There are so many times that I have heard from friends and colleagues who were just so deep into their depressions that they did not know how to claw themselves back up into the light of hope. All hope had been seemingly sucked dry, from the life within. The anxiety was rolling high and deep. It was just so overwhelming and at many points in my own life I have even felt it. How does one overcome these feelings? That is such a valid and great question.
- Knowing that these feelings are normal, and valid Is important. It is a process of life, and many people experience this. Knowing you are not alone, although it may feel like it, human suffering is universal.
- Knowing that it’s a bad day, and not a bad life is hugely significant to overcoming negative and catastrophic thinking.
What are some of the coping mechanisms to deal with these overwhelming feelings when they creep up?
- Adequate rest—ensure you are getting at least 8 hours. If you cannot get actual “sleep” at least lay in your bed to give your body the rest, it needs. With your eyes closed, no TV, no other distractions. Allow your body to rest!
- Adequate water and nutrition—Ensure you are eating and drinking enough fluids. This does not mean energy drinks, coffee, or soda although they can be delicious occasionally—you should really be hydrating with water and enjoy a good caffeine-free hot sleepy-time tea to relax you.
- Protein drinks—are very good to help heal your body from whatever it is trying to recover from—whether stress or anything your body might be trying to fight off immunologically or emotionally.
- Affirmations—Tell yourself that you’ve been through difficult situations before and that you can recover again. Tell yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life. Tell yourself that you are allowed to rest and recover your strength. Do not guilt yourself, shame yourself or try to make yourself feel bad for resting. So many of us have a difficult time with this because even when we do rest, we make ourselves feel like we must be productive 100% of the time. This is not accurate. Productivity is in resting.
- Meditate—Some of us have difficulty with visualizing, but if you do—imagine a door in your mind and try to open it—and behind the door is your “safe place” –which can be any place of your choosing, where there are no people, but safe things, whether it be a mountain, a beach, your room, a lake, etc. You will imagine in vivid details—all your surroundings. Imagine the tastes, the smells, the sights, the sounds. Use all your five senses to help you. Another meditation I like to do is where I imagine black tarry grease coming out of my fingertips, feet, eyes, nose, ears and dripping into Mother Earth, who takes the negativity and turns it into beautiful flowers, grass, trees, etc., renewing my negativity to beauty. Then I am filled with beautiful white light from source light energy.
- Herbal supplements—some people might say herbal supplements help them, but it is really recommended you follow your doctor’s instructions and advice about this as to which can help you with your energy levels and emotions.
- Butterfly hug –Cross your arms with your left arm underneath your right arm and left hand touching your right shoulder and right hand touching your left shoulder in an embrace. You will begin tapping each shoulder alternately in a type of bi-lateral stimulation where you will begin to feel at ease as doing this is a self-soothing exercise.
- Sit in it to win it—Sometimes you just must sit and allow the feelings to flood over you so they can process, in order to get through them. Just do not ignore them because that is when they get stuffed and come out in other ways in which we do not want them to.
Remember—you are allowed to feel all the feelings. Every single one. By stuffing your feelings, your feelings will have their way out, eventually. Whether it be in the form of nightmares, self-sabotage via the subconscious, feelings will find a way to work at getting their points across to you. They need to be heard, seen, and validated. Sit with them and feel them. Tell them you see them and hear them, and you acknowledge them. Tell them you respect them for letting you know that there is something they are protecting you from and letting you know there is something wrong. Sometimes they just want the acknowledgement. They also want a method of change. Maybe your life is fast paced, and they want you to slow down and recognize the detriment you are doing to yourself and your body. Maybe you are doing yourself a disservice and your feelings are trying to tell you to stand up for yourself. Listen to your feelings. They will serve you well if you don’t ignore them.
Feelings serve a purpose and tell you what is going on deep down within. Even anger serves a purpose to tell you your boundaries have been crossed. There are no “negative feelings” just uncomfortable ones. Vice Versa there are no “positive” ones just ones that make us feel good. Listen to your emotions, they will work in your favor if you listen to them.
We sometimes let the bad feelings ruin our day, ruin our week, ruin our month if we continue to allow it with catastrophic thinking. If we can recognize what is causing the feelings in the first place, we can make a catalyst for change by implementing certain changes in positive thinking habits to turn around our emotions for putting us in a better place.
But just remember, it’s a bad day… not a bad life. You can turn it around with many of the methods I’ve previously mentioned. If the mood does happen to linger for longer than a few months, it might be more than just an average bad day.
Here’s a little quiz if you feel you may be suffering from more than just a bad day:
Score 0 for not at all; Score 1 for several days; score 2 for more than half the days; score 3 for nearly every day.
- Little interest or pleasure in doing things = (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Feeling tired or having little energy= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Poor appetite or overeating= (not at all) (several days) (More than half days) (Nearly every day)
- Feeling bad about yourself—or that you are a failure or have let yourself or family down= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite—being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- Thoughts you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way= (not at all) (several days) (more than half days) (nearly every day)
- How difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people? (Not at all difficult=0) (Somewhat difficult=1) (Very difficult=2) (Extremely difficult=3)
It is highly recommended anyone with a rating above a 10 be seen by a therapist for safety reasons. Anyone who answers that they are feeling they are better off dead or wanting to hurt themselves should reach out for help immediately.
At Clarity Family Therapy Services, we have Therapists who understand and work from a holistic approach to meet your needs from where you are at. Please don’t suffer in silence and get help, especially since there is such great access to care at your fingertips. Utilize the support that is there for you. There is no need to try to do it alone. No one is an island. Let a therapist help you today to get back on track with your emotions if all the other methods above just aren’t working.