How to Cope With Feeling Discouraged
Feeling discouraged, defeated, or down in the dumps (why do all these words begin with a 'd'?) can have a large impact on many things: your mental and emotional well-being, your creativity, your mood, your willingness to do anything productive, among other things. Everything around you can quite literally feel like you have to climb a mountain to accomplish it, which just makes it that much less likely that you'll even try.
Your weaknesses, flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings bubble to the surface, making you feel inadequate. I know when I feel this way, my mind will sometimes spin its wheels, spitting up emotions of self-doubt and imposter syndrome all around, leaving me in a cloud of my own gloom. A cloud that can follow me around for days if I don't nip it in the bud as soon as I can.
Luckily (or perhaps not so luckily if you really think about it), I've been in this situation frequently enough that I've learned how to pull myself out of it. Here are some things that work for me.
1. Make a list
This may sound simple, but putting my thoughts and struggles to paper helps me pick out what the trigger for the mood change might be and what could be helping keep it alive. This brain dump will also help my thoughts from running a million miles a minute since I can see everything at once.
2. Determine what you have control over
Regardless of your job, responsibilities, mission in life, there will always be things you can't control. Simple things that can affect your day to day like the weather, traffic, or even time. But what you CAN control is whether you grab your umbrella or wear your rubber boots on a rainy day. Whether you choose a detour to avoid the traffic. What you do with the time you have. For example, do you spend that time dwelling on what's out of your control, or enjoy every moment?
3. Find the positive in every situation
This one can be a bit taboo. Not everyone believes this is doable, and I respect that. It can be hard to always find a silver lining. I was once one of those people. I felt like the world was out to get me. I'm very proud of how far I've come. Now, instead of thinking that everyone and everything is out to get me, I take my time and look at the situation from all angles and viewpoints. What good can come from what's happening? How will that good affect you positively? If you look close enough, you'll find it.
4. Seek out someone you trust
Whether that be in person or online, reach out to someone who has the knack to put a smile on your face. Choose someone who is always in your corner, that you feel comfortable sharing your woes with (if you want). They can likely offer some insight that you were too clouded to even consider. Who knows? It could be the answer to all of your questions. And if nothing else, you'll get to have a conversation with someone who makes you smile.
5. Believe in yourself
Corny? Sure. Truth? Absolutely. Keep telling yourself that the way you're feeling is temporary and that you'll find a way to feel better. I promise you have it within you to pull yourself out of your funk. There's nothing you can't do, but you have to believe in yourself. I know I do!
I wrote this post because I've recently found myself feeling super low about something. After putting myself through hell trying to figure out what I had done wrong, I took my own advice and chatted with some amazing online friends in the writing community. They validated how I felt but also offered me some suggestions to help me out. In the end, I did what they suggested and felt much better afterwards. It allowed me to step back and look at the bigger picture, which gave me a better understanding of the situation as a whole.
If any of this resonates with you, I hope you found this post helpful. I'm always around to talk to, as well. Shoot me a message and let's chat.
Until next time -