Whether you are suffering from ongoing depression or have had a recent series of bad life events that has you wondering if anything will ever go your way, life can certainly knock you down. Pain and suffering can be so overwhelming, can feel like a ton of bricks on your shoulders or chest, sometimes life can feel like a never-ending hamster wheel where you never get anywhere, or like a demented amusement park ride where everywhere you turn you hit a brick wall. When life gets like this, it is so easy to wallow in self pity, seethe with anger, lash out at others and withdraw from the world. But that is exactly what you shouldn’t do. Do the following three suggestions instead.
- Get Up and Keep Going.
When you get up in the morning, open the window and look out at the beauty of nature. Whether it be the sun shining, tall trees or birds chirping, take it all in. Then just keep going. The more you can be active, participate in life, and do what brings you joy the better (have lunch with an old friend or take a walk outdoors).
- Celebrate Small Successes!
Try to accomplish one thing every day, just one success you can be proud of. Whether it’s going through an old stack of mail, washing the dishes, sorting through a drawer, deleting old emails, or calling people back who’ve left you messages. No matter if the task takes you one hour or four, how big or small it may be, just do one task that you can say at the end of the day, “hey, I accomplished that, I did that, I rocked that!”
- Focus on the Good in your Life and Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Recognize and record the good in your life: the people who love you, positive life experiences (from past and present), any good luck that may come your way (no matter how small) and any silver linings from life challenges.
Keep a Gratitude Journal where you write these down, could be in a notebook or on your cell phone. Write it down every time something good happens or you remember something for which you are grateful. Don’t just document what happened but how you feel about it. If you don’t like writing, then paste mementos of fun events (photos, ticket stubs, etc.) into your journal or pin photos to a secret board on Pinterest. Then each time you see these, you’ll feel thankful for those experiences all over again.
While these three suggestions may seem simple, it actually can be challenging at first because you are so focused on negative experiences or frustrating people. So maybe just start with one suggestion today. Then a few days from now add the second and then the third. You don’t even need to go in order just choose the one you feel you can do.
Over time, these will help boost your mood, increase your energy, get you out of your funk and smiling at yourself in the mirror again.