Some coping strategies to try
If you are currently trying to manage emotional pain, these are a few strategies that may help. The first thing you try may not make you feel better. Don’t let that be your excuse to stop trying. Instead, pick another strategy to try, then another. At worst, you’ll pass some time. At best, your thoughts and feelings will shift away from the pain and toward something helpful.
For longer-term relief from suffering …
- Take a 5-day break from social media. Notice how you spend your time instead. Notice how you feel.
- Identify your strengths (the VIA-IS Strengths Survey is free: www.viacharacter.org). Put one strength into action every day. This is especially helpful for coping with depression.
- Reduce time spent with people who don’t make you feel good about yourself (including online friends or people you follow). Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself as you are right now.
- Develop a daily mindfulness practice. Once you are able to control your focus, you will be able to choose to put your focus on meaningful/helpful/distracting things rather than on your pain.
- Choose an organization to volunteer with. Hand out bags of goodies and essentials to homeless people. Smile at everyone you pass. Providing service to others is especially helpful for coping with depression.
- Identify what is important to you. Do one thing every day in support of these values.
- When something positive, no matter how small, happens to you (e.g., when someone appreciates you, when you feel loved, or when you feel good about completing a task), take 30 seconds to savor the moment. Allow the positive feelings to linger. Repeat the words said to you. Try to believe them. Imagine encapsulating this moment into a stone or precious jewel that you place into your internal storehouse of positive experiences. Spending 30 seconds to engage at this level with the positivity of the moment allows your brain to encode it more deeply. You actually learn from that moment to seek other moments like it.
- Read this article on how to improve your mood using neuroscience. It has some great ideas. http://www.businessinsider.com/a-neuroscience-researcher-reveals-4-rituals-that-will-make-you-a-happier-person-2015-9.