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How to Heal a Broken Spirit

by Mitch Reid

Life isn't perfect. From break-ups and layoffs to sudden health woes and even the deaths of loved ones, situations abound that can break your spirit. Even those who seem naturally optimistic feel sadness on occasion. Gloom doesn't have to weigh you down forever. Several strategies can help you pick yourself up and embrace a stronger sense of emotional buoyancy.

A Little Help From Friends

Rather than trying to weather the storms alone, **rely on friends and family** members for support. Some of happiest people tend to cultivate close relationships, notes psychiatrist R. Murali Krishna in the PsychCentral article, "The Pursuit of Happiness: Characteristics of Happy People." If you need a distraction, go for a stroll in the park with a friend, and if you need to vent your unhappy thoughts, talk to a family member. While that person might not be able to solve your problem, his company alone might be enough to buoy your spirits.

Journal Your Gratitude

Practicing the **art of being grateful** can create a change in your mood, suggests says psychologist William F. Doverspike in the article, "How to Cultivate Gratitude: A Key to Abundant Living." Either on paper or in your head, keep a list of things you are grateful for in life. For example, list your physical health or your friends. If self-esteem issues are weighing down your spirit, list some of your most positive qualities, like your sense of compassion or loyalty. By doing so, you will draw attention to the often-overlooked positive points.

Push Away Stress

Stress is often a barrier to happiness. While embracing the positive aspects of life, remember to **keep the unnecessary worries at bay**. If you're a religious person, use prayer to strengthen your mental resolve, suggests physician Susan Biali in her "Psychology Today" article, "10 Secrets to Living a Vibrantly Happy, Healthy Life." If you're not particularly religious, you can still enjoy spiritual exercises such as meditation. When combined with a physical component, such as yoga, this can keep you focused on mending your spirit.

Buoyancy of Laughter

**Humor can do wonders** for a weighted spirit. Don't be afraid to be childlike and embrace your silly side, suggests Biali. For example, take up a creative hobby that allows you to goof off and find laughter. Write silly poetry or paint a crazy picture. Situations in which you don't feel the need to be perfect or even mature can help you escape the stress of the adult world. For extra healing, include a few friends in these activities and make it a weekly habit.

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