As I mentioned in my previous post, feeling the pain is a great way to deal with difficult emotions, but what can you do when feeling the pain doesn’t work?
Learning to be Happy is an ongoing lesson and in particular I have realised that it’s okay not to be okay. I still experience periods of depression; usually they pass very quickly but occasionally they linger.
Sometimes the emotions are so painful I have even considered suicide. I don’t want to die, I just want the pain to stop.
I have experienced feelings of depression on and off over the last few months. It’s no wonder that my emotions are still coming into balance. I was on anti-depressants for 26 years!
A few weeks ago, I started to feel better after having a healing and seeing my homeopath. I had an aha moment when I realised I had fallen into the trap of not just feeling the pain, but dwelling on it. I had become stuck in a pattern of talking and thinking about being depressed. I had to focus on what I want instead of focusing on what I don’t want, I had to change my story.
As well as my regular Happiness practices such as my Buddhist chanting, Tapping and meditation, there are three particular techniques I find helpful to avoid getting sucked into a vortex of negativity and I share them in this post. Remember though, it’s important to allow ourselves to feel the pain before we use other Happiness techniques. I find it can be a tricky balancing act.
Acceptance and Surrender
Accept the pain. Acknowledge it. Know that it will pass. I find it comforting to remind myself that I’ve been here before, and things always get better. I also find it helpful to remember that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Previous periods of depression have often preceded times of major breakthrough.
There is also a certain peace that comes from surrendering to the pain and leaning into it rather than fighting it. My spiritual beliefs and practices also help, particularly prayer, meditation and my Buddhist chanting practice. When I feel really bad, I sometimes just pray and say “Help me” or “I surrender” over and over again.
When I find myself getting caught up in negativity, I find Mindfulness can be beneficial. I deliberately become aware of my senses. What can I feel, see, touch, smell and taste? It is surprising how effective this simple technique can be. Mindful meditations and walking mediations can be particularly good. I recommend the Headspace app to learn how to do this.
Affirmations are one of my favourite tricks for overcoming negativity. My current favourites are “I AM Happy”, “I AM Enough” and “I love and approve of myself”. I often feel anxious first thing in the morning when I’m lying in bed. When this happens I find morning affirmations and mindfulness particularly helpful.
If all else fails, or if I’m not ready to feel the pain, I like to distract myself with some enjoyable activities. I like watching YouTube videos, especially from Abraham Hicks, sitting in the garden, walking in nature, having a bath with essential oils, cuddling the cats, or watching something light on TV.
What is your experience of difficult emotions? What do you do when feeling the pain doesn’t work?
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