- Mental Health
How to support yourself in difficult times
Opportunity, Difficulty and Support
I once heard life being described as 'opportunity mixed with difficulty'.
I think everyone would agree with this and is more than happy to work with the opportunities but what happens when we enter the difficult and challenging periods of our life ?, who should we turn to for support and who's opinion do we value the most ?.
My belief is that we should look to ourselves for support because we value our own opinion above those of others. When our friends show us a 'great picture' they have of our night out, who do we try and find first? what do we say when we see ourselves?. If we feel ugly, fat, or unhappy with our outfit it doesn't matter how many people tell us we look fine. We have the final judgement.
So how do you support yourself in a positive way when you are in the middle of a crisis ?
Write yourself a letter
When events in our life affect us negatively the first thing we lose is perspective and this is where an external voice can provide some much needed focus until the dust settles.
So why a letter why not just talk to yourself ?
A letter has several advantages. Reading is an activity and will switch your mind (to a certain degree) from an emotional state to one of practicality, thus reducing your upset. Secondly when you read, you hear the words in your own voice which means that whatever is on the page is going to carry more weight and therefore be more likely to be accepted as the truth.
If you just try and talk to yourself when you feel bad, your mind will say ‘No I don’t believe it, I feel lousy’. So a letter has a unique way of slipping past your depression radar and allowing the words to affect you where it counts.
OK sounds great but how do I do it ?
1. On a positive day when everything is going well sit down and choose a problem that could happen to you. For example, losing your job.
2. Imagine you are reassuring a friend who has encountered the problem and let them know that despite the circumstances they are fine and this too shall pass. The great advantage for doing this for yourself is that, YOU KNOW YOU and will be able to say all the right things!.
3. Provide evidence. Your mind may not be willing to accept just reassurance in the middle of a crisis so give concrete examples of when you have overcome adversity and succeeded in similar circumstances.
4. Include some practical steps that can help to resolve the problem. Only a couple though just to get you started.
5. End with further reassurance and a reminder that when the letter was written you were strong, happy and full of energy and that these are still within you despite the difficulty being experienced.
Try and create as many of these letters as you can so you can be confident that whatever life throws at you, you have fantastic support on standby from the person who matters most.