Feeling Strong When You Are Down

One of my closest friends has been struggling a lot lately. She lost her job, her significant other, a child, and her mother just died. She has been telling many of us that she deserved all the bad things happening to her. She believes this because she chose to be selfish and do things in her life that would improve herself but left a large part of her past behind. The problem is that she is not facing the reality of life, and that is, life is never predictable. We all go through highs and lows, and sometimes it seems like the lows hit us one right after another. Rarely do we get a chance to have just one or two bad things go wrong. Instead, it becomes many things go wrong at the same time. But her situation made me think about ways that she could start to change the dynamic she was living with because she feels so dismal that it’s difficult to know how to reach her.

The issues compounding in her life are making me question some things, so I went online to get some ideas about some of the best ways to help people when others are feeling down. Here are some of the tips I found.

  1. Stop being so hard on yourself. Let’s face it, all of us are our own worst critics. Sometimes it takes stepping back and reflecting on recognizing all the good things that have to go on in your life. We all have blessings, but sometimes it is harder to find the others. Your mindset plays a crucial role in what you’re willing to acknowledge. And the truth is that when we’re beating ourselves up on everything that is not always the easiest, we don’t always see ourselves objectively. And when you stop putting the pressure on yourself to achieve and be content with who you are, you might find that some of your happiness levels will come back. It’s also wise to get some rest and not feel guilty for getting that rest. There’s a difference between sleeping all the time and resting. When I was in college, I first heard about taking 20-minute naps, and I thought it was bogus because if I take a nap now, I will not want to get back up. And there is some truth to that if you don’t condition yourself to a 20-minute interval. But if you stick to the 20 minutes, you might find that you are more energetic and refreshed after a small siesta. Believe me when I tell you that sometimes those 20-minute naps can make all the difference in your energy levels. 
  2. Surround yourself with people you love. Most of us try to be around people we know love and support us. But there are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there that like to make us think that they’ve got our backs when they don’t. Choose your circles carefully and surround yourself with positive influences because that can help you create a healthier life. You might not be able to see the people that you love, but you could pick up the phone or text. And now, with all the Internet technology available to most of us, you can even facetime if you need to. Sometimes those actions are some of the healthiest ones we can take.
  3. Get up and move.  Exercise helps whether people want to acknowledge that or not. I see so many people taking better care of their health now, and they work out and do things to get that energy level back in their bodies. You don’t even have to go to the gym – you could go to the park and walk. Believe it or not, it can be very effective in helping one’s depression, if it’s mild or even moderate. As long as you take stock of your body and know that getting up and moving around will help you, there’s no reason not to make it happen. Put some music on and get moving. Some people like to dance in one spot, that’s OK too. I enjoy walking so much because I get to take in different scenes, but I see the same things every day when I’m at work and have to walk. And I get frustrated because I’m the type of person who gets tired of seeing the same places while I love being outdoors. 
  4. Find a way to laugh.  If you can’t find laughter in some of the worst things that happened, it may cause more stress than you know what to do. Find a way to find the humorous parts of any bad situation. It might help if you watch a favorite funny movie show or even a video online. Believe it or not, I have found that laughing at bad things that happened has made my day much better, and I hope it does for you.
  1. Eat something healthy. Most of us have learned by now that eating junk food doesn’t make us feel great. And believe it or not, it can be worse for your mental health. Scientists have found links between food and our moods. Some gurus may suggest that you have quite a bit of vitamin D, which can help lower rates of depression, but another study found that depression and diets rich in sugar-sweet and soft drinks don’t always help. I remember in a commercial with an exercise guru who said that “our bodies are like a car. You know our bodies get us from point a to point B just like a car does, so we have to make good use of the fuel that we put in our car as well as our body.” and I thought it was a good analogy. When I look at the different foods I’m consuming, I think about my body as a vehicle. I don’t put anything but top-tier gas in my car, so why would I put a ton of junk in my body? Paying attention to what we eat helps get us where we need to go.
  2. Take deep breaths.  I have not done a fantastic job of taking a deep breath on occasion because I tend to go like the Energizer Bunny. Except I go and drop, I don’t slow down when I do that. I have learned that my body doesn’t do very well, so I’ve had to force myself to learn to take those deep breaths and take a moment. Sometimes that meant stepping away from the distractions, and that’s not always easy to do.
  3. Spend time with animals.  I can attest to this because the more time I spend with my cat and other animals, the more calm and relaxed I become. I don’t feel like the animals are judging me because they’re showing me unconditional love, which is one of the best things that will improve somebody’s mood. It’s very therapeutic. I wish my cat were one that I could take out on a walk, but any of you who have dogs know that dogs are great because you can take them for a walk and enjoy that time with your dog. When going out on a leash, cats aren’t usually as flexible as dogs. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you want to get together with a friend who does. Spending a little time walking with animals does a lot to help the soul.
  4. Do something spontaneous.  But when you don’t feel like doing much and feel very drained, sometimes the best thing you can do is do something random because it’s unexpected and steps out of your comfort zone. This method creates motivation and positivity in your day because you’re doing something that you didn’t think you would do before, but now you are, giving you a new perspective on everything.
  5. Read something inspirational. I can also attest to this because when I read daily devotions or something that’s positive entries, I’m more inclined to take those readings to heart. Sometimes seeing positive and inspirational words helps me get out of the negative drama in my mind.
  6. Get some work done.  Many people like myself like to do a lot of work when they’re feeling down. I know I tend to get more of my job done because I do my best to throw myself into my career, so I don’t have to think about things bothering me. And I know I’m not alone in that because I’ve seen too many of my friends do the same thing, and I’m sure many of you do it. But the cool thing about it is that no matter what happens, we’re all going to fall at some point, and the main focus is how do we get back up? You can liken it to the fact that it’s like getting out of bed; you get up. Some days are going to be easier than others, but the point is that you try. 

So I hope your Tuesday fills itself with many opportunities and chances to find the inner strength to get back up and get back in the game even if you get knocked down. You are capable of so many things. Give yourself the credit you need and keep putting 1′ in front of the other. Have a great day, everyone.

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