Sometimes life can be a bitch.
No matter how successful we are, there will always be times when we feel a little down. It’s how we act in these times that really defines our experiences.
When was the last time you felt sad or depressed? Some of us feel this way all of the time, and for some of us it’s quite rare. It’s actually been shown that our moods have a large genetic component and for some of us it’s just a bit more common. (don’t feel bad if you are in this group)
When we are feeling down it’s important to acknowledge our feelings. There is a reason we feel this way! When your mind/body is creating emotions it’s trying to communicate something to our conscious mind. When we acknowledge our feelings and “get the message”, our body/mind will stop creating the emotion.
There are a variety of reasons for feeling sad or depressed. I’m going to talk about some of the more common ones and what you can do to handle these emotions and get back to your life
Loss is something that we will all experience. Whether it is a family member, a job or something else dear to your heart, when we lose things it hurts. Loss is an inherent part of life and can not be escaped. Here are some things you can do to help with the grieving process.
Acknowledge how you feel.
It is ok to feel sad. When we deny our feelings we don’t allow ourselves to grieve as we really need to. Our emotions are there to express a message. When we get the message the emotion is no longer needed and will fade away.
Be grateful for what you had, and what you still have.
When you lose something it means that you HAD something valuable. Take a moment to think about all of the positive experiences you had. Think about all of the wonderful things that you still have in your life. When we take this perspective it is much easier to transition through this experience of grieving.
Reach out to someone.
Loss can be hard. We’ve all been there and talking to someone you trust is a wonderful thing for your mind and soul. When we connect with others we are allowing someone else to bear a part of our emotional burden. You do not have to go through this alone. If you don’t have anyone you trust, consider talking with a therapist. It’s their job to care about you!
Do something fun.
Sometimes we can become stuck in the past. When this happens we allow emotions to fester and solidify. It’s important to experience these emotions but it’s no good when they cause us to become stagnated. Try going for a run, getting drinks with friends or reading a good book. Activities that we enjoy and are passionate about help us to remember the positive side of life and can be just what you need to shake off the cobwebs.
Our bodies have a variety of ways to respond to challenges in life. We have all heard of the fight or flight response, yet there is another option that isn’t as widely known. Have you ever heard of learned helplessness? There was an experiment done by a man named Martin Seligman where he was able to train dogs to act depressed... You can read about the experiment here.
When we are faced with a challenge that we don’t believe we can accomplish, one way our body protects ourselves is by repressing our desire to accomplish said challenge. This “protects” us from harm, however; over time this can lead to depression.
What can you do about it?
Fortunately there are a variety of options. If you want to do something, but you think you can’t, you will need to change your beliefs. You can do this by increasing your competency (if you get better at said skill you will be more likely to succeed), or by increasing your self confidence (again increasing your belief that you will succeed). Another thing you can do is taking a complex task and breaking it up into many smaller, simpler ones. When we look at challenge this way they become much more manageable and our confidence will increase.
What if I’m still struggling?
Ask for help! Bringing someone else on to your team will increase your likelihood for success and may give you the confidence you need to break free from your depression.
When we control our perspective, we win.
Without the low points we would not experience as high of highs. When we are feeling down it is important that we acknowledge our feelings. They are there for a reason, but we do not need to be trapped by them. The next time you are feeling down, go for a walk, talk to a friend, write in your journal. Each moment has a valuable lesson to share with us, it’s our job to tune in and get the message.
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