We all have problems in life, sorrow, loss, depression, anxiety, stress. Sometimes, the devastation is so strong that it lasts for weeks, even months. We all have gone through something like that; it wrecks your health, messes with your mind and you see everything in life through a bleak, gloomy lens. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the recent years, going through ups and downs, I have been through a few serious depressions and countless breakdowns. I find myself fighting against my feelings sometimes, trying to force it to stop. The harder I try, the stronger it seems to get, the more painful it makes me feel.
So after a while struggling with my depression, I decided to change my approach. Here is what I have learned.
Letting go of insecurity and self-pity
In times of sadness, you feel all kinds of negative feelings. Insecurity and self-pity I find are the most two toxic that fuel the depression in you. So to stop this, first of all, you need to stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own path, their own life, and their own values. It is impossible to compare yourself to others because you are a unique individual.
Love yourself and stay true to yourself because no one will be able to live your life and walk your path. Whatever happens in your life, it is to teach you something. It all shapes who you are. In Buddhist teaching, you can’t change the past nor the future. But you can focus on your present, which will become your past and create your future.
I also find affirmations really powerful. Every day I repeat in my mind and sometimes say it out loud positive affirmations, such as, “I can do this and I will do this.”; “I am strong and I can get through this hard time.”, etc. Using positive affirmations like that, depending on whatever you are stressed about, can be very empowering to your mind and your spirit.
Slowly and slowly, if you can get rid of negative thoughts, you will start to feel a change in your energy level, your vibration, your emotion and your life also. Regardless of whatever you are going through, you will feel the calmness and find the strength to confront it and get through it.
Redirecting your energy
Instead of just sitting there feeling miserable, you should try to start a new project. The excitement of a new challenge is always refreshing and motivating. I always find arts is an amazing therapy. From learning to play an instrument, journaling, starting an art & craft project, learning a new language, etc., you can try it all. Coloring books for adults is a great idea that I have seen recently. The important thing is you can channel those negative emotions into something new and creative. It is a great way to let out your negativity and gain back your balance.
Besides channeling your energy, you can also change your focus to positive things in life, instead of what is causing you suffering. Think about what you are grateful for in life, learn to slow down and observe life around you and appreciate small little things. Maybe make a list of the things that you appreciate in your life and try to nurture them.
And don’t forget to nurture yourself. What qualities do you have and what values are important to you? What is it that you want to improve and how to do it? Are you taking care of your health, your mind, and your soul? All that is extremely important if you want to be truly happy. Your mind, your body, your soul, and spirit should be nurtured and loved by yourself. They need to be balanced and enriched.
Reflecting and contemplating
Along the way, always take the time to reflect and contemplate on your thoughts, your emotions, and your surroundings. Mindfulness and meditation can help you not only look deep in yourself but also keep you grounded, calm and balanced.
And remember, it is alright to feel what you are feeling. There is nothing wrong with it. It is normal and it does not define you. But you can’t let it control you and take over your life. If you just embrace it and don’t act on it, it will just flow.
Every month, on the new moon and full moon, I have a little ritual of setting intentions and letting go. I reflect on what I have been feeling, and I write down what I wish to achieve or change in the coming months, and what I wish to let go of. It serves as a way of reflecting and reminding myself of what I want and how I want my life to be.
No one can avoid storms in life. But what we can do is to face it and get through it with strength and calmness. And after every storm, there will be a rainbow and you will just get stronger and stronger.
Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.