Tag Archives: sadness

Surviving Loss: You always have a choice

loss and choice

 

Surviving Loss: You always have a choice

When you lose something important it can really knock you for six and change your ‘landscape’ immediately. Illness, death, the end of a relationship…there are many surprises that life sends all of us. I have been through experiences that have left long lasting impressions. At the time, the pain felt unbearable, a searing inescapable pain.  A time when I would have done anything to fast forward life so that I could feel better again.

I wouldn’t wish those times on anyone but I thought it might be a good idea to write a post with tips on what to do to survive those awful times.

When you feel overwhelmed as if you cannot take anymore, remind yourself that you are more resilient than you realise. You can either either sink or swim. Sinking won’t do any good so focus on swimming!

Learning how to swim

Tell yourself that you will get through it. You are strong. You are brave and you CAN do it. You are not going to let this event destroy you. Focus on what is possible…

 

Be philosophical

Everything happens for a reason. You may not know the reason and it may seem completely unfair but looking at life in a philosophical manner will help your mindset, help you cope better.

Post traumatic growth

Every hardship in life teaches you something. All those tears and times when you stayed hidden under the duvet have helped to make you stronger and learn skills that will make you more resilient in the future. Unfortunately no one escapes suffering, we all get out turn. It’s not personal – it’s just the way life is.

Look after yourself

It’s so tempting to just go ‘mad’ and indulge in all the things that won’t make us better in the long term but might help in the short term. The urge is to drown our sorrows. There are no quick fixes. Focus on eating right, getting some exercise (great for stress) and don’t overdo it on the alcohol. Strive for balance and show yourself the compassion you deserve. Make time for yourself. You will have good days and bad days, learn to treat yourself kindly and patiently.

Don’t isolate yourself

The worst thing you can do it hide away. People are far more caring than you may realise but you will only find this out if you risk it and reach out. Maintain your connections with others. This can be a life saver when you are going through a time time. We all need emotional support. Everyone is bumbling through life, trying to figure it all out.

Do what you love

A sad or stressful event will drain you as it encompasses a lot of negative energy. Make sure you find ways to introduce some positive energy into your life – seeing movies, listening to music, watching a comedy, playing with animals, going for a walk etc..

Make a list of things you love doing and make time for them! Keep your mind busy and off your problems.

Keep busy

Deal with the things you need to, but once that has been put into action, try to keep busy instead of wallowing and overthinking. This will lead to self pity and negative thinking and you will feel worse. Don;t give your mind time to allow those negative, self critical and/or fearful thoughts to pester you and affect your mood. Your mind is very good at churning out thoughts – get used to dismissing them…having a thought does not mean it is true or that it deserves any attention.

Life rarely goes as planned but it doesn’t mean your life is over. Be patient, as the days pass you will find things easier. Use the above tips to help you and if you find that you are continuing to struggle, it may be useful to speak to a therapist/mental health professional to make sense of things.

Mandy X

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quickest routes to unhappiness

 

routes to unhappiness

thoughtsonlifeandlove.com

The quickest routes to unhappiness

We can often be our own worst enemies, engaging in behaviours that lead us down routes to unhappiness. Here are the most common ways that we end up unhappy:

Overthinking

The more time you have to worry endlessly about something, the more likely you are to feel unhappy. Rumination tends to lead us to negative thinking and a whole lot of “what if” thinking. If you find yourself going over the same topic in your mind without looking for an active solution – distract yourself. When you are in your mind, you are in enemy territory. Learn to become a better ‘thought manager’. Distinguish between real (the car has broken down) and hypothetical (“what if…”) thinking. Ask yourself if your worry is something you can/can’t control and take action if there is something you can do. Worry in itself is wasted energy. It’s a myth that it keeps you safe and prepared. Life is uncertain – accept it.

Making comparisons

Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea, especially if you compare yourself in a negative way. You don’t really know what is going on in someone else’s life. Stop focusing on them and focus on your own life and where you want to be. The less you focus and compare, the happier you will be – it’s that simple.

Living by too many rules

The more rules you tend to live by, the more anxious and unhappy you are likely to be. The more rules, which often take the form of “if this…then that”, the more often they will be broken – leading to tension and anxiety. We all have ‘rules for living’. One of mine is: If I don’t please others, they won’t like me. This rule for living leads me to agree to do things I often don’t want to do or don’t really have the time for. This leads me to feeling time pressure and I feel less happy as a result. The more flexible you can be in your thinking the better…let the rules go.

Chasing the wrong things

When we feel under threat, we look for immediate ways to self soothe and feel better. This could be alcohol, drugs, shopping, having illicit affairs and so on. This works for a short while but the original threat usually returns and then we turn to the negative unhelpful behaviour once again. Research suggests that the things that tend to make us happy include experiences, friends and family rather than material possessions. Spending time with others, bonding and connecting, releases the chemical oxytocin – a long lasting ‘happy hormone’ that the body releases. Get your priorities straight and have a plan and a direction.

