Do you have days when you feel as if life has gotten away from you? When everyday routine and tasks are so overwhelming that you’ve forgotten all about the good and great there is? When you’re emotionally color-blind and the world looks all shades of dark only.
Over 20 million adults in the US alone seek help for depression in any given year, and another estimated 30 million never even mention it, let alone seek help. Yet sadness, grief, and even passing feelings of hopelessness or despair are part of the normal human experience.
Experts say that if your experience is longer than 2 weeks, you NEED to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and seek help. Like now.
But if you’re not at the brink of deep depression yet, what can you do to help?
Humans are master storytellers. Stories help us relate to one another, to ourselves, and to our roots. Stories also help us through dark times – whether to justify our circumstances or pull us out of it.
When we are in the dark, we need as many reminders of the duality of life – where there’s dark, there’s also light. Sure, your experiences of the dark are real. But next to the darkness is also light. Whenever the dark is the darkest, it can only happen right next to the brightest of light.
We see the shadow because we have turned our backs to the light (also Plato). Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there. The light is ever-present and the shadows are proof of it.
What you need is a reminder to turn towards the light and focus on a different story. That being said, I invite you to collect the stories of all the good that is happening in this world. For the stories to have maximum impact on you, it’s preferable that the stories involve you, come from you, and are written down by you.
2 ways you can help yourself prepare for dark days:
- Journal. Every day, or as often as you can, in 2 minutes or so write down what went well in your day and life. Make these stories short and positive imprints of your life. When the days are dark, re-read what you’ve written. That’s your proof, written in your own hand, that your world has love, joy, and beauty in it. Read your happiness journal as many times as it takes.
- Snap a shot. Whenever you find yourself in bliss, pay close attention to what caused it. Is it the setting sun, laughing with friends, or playing board games with family? Snap a photo of something in that scene that helps you bring back this emotion at a later date. Maybe it’s the blazing horizon, your leg next to your friend’s, or even the rolling dice. Next, create an album on your device: My Happy. That’s where you keep all your shortcuts to happiness.
You know yourself. If this is something you need, you know it. And now you know that you need to prepare when you’re still capable of seeing light. And you know where to look when you need to catch yourself before plummeting into the dark.
Make it fun. Make it consistent. Make it a part of you.