We all have bad days, days when nothing seems to go like we’d choose. We all have days where we’ve felt misunderstood or mistreated. Hard days are part of this life, we have little (or no) control over that. However, letting those days effect our mentality, worldview, and actions is completely in our control, and sadly all too common.
My mom called them the poor me’s. Some people call them pity parties or the blues. If they last long enough, like years, they can be called a victim mentality. You know what I’m talking about…that attitude that occasionally plagues us all. When this nasty attitude settles into my mind I feel like the most unloved, unfortunate person in the world. I seem to see everything through a veil of grey and can’t find the bright side of any situation or conversation. When I’m feeling this way, I think everything bad happens to me and that I don’t have any control on anything or a way to change my situation. Basically when I’m feeling this way I am stuck feeling sorry for myself.
Some people are more prone to this attitude than others. However we all have our days. The problem is when those days turn onto weeks, and then months and then years. I know people who have a gloomy, pessimistic outlook on EVERYTHING. Even their attempts to be positive seem weak. Bad things happen and yes, life can be hard, but living in such a dark hole is not really living.
I am not an expert on depression or on changing my bad attitude. However, here’s what I’ve found to help me on those dark days.
1. Change your thoughts.
My mom used to tell me, garbage in, garbage out. I HATED it when she’d say this because I didn’t want to change my thoughts or the things that were influencing my thoughts. However, she was right. When I had yucky thoughts, my words and responses were yucky, even when I didn’t want them to be. If I dwell on good things, and as cliche as this sounds, think positive thoughts, I was more optimistic and willing to be cheered up.
2. Change your actions…or lack of action.
Dance to fun music (I suggestion “I Will Survive” by Cake), go for a walk, make a healthy dinner, play with your kids. Basically just DO SOMETHING that will get your mind off yourself and your troubles and maybe even make you smile. From personal experience I have found that if I get up early and run in the mornings my days feel so much better. For me exercise equals healthy thoughts and stress relief. Find what will do this for you.
Equally important is to make changes in your actions. If you find that you respond to stress or negativity by turning on a movie and just vegging out, or maybe by posting negative comments on Facebook, then may I suggest you STOP?! Don’t do the things that you know don’t make you feel better. Don’t eat that bag of Hersey’s Kisses, because you know they will just make you feel disgusted with yourself afterwards…okay, eat three and then be done. 🙂
3. Change your company.
There are people in our lives that, despite their words, are not good friends. They may be surface friends or sucker friends. They will listen to you whine and complain and commiserate with you, and that’s nice. They will justify your feelings and actions, but they won’t ever tell you to move on and get over it. They won’t ever tell you that it could be worse or that you are being too dramatic. They won’t tell you this because you make them feel good about themselves.When you’re in a funk these are NOT the types of friends you need.
Choose to be around people who will listen to you, love you, and push you. Place yourself with people who are positive, who challenge and inspire you to be better yourself. Chose people who will tell you the truth, even if it’s hard for them and who will hope for and fight for better in your life.
4. Ask for help.
Sometimes we need people to know that we’re struggling. We need help, accountability. There’s no shame in admitting that cloud over your head just won’t go away.