Living with no purpose

Have you set yourself clear short term and long term goals? A little structure in life and a sense of purpose can do wonders for self esteem and confidence, thereby increasing happiness levels. Make sure you have something to work towards and check regularly that you are on track and going in the right direction. Help others, donate to a charity and spread some kindness in the world. It leads to happiness.

Living in the past or the future

Get back to being present in your life. When we live in the past or we live in the future, we aren’t fully engaged with the current moment and this is the moment of ‘power’. Learn to be more mindful and really enjoy where you are – the physical environment around you.

Try This:

Focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Relish the moment.

The above definitely challenge your ability to be happy – make an effort to stop doing them and you might just realise that happiness is possible.

Mandy X

Don’t despair

 

despair

Don’t despair

Life can certainly get on top of us all at times. I know I get days when I feel like nothing is going right and everything is awful. That’s normal and it’s a horrid place to be. The trick is to give yourself a time limit. Self pity and wallowing is fine, even necessary, but after 2-3 days it’s time to take hold of your wayward thoughts and focus on climbing back out of that depressed hole you have dug for yourself.

Yep, sometimes life sucks and it can truly feel as if you are completely alone in what you are going through but you can take solace in the fact that we all get those times. We are all just good at hiding it from each other. It’s okay to feel like you have had enough. Despite all my psychological training I have not found a way to prevent life from getting to me at times.

We can easily go off track and begin to focus on everything that isn’t working and give in to our insecurities. Remind yourself that it is just a frame of mind, not necessarily the reality. You may feel that you aren’t loved or that you are unimportant but more often than not, the reality is not that way at all. It is our thinking that needs adjusting.

Write a list of all the good things you have in your life. Write a list of all your good qualities – what do you like about yourself? These can be physical attributes or personality characteristics.

At times, it’s not about having what you want ‘its about wanting what you have. Focusing on what you don’t have or looking at your perceived lack is never going to help you to feel better. Do what will work – force yourself to think about what is going right for you, no matter how small and build on these small successes.

Also – force yourself to DO more. Even a small thing like walking the dog when you don’t feel like it or getting out of bed one hour earlier. DO it – be strong. Talk to the strong part of you and take back control. You are in control of your life, not your thoughts.  Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are wonderful..you are amazing…believe this at all costs. Mandy X

positive affirmations

 

Self pity and wallowing

 

sadness photo

Self pity and wallowing

Self pity is a normal human reaction to negative events and disappointment in life. In fact, I think it is unhealthy not to allow ourselves a little self pity and sympathy at times. Putting a time limit on self pity is essential though so as not to allow it to overwhelm us and possibly push us into a deeper state of sadness.

There are ways to use self pity to our advantage:

Use self pity to help you grow and to teach you

Self pity is a sign of non-alignment. Of being off track where something isn’t quite working. Use the emotional experience to learn and improve self awareness. Inner peace is within your reach when you choose to harness the experience and learn from it rather than letting it topple you.

Attitude, not circumstance is a better predictor of a fortuitous outcome…watch your interpretation of the world around you. You have the power to choose it and/or adapt your perceptions.

Learn to let go and chill out

Self pity sometimes comes from placing too much pressure on ourselves. Instead of relaxing into it, we resist and create chaos internally by imagining all sorts of problems that may never happen. Learning to be more accepting of “what is” and not sweating the small stuff can lead to less self pity and a happier existence.

Choose positive thoughts about yourself

Instead of self pity, remind yourself of why you don’t need to heap self pity upon yourself. Remind yourself of all your strengths and of how far you have come in life. Never compare your journey to that of others – we all have different learning objectives in life. Self pity comes from feeling hard done by – self pity alerts you to the fact that you are thinking “poor me”. As I said before, self pity is fine but it is also useful in that it reminds you to get ‘aligned’ and adapt your thinking to get you back on track. When you choose the right thoughts you will find less reason to feel self pity and hopefully self pride will take its place.

Gratitude

Just as there are negative things in life, thank goodness for the fact that there is an abundance of good stuff too. Make a point of looking for it. The more we ‘prime’ ourselves to look for positives and focus on good will around us, the more likely we will be to feel happier. Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to our focus/behaviour, so watch your thoughts and the rest should follow.

Self pity is fine as long as there’s a time limit. Its serves a purpose especially if we use it as ‘fuel’ to push us further and see it as a sign that we might be going ‘off track’.

