Allow yourself to feel
I woke up this morning feeling a little down. I had a happy dream of a lost loved one. Nothing special happened, but it was warm and fuzzy. There were lots of hugs and cuddles.
And then I woke up. My happy feelings faded.
In the early hours of the morning, I had to process the dream. Was it a dream or a memory? Was he here in the house? Was he asleep in the other room?
And then my mind began to process the real memories. He is no longer with us. Yes, I remember the wake. I put my hand on his chest. It is real.
He is gone.
My melancholy persisted throughout the morning. There were no bunny rabbits or unicorns or rainbows.
I pushed hard yesterday. I was happy about what I produced. And then today? Today my life is much the same as yesterday.
What to do when you feel down
You feel down because your life is not the way you would like it to be. You aren’t in the place you want to be.
When this happens, what do you do?
Ask yourself some questions:
- Why are you in your current situation?
- If you could change one thing, what would that be?
- Are you taking steps to change that thing?
- Do you trust God (the universe, fate, a higher power)?
A little introspection can be a good thing. What you don’t want to do is ignore your situation and stuff down your emotions. Truly feeling can be the first step in dealing with your sadness. If you choose not to accept your reactions, they will come back later—and more intense.
You might see the reason for your mood, and you might not have been aware of it before. If you can do something about it, you can change it. If you can’t do anything about it, you can release yourself of guilt. If there’s nothing you can do, there’s no sense moping around. If you are taking action toward your goals, congratulate yourself.
Smile! This is very hard to do when you’re feeling down, but it is important. When you smile, you tell your brain that you are happy. It doesn’t know if you are really happy or not. After a while, your brain will start to tell you that it is happy.
Smile until you are happy.
God has a plan for your life. His plan is perfect. His timing is perfect. That’s a reason to be happy.
You are blessed. Others in the world have less than you. That’s a reason to be happy.
You are loved. You have friends and family that love you. God loves you. That’s a reason to be happy.
You are alive and breathing. That’s a reason to be happy.
You are wandering in the proverbial wilderness right now. Eventually you will emerge from that wilderness into abundance and joy. How long will you wander? As long as you need to. If you trust God, you don’t have to worry about it.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Matthew 6:25
I mean, you can worry, but that’s no fun. Give the responsibility and worry to God. Don’t let it weigh you down.
Take action toward your goal
You have decided…
- Here’s a new goal to change my life –or–
- I’m already working toward my goal
Nothing clears away the cobwebs of depression like getting down to work. Either make a plan or continue the plan already in place. Either way, you know what you need to do.
Severe depression can sap the will to take any form of action, let alone going after your goals.
First off, examine how you feel about the goals. Will they work? Realistically? If so, you know what you have to do. If not, perhaps you should tweak your goal? Pray and meditate about it. Ask a friend or councilor.
If you know what you need to do and you still can’t do it, there’s several methods you can use. You are trying to “trick” yourself into doing the work. True discipline is making yourself do things you don’t want to do. It is a process. It will get easier with practice. Use any trick that gets you into action. As you get better at discipline, you won’t have to rely on tricks as much.
1 Take any action and reward yourself. Do something very simple and praise yourself for it. Write yourself a note (with a star or a doodle). Get a friend to congratulate you. Look in the mirror, give yourself a smile, and give yourself an encouraging word. Give yourself a small snack (not a big snack—a big snack will increase your depression and self-loathing).
2 Take the advice of Mel Robbins, count down from 5, and then do it. Whatever it is for you. You are using speed to trick yourself. Do it now before your brain starts to think up reasons you cannot do it. She calls it the “5 Second Rule.”
3 Rest. Take stock of your current physical body. Did you get enough sleep? Did you do something strenuous yesterday? If you had a very intense, very productive day yesterday, it is all right to feel a little down today. Congratulate yourself and don’t forget to smile! You are making your life better! A rest day is a good day for prayer, meditation, and napping. You are preparing for another push.
If you are still having trouble acting, it is time to ask for help. You might have a chemical imbalance and need medical attention. You might need intervention from a friend, family, or a professional.
You always need help from God. Have you prayed?
My life is down, but I’m not down
If you are feeling blue, that’s OK. Look at your current life and situation for possible reasons. Make a plan for change. Continue your plan for change. Let go of the stress, if you can’t change it. Get help. Rest, if needed. Trust God’s plan.
Above all, refuse to give up. No matter how hard life hits you, agree with yourself that you will always get back up.
Be like Captain America. He takes a punch that knocks him down. He struggles to his feet. He wipes his mouth.
I can do this all day.
Yes, you can, Captain. Yes, you can.