These three culprits have been giving me a seriously hard time lately: guilt, shame and sadness.
Maybe it is the weather; maybe it is the chemicals in my brain; or maybe, just maybe it is the thoughts I’m choosing to believe that are influencing my experience and bringing me down. If it is true, that choice is involved, this is good news. It means I have some control over the looming feelings, effected by my ruminating thoughts.
What advice would I give someone who experiences these dark times? Well, let’s go through them:
Byron Katie, wrote a great book called “The Work” which asks us to question whether we should actually believe the thoughts we are thinking. She discovered when she chose not to believe her negative thoughts, that she was instantly freed from crippling depression.
The REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) Model suggests we do something similar to “the work” in that we go through a step by step process of disputing irrational beliefs. We ask ourselves… Is this thought really true? And does this thought actually serve us?
Go outside. Exercise and fresh air have a magical way of boosting neurotransmitters and endorphins, and in turn, changing your perspective to something brighter. Forest bathing, is an actual thing. Mindfully experiencing nature in the forest is proven (some kind of science backs this) to improve mood.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I don’t ask you to do this to evoke empathy or compassion. Rather to help you realize that other people aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are. They do not intend to wrong you as much as you feel they do - in fact, they don’t bother thinking about you enough to even give you that energy. This is not said to hurt your feelings, but to lighten the load. People are wrapped up in their own shit.
Do a good deed. Putting your energy in to helping a cause or helping other people, is going to shift your perspective. Kindness, love and compassion start to seep into the space once held by stagnant sadness. Try something small. Pick up garbage, hold a door, buy someone a coffee.
Let go of guilt by living in the present moment. The best apology is a change in behaviour. Just be the best version of your self now and in the future, to absolve yourself of old mistakes. You are not what you have done in the past. You are the person you are becoming in this moment.
Love the ones you are with. If you have a family member, a dog, a friend, or a penpal. Reach out to them GIve them a hug. Show them appreciation. Tell them you love them. What you put out will come back to you through the law of attraction.
Write it all down. Write down why you are sad and upset, but also write down everything you are grateful for and all that you appreciate. Write down your intentions and your goals and allow yourself to get excited about them. People who write down their goals are more likely to be successful in achieving these goals than those who don’t write them down.
Be patient and loving with yourself. Be your own best friend.
This too shall pass. I believe this is true, in fact I know it is true. Every dark time is followed by the light time - it is how the universe works. Your lighter times are coming.
There is no one-best-way to free yourself from the darker moods that come with negative thinking. However there are a number of strategies (a list much longer than this one above) that when put together in a package made just for you - could be your solution.
So, my final advice would be to keep trying - never give up.