How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better

February 5, 2010 — 18 Comments

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.

18 responses to How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better

  1. Erin, this is a fantastic post. Thanks for lifting my spirits.

  2. Im just taking a stab in the dark here, but I have been free of pills just 3 days now and i have managed to find suboxone to get me thru these past 3 days. I do bartend and I find all things easier than most, and Im gonna make this work, but I am still full of questions of suboxone and I will need a little help to get thru this next week of work. I did appreciate the article above, but for a man with no medical insurance. Im feeling a little scared in the days to come. Any suggestions without calling me a dumbass etc.. would be greatly appreciated. Im aware of my situation and what I have procreated.

  3. Josh – I’m the last person in the world that would ever judge you…I mean, there is a reason I have this site right?

    I experienced Oxycontin withdrawal without using things like Suboxone or Methadone…it can be done.

    You need support and lots of it in the beginning. Willpower is not going to get you through early recovery.

    Here is another piece of advice for you…go back and read my very early blog posts. It has been about a year since I started this site and I have gone through just about every situation that someone in early recovery can go through. Maybe there is something in my story that will benefit you.

    So please feel free to keep in touch with me and ask for help whenever you need it…even though it is really hard to do. JUST DO IT!

  4. I quit a pill habit costing $40 to $100 per day. It stared with back pain. My preference was for perks, second, dillys. I quit my job, husband, my way of life and relocated 200 miles from my hometown in the middle of a sweltering August. Day one, could not lift my head. Spent about a week in and out of bed, sleeping. Took me two weeks to get the sickness out my system. That was in 2005. i didn’t go on methadone, I still take mass quantites of tylenol 1’s otherwise I get feeling run down and sick. My husband wasn’t so lucky, he went on to have to use 6 dilly 8s in order to feel normal. When that sort of supply ran out he turned to shooting heroin. Today he is on methadone and believe me you sure don’t want to EVER run out of that! To all of you trying to quit using pills I know for a fact you can do it. Quit it already! Its easier than you think especially once you are past day 2.

  5. I appreciate what Jared is getting at, but just like active depression, addiction is not something that most people can just willpower their way out of. It takes thinking things through, a plan to get through the tough early stages and most of all, support. Then, as you move further into recovery, you realize that your are building a whole new life. I got through it all with the help of my family, friends, Church and the Celebrate Recovery group I became a part of.

    It can be done alone, without help. But why would a person want to do it that way when so many options are out there??

    Josh, don’t be afraid. I pray that God will give you everything you need to get through your recovery.

    Erin, great post as usual!

  6. See, it’s an evil myth that people believe, that we’re SUPPOSED to feel good all the time. I really think we’re not. Why should we feel good when so many people don’t?

    So become a positive force in the universe, and as Ann Landers used to say, Quit ‘cher bellyaching.

    And sure, clean up around you. That always feels good. Great post.

  7. LOL this article was so humor filled. it made me feel better. i really liked this article because i feel like i’ve just about had it with my retarded feelings that i wanted to just thizz cuz it makes you “feel better” and rolling supposedly is your stress reliever. i never did drugs but i’m proud of myself. your feelings were mosdef like mine. thank you.

  8. can relate to all the information and experiences here on different levels, similar feelings without the drug addiction, for sure as debilitating. Our greatest opponents are our minds. The mind is like a playground and will continue to run the merry go round as often as we allow it. Sometimes there is no strength or enthusiasm to do much else and the past result may have been less than gratifying for the effort so we tend to drink or pop a pill to numb the ‘mind’ (playground) for just a smidget in time. I have found over time a noticeable difference in energy and mental capacity to steer clear of the obsessive negative thinking by putting in prayer requests (over 10 people pray) at
    http://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=1&Itemid=109
    it’s undisputeable the momentum of energy vibe in your desired direction will take shape a lot faster than when a lone. Whenever I feel badly toward anything for more than 30 minutes I jump online, type in the address and type in a request… almost instantly I feel better & nearly everytime the day starts to cheer up on it’s own. Remember anything negative or bad feeling tends to be oppressive and the strongest lifting aspect of help and healing/resolution comes from our Spirit not mind that’s why I believe it works so well in tapping into the Spirit side works well.

