Feeling defeated – or depressed – is the dumps. In this life of emotional ups and downs, we all at some point are going to get the blues -some more than others. I know it really affects me big time. I’ve suffered from big highs and low lows my entire life- probably more than the “average” person. If you live in an area where you have seasons of darker weather – rain, snow, etc, it can actually trigger it further. For me living in Southern California actually does a lot for me in this regard – sunshine has such a positive effect on my psyche.
So what if you find yourself feeling defeated? What can you do to help better your situation? I’ve come up with some tactics that always help me recover and get me started moving in a positive direction.
Orchestrate Your Perspective
It always feels the darkest when there seems to be no end, no hope. There are certainly situations that are more dire than others but most of the time what we are feeling is about a temporary situation. It will come and it will go. Everything in life happens in cycles and seasons. I remember what it was like with my first son – he didn’t sleep for 9 months. In those moments of dire sleeplessness I felt swallowed up by the thought that there was no end in sight. It just made me really, really negative. For my second son, we took the perspective that things were going to happen in seasons or waves. Seasons of less sleep, season of more sleep – any issues we encountered were mostly temporary. What a difference that was! We actually enjoyed it lol.
Meditate on an inspirational quote or bible verse
Sometimes we need to take our mind off the present and refocus on something positive. I used to have this desk calendar what had a quote a day. Every day I’d rally around the day’s inspirational quote. I’ve done this with the bible as well. What a game changer this tactic is for me. This mental nourishment shifts our gears and allows us to stop thinking about our own situation and think about other situations and scenarios – it gives our minds something to apply and run with. Plus when you do this early in the day you get it when your mind is most supple and rested and less influenced by other distractions. I can tell you intentionally feeding my mind positive wisdom has def changed my life. Super powerful.
Do something you enjoy – to invoke joy and happiness into your life.
What gives you joy and excites you? Trying a new food? Going to the park? Listening to music? Dancing? Exercise? – Whatever it is, make time to do it. By doing something we truly enjoy and get joy out of we are triggering positive healthy emotions (plus probably dopamine for our brains). Healthy positive emotions are the least draining and most rewarding emotions that directly counteract the feelings of depression. You can’t frown and smile at the same time right?
I love, love, love this tactic. I do it ALL the time. My routine usually involves music – something uplifting and fun, maybe 80’s classic rock or some good modern pop. Spotify even has mood playlists – so it is super easy to dial into what you want. I’ll blast it loud and go for a drive or I will throw it in earbuds and go for a walk. Some days it’s getting out by myself and getting sushi or getting a massage or running errands. Do whatever works for you. And by just getting out and doing something, you will feel a little better.
Do something for someone else
Nothing will shift your emotions and feelings like helping someone else. There is such an aligning of perspective and priorities when you leave a warm house with a full fridge to help feed someone who is sleeping outside in the cold with nothing to eat. Maybe volunteering at your local church, helping at your local shelter, taking a meal to a sick friend- wherever you feel you’d like to plugin. The opportunities are endless – a lot of needs in the world.
My wife loves to cook so for her she really enjoys making meals for people. Giving people a good warm meal while they are going through turbulent times is one way we like to love on them. We do it for others yet it does something so awesome for us to be able to be of service. It gives us a purpose and reminds us to be thankful. Sometimes that is what we need to pull us out of the dumps.
All in all, remember you have the power to take action. You don’t control what gets thrown at you in this life but you have full control of how you react and adapt. It isn’t the absence of negative life experiences that make a person positive- it is the daily decisions they make in dealing with those things.