This is effectively what happens when I feel down. I feel bad about feeling bad, which makes it worse. I’m starting to realise that I cannot deny these feelings, in fact denial is possibly one of the worst methods of dealing with negative feelings. You see bad feelings are kind of like being out in the rain without an umbrella. You’re going to get wet. If you deny the fact that are you wet, you’ll probably get a cold. This is very similar to depression or bad feelings. If you simply deny the bad feelings, pretend they don’t exist, then all you are doing is bottling these bad feelings up. Eventually it will come back to bite you in the ass. However, if you simply accept it and acknowledge it, much like simply acknowledging when you’re completely soaking wet, then you can simply move on. Take a shower, dry off, put warm clothes on and talk to some friends. You have to have the same mentality towards depression as you do getting caught in a storm; Yes it sucks that you got completely soaking wet, and yes it sucks that you’re probably a bit cold and uncomfortable, but hey, you won’t be soaking wet & cold forever. You simply have to acknowledge the situation, the bad feeling…then let it go. I try to imagine these feelings as a cloud, they are just passing over. They are absolutely real, and you cannot make them stop, but you can simply just allow them to happen and pass over.
It’s a hard thing to explain and an even harder thing to put in action. It’s easy to say “let it go” but how do you let a negative feeling go? These feelings tend to linger and stay on the edge of your mind. What seems to be working for me is to have a plan. If you start to feel bad or down, accept it. Acknowledge it. “Yes, I am feeling a bit crap today”. Then let it go and do something to relax. Go for a run, watch a movie, eat some cheeky food, try to relax, but don’t deny the feelings, just let them be a part of your day. Talk to this feeling if you need to; “All right feeling, I acknowledge that you are here, I accept that I am feeling a bit crap. But I am not going to listen to you, because you are irrational.” The key is to understand that you can acknowledge and accept a feeling, but you don’t have to actually listen to it. You don’t have to let it take over you. Just simply accept it, and then move on. I know I keep saying more or less the same thing, but it’s important to understand that there is a difference between acknowledging you are feeling a certain way, and letting it actually take over you. Today for example, I felt a little crap this morning. No particular reason, just didn’t feel good. In the back of mind I knew that I should go for a run, but my god I did not feel like going for a run. I really didn’t want to go for a run, I just could not be bothered. Then it occurred to me that this is ironically the most important time that I do make myself go for a run. So I acknowledged that I didn’t feel good, and I accepted that I didn’t want to go for a run. Then I grabbed my running shoes and my ipod shuffle with my incredibility manly playlist that includes the sugarbabes, and I walked out the door.
Now I’m sitting here writing this blog, feeling relaxed & satisfied that I didn’t let how I felt effect what I did. I accepted and acknowledged the voice in my head saying “I can’t be bothered to run because I feel crap” but I didn’t listen to it, I just put on my stuff and went anyway. I’ve never really done that before, and I cannot describe the difference it makes in how you feel.
This method of simply acknowledging and accepting feelings and thoughts we have, but not listening to them if they are irrational seems to really be good strategy. In my earlier blogs, I talked about playing hearthstone (an online card game) and how I care too much about losing and how I should try not to care, or I shouldn’t care at all. Now I’m starting to think that I should apply the same strategy towards that. You know what, I do care if I lose. I accept that I really care if I lose a game of hearthstone. I acknowledge this. Now I’m just going to let it go and I’m not going to let it control me because I know that although I do care if I lose, my fear of losing is irrational. It’s really not that bad, it doesn’t hurt me, it doesn’t mean anything! It’s OK to care about losing, just accept it and let it go.
That being said I still feel super nervous when I even think about playing hearthstone, but maybe I should just accept that. I acknowledge that I feel nervous, I accept it. Now I’m going to let it go.
I hope this makes sense to you as much as it makes sense to me…