How to deal with sadness: looking after your mental health
When you really need to deal with sadness you can be lost for ideas of how to “fix yourself” when things go wrong, or when you feel sad. Every new week brings a fresh set of challenges for you, even when you really feel like you need a break. It is crucial that you try and look after your own mental state and keep yourself busy and productive, as mental health is something which is often neglected. You also need to learn when to reach out for help.
When you have to deal with sadness you may think you don’t have the time to take out of your day for yourself, but it is those feelings that will worsen your symptoms and ultimately make you feel a little out of place in this world. Here are some ways to boost your mental health this week. The need to deal with sadness comes up for everyone at some point in their lives.
#1: Talk to someone
It is totally understandable that you may feel confused about your feelings and unable to talk about them to your family or friends. Opening up can often be one of the hardest parts when you have an issue with your mental health, especially for men. In fact, 40% of men won’t talk to anyone about their mental health, according to International Men’s Day.
One solution to this problem could be to ‘distance’ yourself from your problems by talking to someone who is impartial. A clinical psychologist or counsellor are great choices for this, because they will be able to understand your issues and help you will exercises to make you feel more like yourself once more.
According to this US study, “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.” In fact, the body and the mind are not two separate entities; they work together in harmony to complete you as a human being.
One of the key ways you can help your mental state is to get up and out of the house, or even just get up off the couch and move. Start small and reap the benefits. Exercise has many advantages: it releases serotonin to make you happy, it takes your mind off the stresses of life, and it will boost your self-esteem as you start to see results. Exercise truly is magical for your body, mind and soul.
#3: Keep in touch with loved ones
As we grow up and our lives become increasingly hectic, it can become more and more difficult to balance family time and catching up with friends. Even if you don’t have the time to go and see your friends and have a catch up, it is important to stay in touch by text or email. That’s one great benefit of social media; it allows you to stay in the loop all the time. But bear in mind that face-to-face contact is often the most therapeutic.
If you know someone who is suffering from poor mental health there are many resources out there that you can make use of, and that will provide guidance on some of the warning signs.
#4: Ask for help
You might feel like asking for help when you are struggling is a sign of weakness; but if you don’t ask for help and continue to struggle on, you’ll put yourself under more stress and fall into illness such as anxiety and depression much more easily. If you are struggling with something, ask someone.
It’s also important to reach out to free services that can put you in touch with professionals. Most countries have free services that can be accessed when you are in need; everything from community groups, drug and alcohol services, youth groups and counsellors. Don’t be afraid to ring many of these, and scope out what’s available in your area.
#5: Make time for “me time”
Sometimes you just need to learn how to switch the computer off, shut down and sit still. Our bodies are constantly running 24/7, and when you are working for a huge chunk of that time, your brain doesn’t get chance to slow down and relax. It can cause you to feel fatigues and be more susceptible to illnesses.
Once a week, take a few hours to switch off from all technology, close your eyes and relax. Run a warming bath or stand under a hot shower to help your muscles relax as well as your mind. This is a simple way to help you deal with sadness.
#6: Deferred gratification
One of the main things which helps us to overcome feelings of stress and sadness is to do something we enjoy. Find time to do your hobby this week. It will up your self-esteem and can distract you. It might sound simplistic but often delaying destructive behaviour (such as drinking and drugging) can be effective in managing it, once the urge has passed.
There are articles online such as this one: Importance of Delaying Gratification in Recovery which explains “deferred gratification” or the ability of people to wait for the good things in life. “Those individuals who find it difficult to delay gratification will often find it intolerable to have to put off their enjoyment.” Delayed gratification is closely related to impulse control. Distracting yourself with a hobby you enjoy can be a great strategy.
We all need to learn effective ways of how to deal with sadness
Remember that sadness is a normal part of life. Check out When Does Sadness Become Depression? and don’t be too hard on yourself if times get tough and you feel a little low sometimes. But remember to reach out to those you love, stay connected and seek professional help when you are worried about your mental health.