You feel beaten down, things might not be quite as you imagined. Or you may have just been through a breakup and are heartbroken. You are struggling a bit and don’t quite know how to get through it, and you hear people tell you that time will help —it will get better after a bit… And so it does.
It’s tough when you’re actually in the middle of it all, though, and it’s also not easy to see while you’re in the thick of things that it will get better. Later, when you look back at the situation, you may see that you somehow became stronger from the experience, and that you learned something from it.
We all have our own unique story and ways of coping with challenges.
- Some of us need a lot of time to process things, while others may be faster.
- Some of us shut everything inside, while others have to talk about it constantly.
- Some of us just want to withdraw, lie under the duvet and sleep, while others might drown ourselves in lots of work.
It is important to dare to dig into the pain and put your feelings into words. If you constantly shut out what you know and are feeling, you will reinforce your symptoms. That’s why it’s not the best advice when people tell you to just pull yourself together.
Here are some tips:
Rewrite your story
Acknowledge that the hurt that has happened, happened. But it’s over now. When you have reached that point, you can begin to rewrite your story. Instead of seeing yourself as a loser and a victim, you can turn things around and see them in new ways. This is not to make light of what has happened, but is an approach that can give yourself a new and better role in your own story.
- Start small and build yourself up again, step by step.
- Try to shift your focus from bad/negative thoughts to what you have here and now.
- Take one step at a time and do positive things for yourself.
Recapturing your joy in life can be challenging when you have had a tough time, because you can lose your desire to do things. You have to get a grip on the situation and want to do something about it.
The best thing you can do for yourself during a difficult period is to fill your time with positive things that are good for you—even if you don’t really feel like it.
Being active, and getting together with other people are good because this helps you focus on something else, and you’ll have less time to sit at home brooding. Time will also pass more quickly.
So even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to be active. Find things to do. Not only will the time go faster, but you will also gradually find that you are more concerned about what is happening in your life right now—you will spend less time dwelling on the bad things that have happened.
- Arrange get-togethers with friends and acquaintances in advance so that you are “forced” to go out.
- Find things that you can fill your time with, such as going to the movies or taking a course. Learning something new gives a feeling of mastery, joy and pride.
- Be active. Go for a walk or start an exercise program. Research shows that physical activity is effective against depression. “Force” yourself to be active, like going for a little walk every day. Know that it will do you good.
Focus on positive events and coping experiences
Research shows that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Practicing gratefulness and appreciation can:
- Make us happier and promote well-being
- Reduce depression
- Help us handle difficult times
- Help ensure we sleep better and therefore feel more refreshed
- Make us feel more useful and have greater likelihood of making progress once we have set personal goals
- Get us to focus on the positive and reduce negative feelings
Practice being grateful for the little things in life. It strengthens your mental health.
It sounds simple, but it requires you to decide to set aside a few minutes regularly to do it. This is perhaps the biggest challenge lies. Remembering to do so. We have developed the Mindfit app with this in mind, among others. It will help you get started change your mindset.
We recommend that everyone starts small:
- Begin by recording positive events and experiences that happen during the course of your daily life.
- Take note of what makes you happy, when you master something and what you like.
- This will help you to shift your focus away from negative thought patterns to a greater sense of mastery and positive thoughts about yourself.
As you begin to keep track of positive events, it is common for negative thoughts and feelings to be weakened–just by virtue of keeping track. This happens because you give yourself permission to shift your focus from the things you can’t manage to the things that you can. That gives you space for other thoughts, and the negative thoughts and feelings shift more into the background.
Try it, and see if it helps you 🙂