Bring Light to your life - 6 coping strategies through rough times

At one point or another, everybody has experienced some feelings of depression.  We can all relate to the “blues” ...

So far, our scientific and medical advances have not been able to completely “cure” depression, but have found ways to help dramatically.  Here are 6 strategies I have picked up along the way that have been known to help when you feel down and not quite in your right mental state:

1. Gratitude:

Whenever you feel down and out, there is nothing like making a list of things you are grateful for.  To tell you the truth, it does not feel right at first, you have to make a conscious choice to enter this practice.  As you train yourself to identify and pondering on things that are good in your life (no matter how small they are), this gradually becomes natural and easier.  You will see that although you started with the crummy feelings, the fog lifts up quicker and stays away longer – because the hard time do come.  This is a way to exercise your “Positive Muscle”.

2. Seek help early:

Is there someone you can trust?  Someone who will have your back when you share your feelings and not be judged?  If you do not, I highly recommend you find that person.  I believe that we are created to be a collective operating system where each person is important and a thread in the fabric of life.  One thread does not make the fabric.  There are professionals who also can see you through hard times and offer objective and effective assistance, some are just a phone call away or it is only about a short ride to church where assistance is also available.

3. The Doc:

Listen, mental sanity is as important as your heart or liver.  If you do not feel right, express it to your doctor.  Recognizing that you are not functioning optimally is a first step.  Make an appointment for him/her to help you directly or to get you linked up with a specialist.  Most importantly: follow their directions.  This is serious stuff because left unattended, mental illness creeps in and gets overwhelming quite rapidly.  When you are not in your right mind due to stress, chemical imbalance, and/or other issues, it is imperative you seek the help of your doctor.  Take care of your mental self just as you care for the rest of your body.

4. Help others:

I know this sounds a bit corny… But it DOES work.  When you get up and actually participate in an activity helping other people, it causes you to let go of the negative thoughts and concentrate on something positive.  This is a very powerful stress buster as well as a great weapon against the blues.  Check out the great effects you can get from this strategy here.  You should try it!

5. Constant self-care, self-love:

I cannot advocate any stronger for this!  That is of the utmost importance: you cannot give what you do not have.  If you do not care for yourself and your wellbeing, you will not be able to share of yourself with others.  What are some things that please you?  Are there things you enjoy doing that add to your life, that make you feel good when you do them?  You know yourself best, which means you also know those things quite well.  I do my best to suggest a wide range of options to accommodate all types of ways to care for the self on this site.  You can find a couple of those articles here or even here.  A friend of mine always remind us of Self-Care.  That makes a difference in my life whenever I am feeling a bit down, you can do it too!

6. Prayer and meditation:

I don’t know about you, but I am a praying girl.  I look to God to help me through the difficult times.  It has been proven countless times that prayers have a strikingly positive impact in people’s lives and the research is consistent.  You can find one of the articles here.  Some choose meditation and it is also an effective way to cope with negative states of mind.  Either way, relying on a Higher Power is a viable solution to coping with feelings of sluggishness.

Depression is a serious mental illness that appears in a host of ways and for some, it completely takes over their lives.  No, it is not at all easy for people to “just snap out of it”.  This disease attacks your core and is capable of overpowering any person.  Unfortunately, Robin Williams and many others have succumbed from it.

In a “prior life,” it was my responsibility to manage the case of individuals who were diagnosed with mental illness and it was heartbreaking to see people struggle so hard to get back to the surface from the deep sea of depression.  This fight is real with or without medication.

The above are coping skills to get you thinking about ways out of some crummy feelings.  But let’s be serious, depression is a serious illness.  If you are or know someone who is affected by it, please seek help.  Robin Williams’ battle was quite violent and in the end, even with what most people would consider “everything”, he still lost…



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