By Brittney Bergen
When’s the last time you felt low?
You know, the days when:
- You want to curl up in bed, pull the covers over your head, and shut out the world
- You feel like throwing the towel in on all of your goals or relationships
- You look in the mirror and despise what you see
We all have ’em. (Yep, even me.)
And this is the advice we’re given:
- “Happiness is a choice”
- “Allow yourself five minutes of self-pity, and then get your game face back on”
- “Inspirational quote here”
But if you’re like me, these are the last things you want to hear when you’re in despair. (I’ll show you my game face, Happiness Guru. Amiright?)
You’re in luck. You can forget the advice of the Insensitive Happiness Guru, and try on mine instead.
Five Tips For Getting Through Your Lows: (and I mean life-lows, not the bottom of a squat)
1. Feel Your Effing Feelings
Rather than choosing out of your low feelings too soon (and risking the chance of them coming back later like a full-blown earthquake when right now they might be only a tremor), feel them fully!
I believe every time we feel down, there’s a lesson to be found in the depths of our despair. Often times, low patterns repeat themselves until we’ve learned it. Best get to the guidance now, so you don’t have to keep feeling down in similar situations.
For example, do you always feel “not good enough” after a break up? (I’ve been there, sister or bro!) Allow yourself to go deep into that feeling. I imagine you’ll find the source of your self-worth within. You won’t need the affirmation from anyone else.
When you’re processing challenging emotions, allow yourself to notice the sensations that come up. Literally, close your eyes, get out of your head, and feel what the emotions feel like in your body:
- Is there tightness in your chest?
- A sinking feeling in your stomach?
- Is your breath short?
I believe that emotional trauma is stored in the cells of our bodies, and that by feeling, we can release past pain and prevent the storage of our present suffering.
Feel the sensations and notice if they travel to different parts of your body. Be open to any thoughts that arise as you’re feeling.
The lesson you’re meant to learn just might come to you from that painful spot in the pit of your stomach that you’ve been avoiding.
2. Rest Up, Buttercup
You don’t always have to DO. It’s okay to BE.
Low feelings are there to allow us to recalibrate. To recentre. To become realigned with what’s true for us NOW.
Have you never noticed how dark times seem to come along exactly when you could really use some rest?
Come back to your heart and find a place of calm awareness. After resting, you can return to experiencing the highs and lows of life without ever feeling out of control.
- Lay on the floor
- Focus on your breath
It’s okay to cancel things, or to allow the white space in your life to be filled with you laying in bed in your pajamas eating peanut butter from the jar by the spoonful.
Allow yourself to fall into a state of being FULLY, and before you know it, you’ll feel refueled and recalibrated. You’ll stop spinning your tires. You’ll get back to your badass state of kicking ass with renewed clarity about the direction you’re going.
3. Remember to Receive
We give a lot. Low times are a time to receive.
- Ask your partner for what you want
- Get a reiki session or a massage
- Go out for dinner instead of cooking
- Listen to guided meditations
Right now is not the time to continue to pour from an empty cup. It’s a time to ask to be filled up. And it’s okay to ask for help or to ask for what you want.
Remember, you’re worthy of receiving.
4. Phone a Friend
Low times become dangerous and unbearable when we feel like we have to go through them alone.
When you feel most like shutting out the world, is exactly when it’s time to reach out.
Phone a friend. Tell them how you feel. Be vulnerable. Chances are your friend will say, “Oh yeah! I felt like that last week. I totally get it. That sucks.”
You won’t feel so alone. You’ll remember that what you’re feeling is part of the human experience, and that we’re meant to go through this together. I imagine, you’ll even strengthen your friendship.
5. Don’t Forget: This Isn’t Your First Time
If you’re feeling low, think about the last time you felt like this.
I imagine, even if you feel like quitting everything, or like everything in your life sucks – it’s not the first time.
Remember how, last time, it came to an end.
Use affirmations like:
- “This too shall pass”
- “Just do the next right thing” or,
- “Keep moving forward”
You’ve overcome your struggles before. You’ll overcome this one, too.
The sun always rises. Winter turns to spring.
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
If you’re feeling low, forget what the Insensitive Happiness Guru said! Try out this advice instead:
- Feel your effing feelings, dammit!
- Relax. Rest. Restore. Be.
- Look for ways to receive; you don’t always have to give.
- Open up to friends; they’ll support you and help you feel totally normal when you feel the most crazy or sad.
- Remember, however you’re feeling, “This too shall pass.”
Instead of trying to pull yourself out of the darkness too soon, be willing to go deep enough into the caverns of your despair to discover the gem of a lesson that’s hidden there for you.
- Feel your feeling of worthlessness fully, and you’ll find the part of you that remembers you’ve always been worthy
- Get acquainted enough with your inadequacy, and you’ll meet the map directing you to finally feeling good enough
- Allow yourself to feel your insignificance until it passes up and out of you, and you’ll be left knowing you don’t have to do anything to become significant – you’ve always been remarkable
And as you process challenging emotions, remember you never need to feel alone. Even Idealistic Isabel feels sad sometimes. Whichever end of the range of human emotions you’re at, I want you to know, I’ve been there.
And I hope that – even in your lowest valley during your darkest night – you never give up hope in the truth of your own greatness. There’s a lesson at the bottom of that valley, and ecstatic joy is waiting for you on the other side.
Image Credit: Amanda Ubell, Dare to Dream Photography