I’ve been there…
I know exactly what it’s like when things seem hopeless.
While I won’t get into the details – I will say that the feelings of sadness I’ve experienced throughout my life have been pretty intense.
And even though I view such situations as an opportunity to revisit some of the inner conflicts that take up residence in my mind, I will say that regardless of how ‘aware’ I can be of my negative feelings, actually being in them… totally sucks.
So what do you do when you feel terrible – EVEN with an understanding of what your pain is telling you?
Well, I have several different methods that I’ve worked with when I’ve been down and out.
Perhaps they’ll offer you some hope the next time you feel as though your life is against you.
7 Ways to Cope When You’re Feeling Depressed
- Accept it. I don’t mean to lay down and die in your depressed state – but I do mean to recognize where you’re at, and understand that there is something for you to learn – even if it’s about you (it always is).
- Treat yourself with love and respect. This includes filling your body with nutrient dense foods and exercising in any way that brings you joy.
- Try to identify the underlying thought/belief that may be the cause of the pain and see if somehow, this is telling you something valuable about yourself (Ex – I hate the way I’m treated at work. It makes me feel like a worthless loser who doesn’t deserve respect).
- Find things to enjoy – even in small increments as often as you can in an effort to experience seeing the ‘bright spot’ in a dark situation.
- Allow yourself a treat. Don’t deprive – but it isn’t necessary to go all out and overindulge either. This is a time where self-respect is important – so go ahead and allow yourself something fabulous…just do so from a place of self-love instead of escapism.
- Bathe in humor as often as possible. Laughter really is a gift from God.
- Make a list of aspects that you like and admire about yourself. Accomplishments work too.
So because I’ve listed these suggestions, I’m going to take the liberty to use my own example of how I’ve put them into play during my dark periods.
When I’m feeling depressed:
- I accept where I am, and I don’t attempt to fix it immediately. I understand that my level of consciousness isn’t in a ‘solution’ mode, but it is telling me how my thoughts and beliefs have run certain aspects of my life (and how they still do). So I listen and get busy doing some shadow/core work. I wrote a post on Sylviane Nuccio’s blog about how to allow our emotions to communicate with us. I practice this often.
- I drink a LOT of fluoride-free, purified water. I add different healthy elements to it such as lemon (or organic lemon juice), greens and aloe vera juice. I also do strength training workouts – which helps me to alleviate negativity and keeps me strong and agile.
- I recognize the thoughts and beliefs that cause me to feel the way I do. I know my life is a reflection of my thoughts and beliefs, so anything that shows up is informing me of the programming that has run my life. I view each bout of depression as a way to tackle these issues from an expanded perspective and to grow from them.
- I love the beach, so I take the time to walk along the shore, sit on the sand and stare at the ocean. As I do this, I remind myself that even though life feels like it sucks, I still have things to be grateful for.
- I’ll allow myself a treat if I want one. They no longer own me, so if I want a cupcake, I’ll have one.
- I watch George Carlin videos.
- I take a look at my accomplishments. I’ll sometimes reread my own work, along with the comments to see how I’ve managed to positively impact others with my story. I’m hoping to do more of the same with this post. I’ve also made a list of what I’m proud of. This is what reminds me that all hope isn’t lost.
- I lost the 70-75 (I fluctuate a bit) pounds that I carried on my body for a few years, and have kept it off. While I am not always ‘perfect’, I have followed my own inner-guidance and I remain someone who enjoys well-being – even if I do indulge from time to time.
- I have completely healed from ALL of my eating disorders. They no longer rule my life. At all.
- I (with the help of my husband doing this with me) completed the course requirements and graduated from a VERY challenging and demanding school for fitness. Now I’m no scholar, and I didn’t think I would ever have it in me to do what this curriculum required me to do, but dammit, I did it. And then I wrote a book about it.
- I wrote and published “A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You”. This is a book in which there is no other like it. Anywhere. It was a ‘bucket list’ sort of thing. While I’m thrilled that I actually created it…I tackled a market that doesn’t know it needs to be a market – yet. I knew the challenge going in and wrote the book anyway because it needed to be written. I know it acts as an asset to anyone who reads it – especially if they exercise. And I am proud that I am the one who made it a reality. And to top it off – I received an award (my first one ever) for writing it.
This is The Time to Explore Your Creative Nature
If you’re feeling depressed, creativity can be your friend.
I can think of several artists who have come up with some of their best work when they were stuck in a low point in their lives.
Sometimes the inspiration may not show up immediately, but if you can tell yourself that…
This too shall pass.
…and just keep on keepin’ on – you may have something to work with once the darkness has (finally) faded away.
Some things you can do to alleviate the acute pain are:
- Scribble in your notebook about how much you hate your job (but then make another list about what you like about it – even if you have to really think about it. Find something. Anything.)
- Experiment with some form of art. You don’t have to be a pro. Watch design shows and see what inspires you.
- Cook something yummy. Getting in the kitchen is like therapy for me. Making something healthy is a double whammy dose of comfort.
- Watch someone else cook something yummy. This is a lighthearted activity that can serve to inspire you.
- Find healthy additives to put in water for healthy nutrition benefits. There are fruit infused water bottles out there that make this easy. This type of behavior makes you feel like you love yourself.
- Immerse yourself in well-being. Self-care is one of the most effective ways to combat feelings of depression. It’s an intentional act in the form of care toward yourself, and others. When we are good to ourselves, we are good to those who surround us. Just knowing this is a way to feel empowered.
- Go for a walk or work out. 10-20 minutes of intense physical activity is often enough to shake off the intensity of the pain. I’ve done this many times and it works beautifully.
These are all forms of creativity, and they can do wonders for sadness. Again it isn’t about escaping it – it’s about being in the moment, in the feelings – even when they are dark. Fully embrace them and be self-loving anyway.
I don’t make these suggestions lightly either.
I have been in the midst of the darkness – fully surrendering to it. But in doing so, I can be IN the water without being UNDER the water.
A LOT of Us Get Into a Funk Every Now and Then…
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t… at least at some point in their lives. It happens to the best of us – for many reasons.
The persistent ones are usually there to tell you there is still something that hasn’t been dealt with yet, and it isn’t going anywhere until it is. This is why escaping doesn’t work.
All of our issues stem from thought. Mine included. And although we can change jobs, relationship partners or even ‘fix’ a family member, the truth is –
As within, so without.
There may even be some issues that never get truly healed, and in this – acceptance is a friend.
So if you’re feeling depressed, try these suggestions out.
You aren’t alone – you just think you are.
If you haven’t yet watched the film “Conversations with God”, I encourage you to do so. It’s very inspiring.
Over to you…
How do you deal with feelings of depression?