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How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

How to Not Be Sad When It Feels Like Everything Is Going Wrong

I can safely say that the previous year was the most challenging year I had experienced, and it emotionally broke me. After losing my grandfather over the summer, I had lost my father, and a good friend a week apart from one another later in the year. Looking back, it was almost a domino effect that left me feeling completely angry, sad, and other times transparently emotionless.

Gaining emotional balance is far different than finding physical or mental balance. Human emotions, especially, sadness, pain, depression, and anxiety, tend to arrive suddenly and uninvited. Sometimes, it may feel like the odds are stacked against your favor, which makes it harder to break through that specific cycle or see the light at the end of the tunnel.

These emotions – especially sadness – is weighed differently by everyone and may feel amplified during specific periods in one’s life. Whether it be because of a breakup, losing a friend or a loved one, feeling like a failure, or even homesickness, understand that it’s completely natural to feel a certain way about it.

So how to not be sad?

1. Keep in Mind That There’s a Season to Everything

Like nature’s seasons, we also go through seasons in life. Some seasons may seem longer than others especially when it comes to dealing with emotions such as sadness, grief, sorrow, and depression. But just like nature, there is a beginning, and there is a renewal to every moment in our lives.

Take a moment to think back on the last five years. The chances are you’ve had your highs and lows, and maybe one particular year stood out more than the others. For that particular moment, event, or even year, it might have been hard to see the light or good that was to come out of it.

Trust that while it seems like everything is going against you, there is a close to every single loop in our lives. It’s also meant for your growth mentally, physically, and spiritually to have these renewal periods.

2. Embrace the Domino Effect

Other times, life will have some dominos lined up for you and there will be a time when it’ll all come tumbling one after another – or it may seem so. Sometimes, it’s the universe clearing and paving something else, but the frustrating part of it is not knowing what is coming to fill that space.

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The unknown can be an exciting thing, but can also create restlessness, anxiety, and uncertainty. It’s part of trusting the process and knowing that others have, are, or will be going through similar emotions.

It’s not an end-all, but instead a reset button for what’s to come next. It’s a cleanse that we need and is also a reminder that maybe we have to switch our perceptions.

You’re also the director and screenwriter of your life and it’s time to embrace all your moments and even the ones you feel are against you. Making that simple switch in perception can make all the difference

3. Find Your Bliss

It’s time to break away from the single-minded pursuit of happiness and embrace the thing that works for you and what’s in alignment to your values. Everyone deals with sadness in a different way –exercising, drawing, dancing, connecting with friends, or spending time with family.

Be compassionate to yourself and find what makes you happy. It’s not a one-answer-fits-all, and it’s not supposed to be. Find several things you can refer back to that brings balance mentally, physically, and most importantly emotionally.

4. Start a 5 Minute Journal

Whether you’re a writer or not, try starting a 5 minute journal and write down all the things you are grateful for. Sure, it may sound tedious at first, but use those 5 minutes that you were going to use scanning through social media or watching television towards something that can help shift your emotions.

Many successful entrepreneurs start their day with gratitude, and just by listing down the simple things you appreciate daily, you begin to notice other things to be grateful for throughout the day. Here are several prompts to get you started:

  • Who made you smile in the last 24-hours and why did that person make you happy?
  • Was there a specific song on the radio that reminded you of a fun time in your life? How did that make you feel?
  • Think about what you had for breakfast and how it fueled you for the day. How did that energize you?

Once you start looking at the little things to be grateful for, it starts becoming a natural habit that then begins shifting your emotions automatically. Call it the happy domino effect.

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5. Reach out to Someone You Can Connect With

Having a huge support system is a blessing, but there’s always someone you might be able to connect with on a deeper and personal level.

Everyone’s circumstances and situations are different and while you may feel that you are the only person that may be feeling a certain way about it, open up yourself to connect with others who similarly could have felt the same way.

Breakups happen for a number of different reasons, but that similar feeling of grieving that person, relationship, and entity still exists. Homesickness may be defined differently depending on a person, but it’s that mutual feeling of longing for a place or person.

Life’s not meant to go about alone, but in the company of others.

6. Change Your Perception

When my father passed away, I went through the stages of grief – as most people do. I remember texting a friend that I was angry at him for leaving, although I know that my father’s fate was not in my hands.

Once you go down that Rabbit Hole of emotions, it’s hard to come back up, especially when you feel like everything is going wrong. Here’s the spoiler alert:

There is no Wonderland or a magical place with all the answers. The tunnel never ends unless you stop yourself from free falling with your thoughts and find the willpower to climb out of that tunnel.

It’s about switching those perceptions and pushing your mental power– which includes seeing the silver lining in places that seem almost impossible.

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Here are questions to help shift those current perceptions into more positive thoughts and ideas

  • Life isn’t happening to me, but instead for me. What am I learning from this and why now?
  • How can I help others with what I am experiencing?
  • Is being negative helping anyone or myself?

Keep in mind being negative and being sad are two completely different emotions. Being sad is natural and sometimes you have to ride those emotions out; but being negative sometimes stems from unaddressed sadness.

With that, I searched for the silver lining in the sudden passing of my father and saw that the beautiful thing about death is that it brings people closer in the most bittersweet way.

Changing your perception is the game changer.

7. Put Yourself First

Put yourself first and most especially during your darkest hours. Everyone is different, and there isn’t a clean cut and simple solution when dealing with sadness.

If it helps, surround yourself with people whether it be a distraction mechanism or something to bring up your vibrations. If it helps to turn off your phone for half the day and disconnect, allow yourself that time. If you’d rather be alone to let go and release any pent-up emotions, or even to be in complete silence and solitude – allow yourself those moments.

Once you show up for yourself and begin putting yourself first, you start to show up in other areas in life again.

Here’re some self-care tips for you: 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

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8. Gain and Give Compassion

Compassion is not always a skill that’s given, but a sometimes it’s a skill learned. As humans, we have genuine compassion towards other human beings, animals, and nature by being kind, gentle, and observant – things that flow naturally.

Yet, there are some areas in life we will not truly and fully understand unless we have gone through it ourselves. Most times, it may be understanding traumatic experiences.

Sadness can be an all encompassing emotion, but you’re not alone.

By taking some time to be compassionate towards other people and their waves of sadness, you may feel more connected to that particular person even if you haven’t gone through that particular event. In return, compassion is a energetic wave and what you give always comes back around.

Final Thoughts

Sadness is a healthy human emotion and is something your family, friends, colleagues, and mentors have all experienced. Reach out to loved ones, especially those you have a special connection with.

Remember to put yourself first and be open to trying new things that may seem foreign to you such as starting a journal or exercising. When everything starts feeling like it’s hitting at once, know that there’s a season to all of this – even your darkest moments.

More Inspirations About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Chad Madden via unsplash.com

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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