  9. yes. i am a christan. god want me to be health, happy and enjoy life. why can’t i? bad attude, bad thinking, gone in to the pat, stress as much a person can be. have attacks every day where i am really nerves. no one i can talk with here on earth. life right now is not good at all for. help me please. god blesspat ps have a big problem sleeping every night. but not just sad back doing nothing. that one of my reason for write you. i a doctor take care of me. but it not enought.

  10. hi, this is really a gud post. it made me think from a new angle. because no matter wat ever i try fate has always given me people who cheat me and use me and play with my feelings and trust. so i m only left with bad feelings. but as u said i just force myself to do few things like cook… clean… or remember my gud times or do things i enjoy.but the bottom line is when ever we expect from others things go bad… stop expecting… start being nuteral.. accept things… this is wat i do. i used to take medications. then stopped and started fighting against depression myself. as u said i think old times when ever i have down curves… i counsel my mind that those days have gone even these days would gooo so just hang on and look for new ray. and it has helped me a lot.anyways felt gud reading ur post… just few things bc if anybd cud benefit i wud be the happiest.:-) life is one let the touch of humanity spread happiness world wide.

  11. Man i feel that post. I have a stressful job and would already be prone to depression/anxiety if i were a dishwasher so it makes it all that worse. EveryTHING that does not go my way is a good reason for me to stop my day and crack a beer. no matter what time. Tackling issues and confronting them head on does not matter at that point…the day is lost in my mind…tommorrow is a new day. I need to have a “perfect” day in order for me to feel satisfied and happy at the end of the day…sad thing is there is no such thing. Its funny, as soon as i do ONE thing which does not measure up to my ideal standards i get frusturated and stop. I want to be good with no effort. The only reason i can keep progressing and keep a job is because i am so hard on myself i force myself out of the rut i am in. However, this only results in a short burst of activity and but allows me to at least keep up and not fall behind too much. Damn though i could be doing a shitload better. I guess my only advice is to say fuck what others think and simply do not disappoint yourself or depress yourself trying haha

  12. Erin,
    are you still giving advice? I really don’t know where to begin. I own my a buisiness and I have began to lose interest in everythig. I work from home and never leave the house. I take the feel good pills too, started with a bad neck and back. I find myself doing so much for everyone else and nothing for myself and I have also found myself just wanting to be left alone to watch re runs on the couch to include my husband. I also find myself very angry. I really do not know what to do. With no insurance it is really hard to afford counceling. Can you give me some advise

  13. Do what ever the #$%& makes you happy. I finally took back control of my life and living it and dealing with it the way I NEED to! Quit doing what you think others want you to do and just do your own thing.

  14. Long story short, I’m two weeks from being an official senior citizen. Previous to a complete “hyster-wrecked me” 20 years ago I was a pretty upbeat person. After my surgery I gained 100 lbs in less than a year. I would get up, go to work, come home, go to sleep! A friend at that time asked if I considered that I might have a hormone imbalance. My Dr. put me on anti-depressants and here I am today. Dr’s know best right? The last anti-depressant I took was Cymbalta. It was not a good experience for me! I’ve discontinued taking the medication recently and finding that I’m not so depressed. I feel like I’m taking responsibility for myself for a change. Today I’m doing exactly what Erin is advocating in her post. I’m giving myself credit for doing little things when I don’t feel like doing them and tomorrow is a new day. I’m happy that I found this site. Thank you Erin.

  15. great post! for some reason reading and/or hearing people that can relate to how i feel is interesting… which is a pretty big deal considering that i have lost interest in most things. I have been through a rough life… and to be honest, im sick if telling my story because it’s almost like ingraining it into my character. In other words, repetition is the key to everything and the more i talk about the horrible things in my life, the more it becomes my everyday life.

    • Hi Sarah,

      yes i totally agree, when you keep on going your past emotions things will enever leave you and also your emotions will always kind of stay in that previous circle.

      Sometimes its so hard to move on from things but the best way is to try moce on. This will have a positive impact on your life. Its just trying. Sometimes we just need to try and things will slowly fall in to place.

  16. That way i make my self better i pray, i call frends around me i ask them how they doing, how is their they i get off my self, i don’t like to be in my self, i get busy with life, is not eazy but is possible-i gave my self rewards nice hair cut, take my self shopping, or have a nice meal.

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