Feeling sad or depressed?
Life is full of ups and downs. I’m sure you’ve heard that a few times. Even those who seem like they are always “up” also have their “down” personal experiences and feelings that they don’t present to the world.
There are moments in life that get you excited. You laugh with friends and family or you have a good alone time. Other times, you feel sad and you find it hard to shake off the feeling. You feel sad because you lost something or someone, you had a bad experience, or you think about what you do not have that you think should have brought you happiness.
Those sad times are real and a single thought or moment can send one spiraling into depression.
Being mindful and recognizing special moments
The happiest people are not the ones who have the most, but those who cherish the most.
If you are thinking to yourself, it’s been a long time since I was joyful or I had a good time, it may be because you are not recognizing your blessings and have been too focused on the negative for a long time. Here are 5 things that you can be thankful for, and put a smile on your face:
- You are healthy
- You have 1 family member or friend who loves you
- You sleep well
- You have the basic amenities of life — food, housing, and clothing.
- You were wonderfully made
- You are saved by God
- You are ALIVE and you have a special gift & purpose from God
And if you do not have any of this, think about what you have and be thankful for them.
There are special moments that put a smile on your face and that’s great. We would all like to have many of such special moments but that isn’t always the case. While I encourage you to create those happy moments yourself, here’s also a reminder:
Don’t let external activities or other people determine your joy because you cannot always control what happens or what they do. Give thanks to the Lord, rejoice and be glad.
How to manage the sad moments better
There will be moments where you feel down or depressed. You got bad news, you feel behind in life, or you think too much about the future and how you will deal with what is yet to happen. First of all, you are not alone. Everyone goes through different struggles at some point in their life, even those that seem to have it all together online or on their social media handle.
Recently, I read a suicide note on the internet written by a young man who felt like he couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end his life. The note read “I had lost connection to God…The devil seems to have won… I have been dead inside for too long”.
Sometimes what keeps us in that state of feeling sad or depressed even to the point of contemplating suicide is not an action or an event in itself, it is the lies the devil puts in our minds, or we tell ourselves that keep us down.
Event: You do not have money to pay your rent (this is true).
Internal dialogue: “I will be homeless”, “I am good for nothing”, “All my friends will abandon me when I tell them I need some money”, “I will be homeless and alone”.
Event: You received a bad report from a boss about your work (this is true).
Internal dialogue: “I am not good enough”, “I don’t have what it takes to compete”, “No one acknowledges my effort”, “others have it all figured out”, “I am a professional fraud”.
All of these negative thoughts have a way of keeping you down when you should be pressing on to greater things.
Recognizing these negative thoughts that come to mind and dealing with them appropriately is crucial to maintaining your peace and being joyful despite challenging circumstances. Try to separate the event and your interpretation of the impact of that event.
Some action steps you can take when feeling down or depressed:
- Speak to a friend, family member, or a specialist about your feelings. Someone you can trust not to dismiss it, but to listen and help you through it.
- Write down what you are thankful for
- Speak out about those things you have access to today that you are thankful for. Do this a few times a day.
- Keep your dream alive. Create a picture in your mind of what it would look like to live out your dreams and have a fulfilling life.
- Tell someone about your dreams and aspirations. If you can’t find someone who is interested to talk to, email me and I will write back :-)
- Take baby steps toward what you love doing.
- Do not get caught up in the grind. Take time out to rest and feel refreshed.
- Stay away from social media as much as you can.
- Meditate on God’s word often. Some Bible verses for meditation are:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29: 11).
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalms 139:14).
On a final note, while you can’t control everything that happens to you, you have the power to choose how you respond; and responding well to difficult circumstances isn’t something you can or cannot do. It is something you learn to do and get better at with practice over time.