Often one realizes that whatever was making them feel down or sad, really is not as bad as they thought. It is also beneficial when you find out that there are others that may have dealt with something similar in their own life (and that they were able to move on).

If the feelings continue for a prolonged period and/or if they begin to interfere with your ability to function at home, school or work, it is likely time that you should consider speaking with a professional. A therapist or counselor is skilled at helping people to overcome challenges, to help process their feelings, to plan for healthy coping strategies, and to assist in making a plan for improved mental health.

Dr. Lena Pearlman is the clinical director and lead therapist at Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates ( The practice has nine licensed therapists. The therapists specialize in stress, anxiety, depression and relationships – and work with patients of all ages, couples and families. You can reach Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at:, or online at:


Dr. Lena Pearlman, LCSW, St. Louis Mental Health


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