How to find inspiration in life when you're feeling depressed
Lifestyle

How to find inspiration in life when you’re feeling depressed

Everything is crashing down around you and the bills are piling up. You’re in a tough situation at work and to make matters worse you just had a fight with your spouse or partner.

Things are tough and you’re down in the dumps, feeling like you’re stuck in a rut that you just can’t get out of. Your to-do-list is a mile long but all you can do is sleep. Who wants to ponder life when there’s so much good Netflix to watch?

These little disruptions can pile up and eventually leave us feeling really down and depressed. Your friends and family might just tell you to “suck it up” or “things will get better” but if you’re someone who is dealing with some real depressive feelings that’s like telling a rock to dance.

If you’re depressed or have been diagnosed with depression, it might be hard for you to get motivated about life. It’s not that you don’t want to get motivated, it’s just that your brain feels overwhelmed by the environment around it. Is it impossible for you to get inspired and excited again? No! It just takes a little extra work.

If you’re here, you’ve probably already tried a thing or two to get yourself back on track, but you might be struggling. Your situation might have you doubting yourself or your feelings, or you might be looking to get to the root of what really makes you happy in your life.

Whatever the reason you’re here, these are the 13 best tricks you can try if you want to find the inspiration in your life again.

With a little commitment and a little willpower, you can find yourself again. It’s just going to take some time to get there.

The 13 Best Tricks to Get Inspired by Life Again

1. Don’t be afraid to medicate your demon.

Let’s just go ahead and pull the medication bandaid off now, shall we? Hear me out.

We’ve all heard the saying that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That’s what getting well and feeling inspired again is all about. It’s a journey that’s going to take you through some ups and downs, highs and lows, but you’ve got to stick with it and that might mean medicated the Depression Demon that’s hanging off your back.

Many depressed people have a hard time getting out of bed. How can you climb the mountain back to wellness if you can’t even manage to crawl out from under the covers?

For many of us, medication is the first step to finding happiness again — and that’s okay! Some scoff at the idea of putting unnamed chemicals into your brain, but for those suffering with diagnosed clinical depression, that’s just the thing they need to find themselves in the blackness of pain and hopelessness that is depression.

Depression can result from our external circumstances, but it can also be produced by brain chemistry, so sometimes medication is the best choice to make. If you’re neurotransmitters aren’t working right, it doesn’t matter how much you run or say “I love you” in the mirror, things aren’t going to get better without a doctor’s intervention.

Speak to a professional if you think you’re dealing with more than just feeling a little down. A good therapist can help you to find the right mix of medication that brings your old self to the surface once again.

2. Don’t aim for the actual stars. Start with the planetarium.

If you’re really struggling with thoughts or feelings of being down, then don’t ask the world of yourself.

Don’t expect yourself to complete all your tasks on time all the time and don’t be angry with yourself when you make a mistake here or there.

Your energy levels change drastically when you’re suffering from depression, be it clinical or seasonal or situational. What’s worse, the negative self-talk we use to reinforce our negative emotions doubles down on us when we fail and can make you feel like a complete loser.

Instead of setting yourself goals you know you can’t meet, set really easy goals instead and celebrate yourself when you achieve them. A system of rewards can go a long way in getting you amped up and excited about life again. When you get used to smashing your easy goals on a regular basis, graduate them, and move on to the bigger and better stuff.

3. Talk to a professional.

Those on medication for their depression will probably know all about the value of a good therapist.

Therapists go hand-in-hand with medication and can go a long way in helping us figure out a lot of things in our lives. When you talk to a trained professional, you’ll feel better because you’ll know you’re talking to someone who not only knows how to listen, but is trained to listen.

When we’re feeling down, we usually reach out to our friends and think that’s enough. But it’s not. While friends are great for helping us dig into our feelings, therapists help us break free of vicious cycles by learning to identify our negative thinking and behaviors, which they then help you to correct.

You might be feeling worthless or stupid. Most likely, when you share those feelings with friends they will encourage you to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” While that might be helpful in some instances, it’s not particularly helpful if you’re suffering from really real feelings of depression.

