Sometimes life gets overwhelming. A menacing cloud seems to darken your days, and everything looks bad. No matter how you try, you can’t find the silver lining, make lemonade from lemons, or see the bright side. So, what can you do?
First, consider your approach to helping yourself. Instead of trying to will yourself to be happy or force yourself to be positive, try viewing your situation non-judgmentally. Accept that you are currently going through a rough patch – just as everyone else does at times. As I explain in the brief video, “Getting Through Bad Days,” observing your situation from this perspective can empower you to finally think more clearly and be more open to the good that surrounds you.
If this doesn’t brighten your worldview by itself, you might need the help of a friend to pull you out of your dark hole. So, even if you don’t feel like it, look for someone who can offer a hand. Then reach out to that person. If you know of a specific way they can help, do yourself a big favor by sharing this insight. The more open you are, the more likely their attempts to help will actually work.
Some ways that other people can help you rediscover the positive are:
Talk it out. Let your friend in on your struggles and then be open to the support, advice, or concrete help they offer. This process usually goes better when you share your difficulties, as well as what you are hoping to get from your friend (e.g. emotional support without advice, concrete help).
Do boring stuff together. Sometimes just having company during your everyday routine helps. It can offer you a sense of connection and add another (and different) voice to the repetitive and destructive dialogue in your head.
Have a little fun. Sometimes a happy distraction can help you to smile, breaking you free from the negativity that seems to imprison you. So, a game of Monster Mini Golf or a trip to your local paint-your-own-pottery shop may be enough to change your mood.
Get your blood flowing. Having a buddy can make it easier to get moving. And if you choose an activity that requires some your energy – such as ice skating or going for a brisk walk – there’s a good chance that your mood will lift as your body awakens.
Engage your natural curiosity. Sometimes what you need most is to re-engage with the world on a meaningful level. So, whether or not an activity is light-hearted or “fun”, your interest in it might draw you out from under that dark cloud. For instance, you might benefit from going with a friend to a visit to a museum or a workshop on photography.
While you can sometimes rediscover life’s goodness on your own, it’s good habit to learn how to ask for help. People who sometimes rely on friends when they are down tend to be more resilient and happier. Although life can still be difficult with the support of others, their company and caring will feel good. And that can make all the difference in being able to once again enjoy the positives that life has to offer.