There’s a lot of stress out there – and that’s not great.
There is more awareness and conversations now about mindfulness, depression and mental health issues than ever before – and that is great.
There’s a growing realisation that appearances are deceiving and while someone’s “on line” life may look amazing, scratch the surface and you find they’re only telling – or in some cases orchestrating a story. Who can blame people? – no one is going to search for ‘non perfect’ people to aspire to, or post pictures of themselves looking anything but what they view themselves as perfect. The fact is – that more people are becoming aware of the “smokes and mirrors” effects of social media – and that awareness is great.
We are inherently fragile and deeply vulnerable. With this technology age ever more “connecting” people, we are actually becoming more and more disconnected from the truth – our truth, ourselves.
So what if you’re having one of those days where you’re just not winning?
A day of self doubt. Wandering, Ruminating. Lost in the depths of your soul. Caught in the web of thoughts that are too sticky to get out of. You look around you – does everyone else have it sorted? Why am I such a…..? ( you can fill in many gaps here and go round and round on this very comfortable merry go round and you can’t get off it, the ride won’t stop).What then? You feel low and maybe all this talk of feeling positive and doing meditation etc, just makes you feel even more of a loser than you already think you are? What then?
People try to cheer you up – say you don’t have it that bad……”Look at all the less fortunate people in the world” etc etc. – Well now you feel like a complete loser, because you know they’re right and that there are people in far worse conditions than you……..but you just can’t shift it…..so you add guilt to the equation …. the guilt of knowing how lucky you are and how ungrateful you are to be in your situation…….. and still not be happy….what a ……
Take a breath…
- Accept the fact that you won’t always win the battle with your thoughts.
- Accept the fact that there are going to be days where you just don’t and won’t feel good, or even like you’re treading water and that that’s ok.
- Accept the fact that you are not on your own – you are not the only person to have felt like this, feel like this, will feel like this and there is someone else out there right now, who is sharing in your angst – somewhere.
- Know that just as night turns to day – the feeling is temporary and it will pass…..What if it’s more than a day? What if I feel like this for more than a week? a month? a year? I still say the feeling is temporary and it will pass…
- If you have nothing else to hang on to….hang on to Hope. The hope that for a moment, a minute – it will pass….and then those moments grow and it’s only when you’re out of it, you realise that it has passed…. What if it comes back? I still say that the feeling is temporary and it will pass……and hang onto Hope. Know that because you were in this place before, that you also found your way out before……the feeling is temporary and it will pass.
- Be aware of your thoughts – this is where your attention goes and it affects your mood… By first of all becoming aware of what are thoughts are – we can look at those thoughts and see the effect they are having on us.
- Don’t just accept your thoughts as fact. Challenge them. On what basis do these statements stand? What evidence is there to support your claim? Are you actually capable of reading other people’s minds? If so – there’s a lot of money you could be making! Are you filling in the gaps of what others think, feel and perceive about you? What evidence is there to support your claim? The more you question your thoughts and challenge them, the more you realise that the bold statements that first appear in your mind….start to fall away… start to not sound so strong and firm in their truth. Once you get into this habit … there is space for other thoughts ….quieter voices that up until now have not had your attention… Challenge , question, examine.
- Tell others that you’re not having a good day. It’s not an angry announcement that you’re in terrible form and that you have a right to stomp around the house, slamming doors for the day, or skulk in your bedroom alone under a dark cloud. Examine what do you actually need right now? and repeat this again in a few mins – you may think that you want to be alone- to reduce the chances of “infection” for bad moods throughout the house, but then you realise that you’re actually really lonely……… but the drawbridge has been pulled up…………..because you slammed a door or said something daft. Own it and apologise. Ask people for some space or whatever it is that you need to help. Don’t expect them to be psychic and then snap when they push the wrong button. Arguments with family and friends make this situation worse – they don’t know why you’re grumpy and maybe neither do you, but at least let them know (so they can tip toe around you like a ticking time bomb and annoy you more!)- and do it in such a way that you ask for the support that you actually need – ask them to cook dinner, or to wash up instead of you, ask them to give you some space, ask them to keep the kids occupied while you read, ask them to give you a long hug, ask them not to try to cheer you up if it’s going to drive you bonkers. Ask them to be patient, ask them to understand. Remember this too – the tables will turn and on another day they’ll need your support, so ask them what they need?
- Do something.….stand up, the mere act of standing up is positive act. It disrupts your mind from ruminating and it asks …where are we going?……Well – where are you going?
Get out in nature- especially if it’s raining & windy- it’s never as bad as when you look out the window and if it is -you’re in for an interesting experience! Bring your rain jacket though!
Go for a walk, a run, go to yoga. What works for you? Read, listen to music – either or both, will transport you from your world now to somewhere else.
You could be brave and Meditate – if your mind is so bad – have a closer look…. you might be surprised at what you find when you face something head on. This is where the true work is done. We don’t like to look at this side of ourselves, so we tend to avoid it – but what if we took look – squared on? – do we still see with the self loathing and self hate? Perhaps we see our vulnerability, which is really the thing that’s making us squirm. We are all vulnerable and in our vulnerability lies our true strength and our honesty. If your car started making an awful sound you’d look eh? You’d look even if you know nothing about cars, just to confirm that the engine is still in the car….and that’s what you do! You also might find that because you looked that the “problem” is a simple one and that it’s ok. You also might look and see something that scares you, or it is truly bigger than you can manage and that it’s time to ask for help. Get some help today. Talk to somebody, reach out to a friend, your husband, your wife, your parent, your sibling, go to your GP. You are not in this on your own. yourmentalhealth.ie
Paint (a picture…. not a wall! – or maybe a wall -whatever floats your boat),write, play an instrument, go out in the garden – if you don’t have one go to your nearest green space – look at a plant – look really closely at a plant – smell the plant, touch it , what does it feel like (make sure it’s not a nettle!). Stay away from social media – how’s that going to add to your life right now? If you find yourself reaching for the wine or whiskey – here’s a thought – get a piece of paper and write the word ‘regret’ on it – get some sellotape and stick the paper to the bottle….Remember the last time you were in a low mood…. was it fixed by a bottle? Make a cuppa tea, make a drawing, make soup, make a sound – sing, hum, chant. Curl up with your cat or dog if you have one. They love you just as you are.
Put on music that you like to sing to….. you may even not feel like singing but listening to your favourite music can lift your mood. I’ve also found that once I start singing my mood does shift and I just can’t be in grump anymore – try it!
- Practice Self Compassion – so you’re not feeling to good today – why do we insist that we must fix that right now? and that if we can’t snap out if it -well that’s just further evidence to what a bad day we’re having… and what a bad person we are….. If your best friend was feeling like this, what would you say to them?….. or better still……Would you say all the stuff that your saying to yourself – to them? What if they were here and they said some of the stuff to you that you were saying to yourself? You might end up having a row…why? Because neither they, or you, would say that kind of stuff to each other and you would row over the fact that it’s not acceptable stuff to say to somebody………What makes it ok then for you to say that to yourself? Cut yourself some slack and give yourself the grace of taking the day off from adding that list of stuff to the already ginormous list of stuff that you’re beating yourself over the head with. It’s not fair on you , it’s not necessary and it’s not warranted. If you’re feeling like this now reading this… it’s time to get off your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. The internet will be waiting for you when you get back. Go do something for yourself now please . Xx.
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