Mandy X

 

How to Build resilience and happiness within you

happy photo

How to build resilience and happiness within you

If you want to be unhappy, make sure that you gain your self esteem and validation from external sources and temporary pleasures. The most insightful and wise way to improve contentment is to build a strong inner core within yourself of self acceptance – a core that cannot be taken away by something external. How precarious will your confidence be if it relies upon someone treating you a certain way? How sad it is if a person lacks the necessary skills to comfort you and connect with you – internalising another person’s lack and personalising this lack so that you end up blaming yourself is a true pity.

You can’t control others so never base your worth on their behaviour. If someone does not treat you in a loving way, it does not automatically mean that you are not loveable. Never jump to this conclusion. Take complete responsibility for your own happiness and don’t expect someone else to make you happy. If they do see it as a bonus but not as the only way to feel good about yourself.

You can choose to feel happy now. Watch any talk that goes like this: “I will be happy when I am in a relationship” or “I will be happy when I am rich, thinner, more popular etc”.

Happiness is an inside job – you carry it around with you by the way you see yourself and the interpretations you make about the world and people around you. We all have insecurities and other people can be huge triggers for our feelings of self doubt.

Here are suggestions to help you build you inner self-love-core:

1) Remind yourself regularly of your strengths and achievements.

2) Make a list of things you like about yourself and keep it nearby – read it regularly.

3) Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead compare yourself to where you have come from. Look at how far you have progressed in your life. We are all on our own path of enlightenment.

4) See yourself as separate from how others treat you. Never associate your level of worth and love according to how others treat you – especially when their behaviour is negative. Their bad behaviour is more likely to be about them and their lack, than about you.

5) Regularly talk to yourself in a positive way – examples: “I am good company”, “I have a great sense of humour”, “Why wouldn’t anyone want to spend time with me?”. We all find it easy to look at our faults – stop doing that. It won’t help you, it will just make you feel sad. We all have faults, just focus on the good stuff. Watch the negative self talk – it is so destructive.

6) “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. – Eleanor Roosevelt. Other people will have their opinions and you will not be able to please everyone, so be true to yourself and follow your heart. There will always be the ‘judgers’. Be happy, be in your bubble. Protect your happiness and self worth at all costs. No one is worth taking that from you.

Mandy X

Common depression symptoms

 

depressed person photo

Common depression symptoms

1) Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is a common depression symptom whereby a person isolates themselves from friends and family. Withdrawing socially however is the exact opposite of what we need.

Do all you can to put something sociable in the diary and see other people. You don’t have to be out every day but the more we interact with others, the better our mood becomes. I have had to literally FORCE myself to see others when I have felt low and it has always ended up making me feel a lot better.

2) Negative Thinking/Filter

Depression leads us to see things in a much more negative light than we normally would do. We suddenly have heightened awareness of everything that isn’t working and we become astutely aware of all our failings and insecurities.

It is important to tell yourself that your thinking is ‘off’ at the moment and not to take your thinking too seriously. Everything seems to be awful, a failure and a catastrophe when we are feeling depressed.

3) Self Soothing in counter-productive ways

Drinking, drugs, gambling…whatever means of escape we find necessary to feel better. The problem is that the symptoms are eased for a short time and we end up feeling worse.

Find productive ways to improve your mood like exercise or seek out a therapist or counsellor to talk to.

4) Being less active

Exercise is one of the best ways to manage depression. When we get depressed though we tend to engage in all the behaviours that don’t work for us. Exercise boosts the feel good hormones – serotonin and dopamine….so get moving to feel better.

Depression can leave you feeling hopeless but it can be treated. Take small steps to fight against depression by getting out a little, eating well, doing exercise and speaking to friends and family. If depression persists then seek medical help.

Mandy X

 

Bipolar disorder and depression

 

depression photo

Bipolar disorder and depression

Depression is one of the main reasons that clients seek me out. Unfortunately, depression is on the rise and is set to continue to increase and pervade society in the years to come. Depression is caused my many factors so it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why a person may be depressed.

The obvious signs that a counsellor would look for would be whether there is a history of depression in the family as this can make depression more likely to occur. Alcohol and drug abuse is another trigger factor and of course, how long the individual has felt low and how severe their depression is. That is, how much is it interfering with their abilities to live a normal life.

Treatment:

Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. There is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse by triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.

The difference between bipolar disorder and depression

Both feature depression however, bipolar disorder is also characterized by periods of mania (known as manic depression). Mania includes:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep (e.g., one feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Attention is easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

 

Depression is more consistent regarding mood intensity. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • No interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) nearly every day
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

Most people diagnosed with either bipolar disorder or depression generally feel better within a few months and many people can safely discontinue treatment with their doctor’s recommendation within a year. The actual length of treatment varies widely, however, based upon the severity of the disorder, the effectiveness of the treatment for that individual, and other factors.

Mandy X

 

Refs/Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/whats-the-difference-between-depression-and-manic-depression/0002546