Lessons In NOT Avoiding Your Feelings

A few weeks ago, I was getting in a down place for several days. Just sitting there in it. I had been struggling against letting myself go to that place for so long--the past two years--that it had felt just awful to be in that place for even three days.

 
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If you're experiencing the same, following the tips and tools I suggest is not going to make you better. You don’t need to be better. Depression doesn’t go away, and that’s okay. Depression is going to flow in and out. However...

 

You can change the flow patterns

You might have been in a depressed state for a certain amount of time. Maybe there’s more time that you’re down in the muck and the bullshit and less time that you feel like you’re in a happier, positive state and things are going your way.

This rhythm can change. You can be in a better state for longer periods of time. You can do things that will create and hold a better state for longer by learning what lights you up and what makes you feel good. Once you find it, you can choose to practice that on a daily, regular basis, even when you’re feeling slightly off. This is going to sustain those good periods. 

You can move up your baseline of good

You won't be able to stop those heavy moments from coming or those moments that are coming out of nowhere, but you can change your daily thought patterns.

So, if you’re just reacting to things, you can learn how to not just react to those things so that your baseline is better.

You can learn how to get out of the deep funks faster

Part of getting out of it faster is accepting it and learning to tap into it and be in it. To feel the feelings.

It seems counterintuitive because it seems like, If I‘m trying to get out of it, shouldn’t I just go back to doing the things that make me feel good?

Sometimes it is going back to doing the things that make you feel good. For me, that’s more if i’m feeling in a funk and I’ve reacted to something poorly that’s going on in my life--like a fight with a friend or frustration with a co-worker. In these circumstances, I can g back to things that make me feel good--reading a book, practicing yoga, listening to a favorite album.

The only way out is through

If you’re in a really deep place, though, where it’s not one particular thing messing you up inside and it’s not a reaction to something that happened, That’s going to pull you out of it

But, if you’re in a really deep place and you’re feeling how I had been for a few days--and it's not one particular thing, it’s like all of these things accumulated over time and it just feels heavy--I don’t think you can pull out of that just by doing something that makes you feel good.

The only way to get out of that is to go through it.

It’s hard because I hadn't felt that in a long time, and I didn't want to tap into it because it’s scary. It’s scary to go there because it feels like you’re never going to get out of it. Remind yourself, I can’t get over it; i have to get through it.

The moment will pass

Even though it’s scary, I know the feeling has always passed. You have to trust yourself. Tell yourself:

“I’m going to tap down into this. I’m going to feel this. That’s the only way I'm going to be able to get through it.”

You can’t resolve an emotion by covering it up. You have to feel an emotion in order to allow it to pass.

 

What feelings are you covering up right now?

Speak them into existence in the comments, and then let yourself really feel them. 

 

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