4. Create a happy routine.

According to Michael Yapko, psychologist and author of Breaking the Patterns of Depression, having a happy routine is the way to go if you want to get motivated and inspired by your life again.

Yapko goes on to claim that having all the motivation in the world won’t help you pick yourself up unless you have new routines and skills that allow you to cope with your depression.

By creating your own happy routine, you can help to combat those depressive dips before they strike.

Happy routines are sets of activities that you can do when you feel depression starting to creep in. Activities can be as simple as sitting down with a good book or going out with your friends to a new restaurant.

If those types of activities aren’t enough to get you out of your head, look for more strenuous activities centered around fitness and exercise to give you a double blast of depression fighting endorphins.

5. Fake it till you make it.

If you act and dress happier, eventually you’ll start to feel that way.

When we project and aura of being happy (and also take time to take care of ourselves) we receive the same thing back tenfold from the people and places around us. When we look nice, we feel nice. When we feel nice, we’re nicer to the people around us. When you’re nicer to the people around you, they’re nicer to you and the cycle builds until you’re feeling better about yourself.

Go to the salon and go all out. Get that dye job; get that mani-pedi with a glass of champagne. Put on your best clothes and accessories and slap a smile across your face. It might sound silly, but acting and dressing like you want to be seen by the world is a great way to boost your mood and your confidence.

They say fake it till you make it for a reason — it works.

6. Build some mental barriers.

Imagine that your mind is a fortress. Fortresses are big and strong, but they need protecting too. Your mind is no different.

You need to protect your mental health as much as you need to protect your physical health. By hiding the things that trigger unproductive thoughts we can help to keep ourselves stable and our feelings riding high.

Cut out those annoying social media and email notifications, get rid of those keepsakes from those past relationship mistakes. Even if it seems trivial to you, get rid of the things that trigger negative emotions and behaviors that drag you down and make you feel depressed.

These things only create clutter in our heads and make it harder for us to focus on the things that really matter, like our wellbeing and future. Chuck the bed memories and focus on the future. No one is going to hold you back but you in the end.

7. Make a schedule and stick to it.

We humans are creatures of habit and when we have schedules it helps to calm us and make us feel more secure.

Life throws us out of balance but a stable routine can help to comfort you and provide some semblance of control over the world around you. Schedule the things you do every day like brush your teeth, make your bed or shop for the groceries and make them regular habits that you can depend on.

If you stick to a new habit for just 28 days, even in the depths of a depressive spell, it becomes second instinct. Over time, you’ll develop a feeling of normalcy and you’ll start to feel like you can take control over your own day and your own destiny.

We can’t always control the highs and lows of our emotions, but we can take control over the majority of interactions we have with the world around us. Take control of even a fraction of your life and it will minimize the hopelessness you feel.

8. Don’t overwhelm yourself — delegate.

When we are suffering from depression, our ability to complete normal workloads evaporates. Work starts to pile up and before you know it you’re overwhelmed and feel like there’s no way out.

You can avoid this overwhelm by learning how to delegate small, low-impact tasks to friends, co-workers and even the family that we love and depend on.

If you’re really struggling and have a whole list of tasks that don’t really require your input — pas them to a friend. There’s a huge chance you’re going to slip up and miss something, which is just going to reinforce your negative feelings, so avoid the fiasco altogether by lessening your workload.

You aren’t helping anyone by suffering nobly in silence, so accept that other people can and want to help you.

9. Exercise.

Did you think you were going to escape this one? Sorry. There’s no escaping the fact that exercise is great for those of us feeling blue.

You don’t need to lunge into a gym phase in order to get the exercise you need to feel better. Getting that blood pumping and that body moving can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk or pulling weeds in the garden for 20 minutes a day (in spring and summer).

And understand: this exercise thing isn’t all about the cardio. It’s about the fresh air and sunshine too.

The sunshine you’ll get from getting outdoors is great for Vitamin D. Millions of people around the world suffer from a Vit D deficiency, with contributes to such ills as insomnia, depression and even memory loss.

