How to move on from feeling low, dissatisfied, depressed, and hopeless to feeling healthy, happy and living the life you want.
There are many of us that for whatever reason (circumstance, family members, early trauma, etc.), feel low, depressed, and dissatisfied on a regular basis. Even when things seem to be good, there’s a part of our mind that, when something goes wrong, throws us into these deep, depressive states.
For some, life circumstances (loss, the death of a parent, a job, or relationship breakdown) hits them hard. When we face adversity it can feel never-ending and we can lose touch with what is possible. There are many reasons why this happens to people, reasons that go beyond the scope of this article. Some people may need extra help and support to work through what is going on in their lives.
Fortunately, there are also things to that we can do to regain some control and create the lives we want.
When something negative happens, it’s important to be able to notice what has happened and the emotions we feel. It’s also equally important that we don’t discount these feelings. Sometimes, we may need a break to get a handle on the mixed emotions whirling around in our heads. Self-care is crucial, and so is having the chance to talk it through.
If you’re overwhelmed, Its important to accept how you feel and not be scared of what’s going on.. Some people have never been allowed to feel. Or have experienced having their feelings discounted. This might be the first time you have experienced the full force of them . If you’ve been out of touch with yourself for a while, then it can be frightening to feel the emotions raging inside you.
Trust is very important. Trust that it will pass. Feelings, once accepted, lose their force and do die down. Often, doing something simple like taking time out, having a bath, going for a walk, meditating, or just breathing deeply , will help. You need to park your mind and all the thoughts swirling around. It helps give you a break so you can take it all in and then decide what the next step could be.
If overwhelm or confusion is a constant experience, then you might need to seek help. Verbalizing your experiences can help you not only process and make sense of them but also help you find better ways to manage them.
Experiencing low mood, anxiety, stress, or lacking motivation and hopelessness on a daily basis is not a state you want to feel for too long. There are several ways that you can begin to shift out of this mind-set and experience much lighter and happier ways of being.
Noticing what you feel and how it influences your behaviour is a start. This is why so many websites highlight the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Learning to still your mind, breathe deeply, and focus your attention helps you notice what your brain is actually coming up with. It also helps you decide which thoughts you want to entertain and which ones you do not.
Feeling negative thoughts or seeing images or memories that disturb you activates a negative mental states. Accepting past events and the feelings that they evoked at the time, is part of what helps you move on.
Once you have started to reduce the overwhelm and negative thinking, then try some of the steps below.
Write a list of all the things that make you smile, that you enjoy or love doing. It can be a sport, a hobby, listening to radio, or particular friends.
Sit and breathe and still your mind and focus on this activity.
Use colourful pens if you have them and place the list next to the mirror or a place you look at every morning, like next to your tea kettle or beside the front door.
Each day, choose one thing on that list ,along with one bigger thing that you can accomplish in the entire week.
Notice how you feel when I suggest this exercise.
Did you come up with a list of reasons why you can’t?
Did you tell yourself that you have no time and that your kids need you. You say you need to go out for groceries or put the things away. Sometimes when we really need to sit and breath, we can start to feel an impulse to do the opposite. It’s interesting how many of us put off doing what we love and enjoy until we retire. But that’s not a good way to live your best life now.
So, now you have a list of :
what you know makes you feel good
How you tend to feel on a daily basis and some reasons why
And a list of what you want to try or love to do.
The Scientist and The Creator
If you feel miserable most of the time, then you cannot create a positive future based . What you currently do will keep getting you the same results, unless you throw something new into the mix. This is when you become the scientist.
See the next few weeks as an experiment.
Pretend that someone has paid you to observe what happens when you do something new. Notice what happens when you do more of what you love, and note down your observations. For example:
You realise you love walking in the local country park but never do it. Notice how you feel when you get up. Maybe there is a part of you that thinks, “Oh, not today. Why bother?” But you decide to sit on your favourite chair, breathe and say, “I’m going to be the scientist.” You calm and still your mind and park your thoughts.
Sometimes excitement can stir within you, as you begin to think about how much fun it could be to do something new.
Mindfulness starts with noticing . It is like being your own detective
Take a trip to the park and notice how it feels when you put on your favourite boots, jumper, and jeans. You might already feel calmer since you took time to meditate on the positives. Your brain quiets down when it realises that you’re okay. It doesn’t have to make you feel fearful as your starting with some easy steps. You get to the park and you decide you are going to mindfully walk and look at a whole range of things. Maybe you notice things that before would have never caught your attention. You notice the lake and how it shimmers, the trees and the sun shines on them. You notice how the air feels fresh and smooth in your lungs. Or how your feet feel cosy in your favourite socks and boots.
Or, you love the busyness of the city. You take the train into London. You walk down the street and wonder what other sounds you can notice. Notice what peoples’ faces tell you or what you experience when you focus on just one thing.
This kind of experiment can open up all your senses. It creates an opportunity for your mind to go further than before and takes very little effort.
Decide what bits you like and why and write them out. Over the next few weeks, do it with each new thing. This will guide you further toward increasing enjoyment in your life. You might even find that those other negative feelings don’t hang around as much.
Once you notice there is more peace, calm, happiness etc , you can begin to feel more confident that the negative thinking is releasing its grip.
By now, you have three lists:
One that logs when things aren’t good.
The things you love to do.
The activities you started, and what you noticed while doing those activities.
Now look at the list of things you noticed and consider what the feelings they evoke and what they mean to you. Consider how to find the same elements in other things you do daily.
When you are in a more positive state, think about what was different about your day. Were people more helpful? Were things flowing more smoothly? Did you get absorbed in the wonder and the sensations of slowing the world down and enjoying it more?
Now you can distinguish what parts of your life make you feel more positive.
When things don’t make you feel good then you either need to find a way to change your perspective, or tackle those too.
Some things are in your control and you can change them. Make a decision to do more for yourself and do more of what you enjoy, . Spend less time with the people that complain or rely on what you can give them. If you’re with people mired in conflict then consider if this is how you need to be using your time and energy. Sometimes we outgrow people but are afraid of moving on. Sometimes re-framing these situations and finding better ways to communicate can help. It depends on the relationship and the capacity of the person you are with.
For now, become the scientist and start experimenting to create a better world for you to live in.
Try it for 30 days and let me know how you do.
Review your 30 day testing phase and underline what you enjoyed, want to do more of and log any new ideas that come to you , then start your next 30 days ….
Keep the log to track your growth and growing awareness , over the few months you may notice how much your mood has improved, how you stay feeling better for longer and how your self esteem improves as you gain confidence testing things out and become discerning about what really is starting to work for you …