Sometimes life just hurts.
You may have lost a love or a job, or even both, and that can have a profound effect on your sense of well-being. It’s hard to be at ease when your heart is aching. You think about all kinds of things over and over again. This process is normal, but it sure isn’t comfortable.
Whenever you review what happened to you, the feelings come up, and you have to walk around carrying the weight of your pain. It’s daunting and nothing anyone wants to go through.
You have choices on how to deal with this type of discomfort. You may feel like giving in to it and pulling the covers up over your head. You may decide to become totally proactive and rebuild your work or love life. Some people enjoy doing this. There’s no time to feel the hurt if you are too busy thinking about how to get out of the pit and back into life. But not everyone has this ability.
Some people choose to sulk through their lives until something else happens. This sulking habit can last a very long time if you let it, and I don’t recommend that you do. If it goes on for more than a couple of weeks, I would suggest talking with a medical professional.
That being said, most people don’t go running for help when they’ve been down for a fortnight, but it should be a signal that you need to do something to help yourself.
Trying to stay positive while there is a big hole in your soul is never easy. Any bad news, no matter how small, can feel like a major issue.
Your brain is almost constantly engaged in the whys and wherefores of how you got here, making it even tougher to come up with ideas to be proactive about your emotional well-being. The rumination process can also suck up your days and leave you feeling worse because you haven’t done a thing but feel your pain.
This is when having a healthy routine can be helpful.
Start by getting up when you wake up. If you lie in bed, chances are you will be thinking about what is hurting you, so get yourself going so your head can get clear. Make diet and regular exercise part of your plan, along with time to heal by reading, talking or writing about your feelings. Spending time with loving friends and relatives who won’t judge you can also be very soothing. Being with people who will let you be where you are — those who won’t criticize but instead will help to heal your heart — is some of the best medicine available.
Learning to take care of yourself when you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders is an important technique to master. Life is always going to have difficult moments. The sooner you learn to get through them, the longer you will have to enjoy this journey — pitfalls and all.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.