Since we are trying to avoid the use of mood altering substances as our first defense against negative feelings, it leaves us with the question “How do you make yourself feel better?”.
You know what I mean right? Those times in life when you feel lost, vulnerable, worthless, sad, hopeless…and all those other crappy feelings that I left out. How do you turn your feelings around and make yourself feel better without reaching for that instant fix?
The truth is there are a lot of ways to make yourself feel better without resorting to using drugs but the thing that we need to accept is that when feelings are concerned…there is no such thing as instant gratification.
It is a very hard thing to accept that sometimes you are just going to have bad feelings. I’m not talking like ouch I stubbed my toe, this is a bad feeling. I’m talking about…”oh my god, what am I doing with my life”, “why do I feel so shitty all the time?”, “why does nothing go my way”, “why can’t I help myself?”…those type of feelings.
I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that from time to time everyone goes through some slumps in life. The key to a successful and peaceful life is your ability to deal with these times as they happen.
Before? Crush up a pill, lay out a line, and drift away into oblivion. Feel “at peace” for a few hours and then be further down in my pit of despair than I was before I started. Ok…that doesn’t work.
Now? I go about things in a much different way. I realize that I am feeling negatively. I panic for a few minutes because I dread the thought that I have to fight my way out of a slump. I get a hold of myself and start thinking about what it is I can start doing today that will have me feeling better more quickly.
I try to avoid, at all costs, my urge to feed into my negative feelings. THIS IS HARD. I have to start by telling myself that I need to think more positively about my life right now. I have to focus on the good instead of the bad. I have to put this thinking into motion even though it goes against every fiber of my being at the time.
For me, doing something productive usually makes me feel a little better about things. This is not as easy as it seems. Do you think when I feel like my life is in shambles I really want to clean the toilet? No. But I just FORCE myself to do it anyway. Then when I realize that cleaning the toilet only took me about 3 minutes to do, I may decide to clean the sink. Wow, the sink and the toilet, I just about cleaned the whole bathroom. I did something productive that I can feel good about. It certainly isn’t going to make me feel any worse than I already do.
I’m not saying that cleaning your toilet will brighten your day. All I’m saying is that in life you need to figure out what is going to make you have a positive feeling (why cleaning the toilet or the sink has become my thing in life…I have no idea).
Because doing even the smallest of things that give you a slightly positive feeling is at least a start in the right direction. It’s better than sitting there and thinking of all the things that you aren’t doing and then wondering what the eff is wrong with you that you can’t even do these things in life when everyone else in the world seems to be able to do this stuff. Come on, you’ve been there.
Here is the most important part of how I make myself feel better. At the end of the day, while I’m lying in bed feeling defeated from the long day of feeling negative I make sure that I tell myself that today is over. No matter what went on, how horrible and sad I feel because of it…it’s over. Today doesn’t dictate what tomorrow will be like. Tomorrow is a new day that could be filled with positive feelings.
Then when I wake up the next morning still feeling shitty I start all over with trying to change my thought to become more positive, doing things that give me a positive feeling, etc. If that doesn’t work and I still find myself going to bed at night with negative feelings I remind myself once again that today is over. Tomorrow is a new day.
Sooner or later I wake up and actually feel positive. See all of this doesn’t really change the fact that I am feeling negative but it somehow gets me through and reminds me that I will feel better. It just usually takes some time.