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We’ve all been there; sitting at home, feeling like we are treading water, unsure of which direction we should go and how to take the next step. It can leave us feeling lost and depressed, with nowhere left to turned, bogged down in our own worries and anxieties. Sometimes, the best thing to do is take a step outside of ourselves and clear our minds. Here are 15 tips on how to clear your mind when you’re feeling stuck:

Give someone a genuine compliment.

It seems counterintuitive to compliment someone else when you aren’t feeling so great about yourself, but research actually shows that when we encourage others, it releases feel good hormones in our own brains by taking the focus off of ourselves and turning it on to the positives in someone else. The only trick? The compliment has to be genuine.

Be thankful for what you’ve learned.

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There is something to be gained from every bad experience. No matter what you are going through, chances are you are discovering valuable information about yourself or others that will help you later on down the line. Take a moment to think about what you’ve learned and be thankful for it. It could help you avoid the same situation in the future.

Read inspirational quotes.

Great minds have come up with profound thoughts and theories on nearly every topic imaginable. No matter what you are going through, there are quotes out there from many great leaders, poets, philosophers that can help get you out of your funk.

Stay in the present moment.

Many of our worries come from either lamenting on past tragedies or mistakes or anxiously worrying about a future situation. By staying in the present moment, we take away the imagined stress and focus only on what is actually happening right here and now.

Smile.

There might be some truth to the old adage, “fake it till you make it.” Smiling releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain and can actually change your mood. A good practice is to smile at people in public since it not only boosts your own mood, but seeing someone smile back at you (which most people will do) creates a feeling of connected camaraderie.

Admit where you are.

Much of our sadness comes from denying how we are actually feeling. It’s tempting to push your feeling under a giant carpet of to-do lists and busy work. One of the most important steps to feeling better is often just admitting, either to ourselves or to a close friend, how we are feeling. Sometimes just bringing the issue or emotion to light alleviates the stress of trying to hide it or deny it.

Sing or dance along to your favorite music.

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Even if you can’t carry a tune and you have two left feet, singing and dancing both boost the serotonin levels in your brain which can bring you out of a funk and get your positivity flowing again.

Exercise.

Aside from the slew of health benefits that exercise offers, experts agree that even just a ten minute walk around the block can lift your spirits and boost your mood. Exercise releases both serotonin and dopamine to the brain and increases blood flow and circulation. Exercise also lowers the levels of cortisol , a stress hormone, in your blood.

Go outside.

Getting a dose of sunshine every day can help boost your mood and alleviate depression. The vitamin D in sunshine is not only good for you but it also naturally lifts your spirits.

Get wet.

Whether you are sitting near a body of water, walking in the rain or just drinking a cool, refreshing glass, water is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. Water has a calming, relaxing effect on our mood and drinking water can flush out toxins and help increase blood flow.

Try something new.

Anytime we try something new, we push the limits of our comfort zone which allows us to forget about the problems we currently have. If you are feeling depressed or bored, try signing up for a free class at your local community center. Not only will you meet new people, but learning something new stimulates the brain which is a great way to combat depression and get your creative juices flowing.

Pet a puppy.

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Pet owners tend to be less stressed than their pet-less counterparts. Animals, especially baby animals, create feelings of warmth and love in humans which can take your mind off of your worries.

Meditate.

One of the most useful and overlooked ways to lift depression or get yourself out of a rut is meditation. In order for meditation to work, you have to sit quietly with no distractions and focus on your breathing. Although it’s a simple exercise, it takes practice to quiet the mind and fight the urge to always be up doing something. Try meditating for just five minutes each day and then build from there.

Write in a journal.

Oftentimes when we are feeling sad, anxious or depressed, we aren’t able to put our finger on the cause of our feelings, which leads to frustration. One of the best things you can do to get all of your feelings out is to write about them in a journal.

Laugh.

It’s true what they say, laughter really is the best medicine. Can’t find your funny bone? Put on a comedy, read a funny book, attend a local stand up show or just search “comedians” on YouTube. The very act of laughing releases all of our feel good hormones and lowers stress levels so that you can shake off your blues.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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