Vitamin D and fresh air figures majorly into how we’re feeling. According to some research, just 20 minutes of sunlight a day has the ability to lift your mood.

It really doesn’t matter what you do. Any physical activity done for 30 minutes to one hour, 3–5 times per week, has the ability to make you less susceptible to depression, and can help you find your spark again.

10. Apply the stoic’s practice to your problems.

There’s a great exercise call the Stoic Exercise which helps us really work through the reality of our problems and the negative thoughts we form around them.

To apply the wisdom the stoic’s to your problems, simply follow the instructions below.

Get a piece of paper and create 3 columns. In each column, address the following:

  • Column 1– Name your fear. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  • Column 2– What can you do to minimize those things from happening? Can you keep them from happening altogether?
  • Column 3– How likely is the worst case scenario? If the worst case scenario were to take place, how long would it take for you to get back what you lost?

Once you’ve filled out the columns with your fears and your negative thoughts, really take some time to analyze each. After doing this, you should realize 2 things:

  • Your fears and negative thoughts are (mostly) in your head, or probably not as realistic as you think they are.
  • Even if the worst were to occur, the damage is probably repairable.

When you realize that this is applicable to most problems, you’ll find a sense of ease when the going gets tough. Everything is temporary. Everything changes with time. Things might be bad now, but they’re not as bad as they could be. Tomorrow is another day. It’ll look better in the morning.

11. Celebrate even your smallest wins.

If you want to be happy you have to manufacture happiness in your life until it generates organically.

Kick start that happiness by taking the time to celebrate even your smallest victory.

Positive emotions aren’t limited to big wins, so even if all you manage to do today is take out the trash or brush your teeth — celebrate it. Depression makes it hard to function and it makes it even harder to see the bright side.

You’re not going to be able to stave-off those negative emotions forever so give yourself something to look forward to. Give yourself small rewards throughout the day and celebrate your smallest victories, not matter what they are.

12. Reframe that negative self-talk.

Depression likes to whisper in your ear and make you believe that things are worse that they are; that you’re worse than you are.

When we get stuck in downward spirals, our self talk begins to look a little something like this:

“You can’t do anything right. Look at the mess you make of everything in your life. You should be further along in your career by now. No one loves you. What a loser. You’re only getting older.”

Our brains are vicious, but we can reset them and the neural pathways that facilitate our thinking, by reframing our negative self talk with positive words and uplifted thinking.

It sounds completely silly, but by actually forcefully thinking more positive, you create new neural pathways. This leaves us feeling happier, uplifted and more resilient to life’s setbacks.

When we create new neural pathways, our old bad habits slough off. That’s because the old, negative neural pathways die off and are replaced by the good ones, branching up and up like a magnificent positivity tree.

It takes a lot of really forceful and conscious focus to switch your thinking from negative to positive, but it’s worth it, and it’s one of the best ways to start finding the good in life again if you’re struggling to see through the clouds.

13. Get out and socialize.

Getting stuck in this negative self-talk trap makes it hard to function and it tends to leave depression sufferers isolated, but it’s important to keep those social relationships open.

Socialization is important. Make a standing appointment with a friend or family member and force yourself to stick to it even if you don’t feel like you want to get out of bed.

When someone else holds us accountable, it’s easier to make ourselves get out into the world again. Only by getting out into the world can we encounter the inspiration and experiences we need to boost our spirits and get engaged.

Go to the bookstore to people watch or sit in a coffeeshop and enjoy your favorite brew. If you don’t have a friend or family member available, don’t use that as an excuse; try to find a local interest group in your area that engages in the same hobbies or pastimes or check out a local meet-up page to find exiting new friends and adventures.

Putting it all together…

Millions of people around the world struggle every day with depression. You’re not alone.

Take the first step toward getting inspired by life again by making the decision to be happier. Tell yourself that you can do it — because you can — and don’t give up with the going gets tough.

There’s going to be a lot of setbacks along the way, but if you stay true to yourself and accept that some days are going to be harder than others, you’ll find yourself on the path to true happiness in no time. Commit to the journey and take your friends with you.

You can get inspired by life again. Commit to it and believe in it.


 

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