But How? Follow these 3 steps to feeling better NOW
You know the stories of those who have come out the other side of darkness. And while they can often inspire, they can also leave us feeling as if there’s no clear path for us to get from here to there. It may seem too far to go, too hard for us to do. If you’re left with the question: how do I get there? Start here.
1. Stop Beating Yourself Up
Yes, we must take responsibility for our current situation to keep integrity in our lives. This does not mean, however, that we can’t give ourselves a break from constantly focusing on how far we have to go and how slowly we are making progress. This is especially dangerous when comparing your own journey to those around you (which we usually know much less about than we think).
Get out your journal and, instead of focusing on the things you aren’t accomplishing, write down 5-10 things you’ve done for yourself recently that are positive. They can be simple and small; no judgements allowed in this exercise. Example: “This morning I made breakfast for myself instead of grabbing coffee on my way out.” or “I decided to stay home and read last night instead of spending time with people who aren’t a great influence on me.” Every act of self-care is a step in the right direction, and recording it allows you to experience gratitude, creating more self-love and making us happier. Return to your list and the feelings of self-love and compassion whenever you need.
If this resonates with you consider making it a daily practice or a weeklong challenge. For more on creating self-worth, check out this post.
2. Let It Go
There’s so much we hold onto that it can sometimes be a wonder we can walk around with it all. Letting go of it all can seem like such a huge undertaking that we often say “I’m not ready!” and leave it at that. But just as with your self-gratitude list, there’s always somewhere we can begin. So choose something, big or small, that you are ready to let go of now.
Take out a piece of paper and write a goodbye note to what or whomever it is that you’re letting go of. Remember that this is for you, and do your best not to get too bogged down in the details. In your note, take responsibility for your part of whatever happened and thank the person/thing for the opportunities for growth it provided you. When you’re finished, literally let it go by burning your note (in a safe, controlled environment) or ripping it up and throwing it away. Allow yourself to feel every emotion that comes up during this process.
3. Take Action
If you’re feeling stuck and overwhelmed, plan just one action step you can complete within the next 24 hours. An action step refers to the specific details you must take to get yourself closer to where you want to be. Make sure not to go overboard and create a giant list of action steps – If you’re inspired to do more, creating a list is great; but for this exercise, focus on one action step you can complete in a short amount of time. When you complete the action step, acknowledge the accomplishment and follow through.
It’s my hope that this list lets you see that from wherever you are, you can start to feel better right now. By giving yourself a break and recording gratitude for things you have done, letting something go and planning an action step, you can begin to feel better today, in this moment. For more on this topic also check out Becoming Unstuck.
If you’re interested in learning more about emotional, behavioral and mental health, please do reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
To your good mental health now,