Positivity often feels like this impossible ceiling that we are always expected to reach, even though we only feel tall enough to do it half the time.
Society idolizes positivity and demonizes anything else, to the point that when we’re not feeling absolutely positive, it’s almost as if we’re committing a crime.
It turns into a loop. You feel down one day, and the next day you feel down for having felt down, and again and again the pit deepens, day by day, until you simply do not have the energy to climb back out.
The only things you can feel are the feelings closest to you—lost and alone, you have no idea what to do.
A day turns into a week, a week into a month, and month into years. You want help, but you do not know how.
We understand your pain, because at one point or another, we’ve all been there. And maybe some of us haven’t experienced downs as bad as yours—but perhaps these 10 points can help.
After these 10 points, we also go over 12 productive things you can do when you’re feeling lost.
You see the world around you as this giant ball of energy, and everyone in your life has this giant ball of energy inside of this. Why? How? What makes you different, and why don’t you feel the way they do?
But you can’t blame yourself. It’s not you, and it’s not them. Life is just sucky sometimes, and that’s all there is to it. You aren’t the problem, and you shouldn’t convince yourself that you are.
2) Make the Most of Being Alone
We often forget to value the act of being alone, simply because we take up so much energy being sad about it. But once you get over that sadness, you will realize that being alone isn’t so bad.
Alone is actually the most peaceful state you can be in, and someday, you may cherish all the time you had to yourself. Use this quietness to find the peace within you, to find the “you” you truly are.
3) Endings and Beginnings Come Together
Life isn’t a constant river—it’s full of boxes and events, of doors and walls that open and close. We are saddest when a part of our life comes to an end—a relationship, a job, school—but we must remember that right after an ending there will always be a new beginning.
What that new beginning may bring, no one knows, but it’s there, and something new will happen.
4) Being You Is Okay
Sometimes the biggest thing holding us down is the fear that we are doing nothing with our lives. That we have reached our peak, and everything from here on out will be stagnant or stale. And yes, that may be true.
But you know what? Being you isn’t something to cry about and being where you are isn’t something to regret.
You may not be where you want to be in life, but you still have a life to live, choices to make, and things to do.
Make the most of what you have and find happiness in your own way.
5) We All Feel Lost
The biggest lie we tell ourselves when we feel lost and alone is that no one else has felt what we feel now.
We isolate ourselves because we are ashamed of the enormity of our self-loathing and guilt, but the truth you need to realize is this: we have all felt this way.
Reach out and open up—your complex and tough feelings aren’t as complex as you think they are. Get the help that you need, because everyone will understand.
6) It’s Okay To Feel
When we feel sad and confused, some of us have a tendency to shut those feelings away.
We convince ourselves that emotions are the enemy, and the best way to stop feeling lost and alone is to stop feeling completely.
But that’s emotionally unhealthy and mentally draining. Express, feel, and embrace the pain within you; only then will you ever be able to get over it.
7) Just Accept
Feel, heal, and accept. Accept the tears, the emptiness, the void inside of you. Accept that life isn’t the garden of roses you were taught it would be as a child.
Accept that pain is a part of existence, and to exist is to feel; feel love, joy, happiness, and sadness, grief, pain.
When you begin to accept, the feelings will stop being so scary. The monsters in the dark will melt away, because they know they can no longer scare you. You reclaim your mind and start living the way you want.
8) Meltdowns Are Okay
In worst-case scenarios, we experience emotional breakdowns and meltdowns. We become temporary tornadoes of sadness, and everything that stands in our way gets crushed by our grief.
After these brief moments of insanity, we then become ashamed of what we have done, and fall further away into our pit to isolate ourselves from those who could help.
But don’t. Don’t cut yourself off this way, because meltdowns area okay. It’s only in these extreme moments of irrationality can we experience extreme moments of clarity.
The greatest rainbow only appears after the greatest storm.
9) Others Hide Their Pain From You
Social media can be your emotional death if you think about it too much. You see friends and colleagues posting pictures and clips of their happy lives—vacations, big houses, great careers, successful relationships.
And what do you have? A box of cup noodles and an ex who doesn’t return your calls?
It’s easy to compare yourself to your peers online, but the truth is that you shouldn’t.
Firstly, they aren’t dealing with the same circumstances that you are, and secondly, they only post their highlights, not their lowlights.
They don’t share their own pain, problems, and insecurities, which they are bound to have. Why? Because we all do. It’s a part of life.
Tomorrow. Just think about that. As bad as today may be, tomorrow is something else. Every day is a new blank slate, carrying with it none of the weight of the day before.
Every day you get a new chance to restart, to rebuild, to renew who you are. And every day you are a step closer to doing that. Just wait for tomorrow, and make tomorrow the day this will all change.
Now we’ve been through those 10 important points, hopefully you’re feeling a lot better. While they’re important to consider, one of the best ways to make change and improvement in our lives is through action.
So here are 12 productive things you can do right now.
I don’t know about you, but I find that when I stay in the house for too long, I start to feel depressed and lethargic.
Even though you may not feel like it, going outside and feeling the fresh breeze on your face can be beneficial for our mindset and perspective.
Experiencing nature is particularly great. Research has found that people’s mental energy bounced back when they looked at pictures of nature.
Studies have also discovered that natural scenes can ignite feelings of awe, which is another great way to give yourself a mental boost.
2) Write down your thoughts
One of the best ways to clear your mind and understand your feelings is to write them down.
So write down a list of things that’s bothering you. Once you get a clearer idea of what they are, you’ll be able to take action to get rid of them.
It can also be helpful to write down your dreams and goals, and then create an action orientated plan to achieve them.
3) Do some exercise
When you’re feeling lonely, it can be difficult to be motivated to take action.
But one of the best ways to get the blood flowing through your muscles and brain is with exercise.
In fact, research has found that regular aerobic exercise – primarily jogging or brisk walking – reduces the symptoms of clinical depression.
Surprisingly, one study found that running was just effective as psychotherapy.
Furthermore, running has been found to reduce anxiety symptoms and help you relax. In some studies, it has been suggested that running could be just as effective as medication.
4) Get a pet or go to a park and pet a stranger’s pet
One of the best ways to deal with loneliness it to get a dog or a cat. They make an excellent companion and teach you important lessons liking living in the moment and basking in the glory of play.
In fact, a large study that interviewed people living with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and PSTD found that a pet offers people a deep sense of “ontological security” – which equates to the feeling of stability and meaning in one’s life.
Another study found that having a pet staved off anxiety and was linked to lower body mass index.
5) Ask your friends what they see as your best qualities
When we constantly analyze ourselves, we tend to fall in loops of self-criticism. It happens to all of us.
So to get yourself out of that cycle, go and seek some outside opinions.
Ask your friends, colleagues, family members what they think your best qualities are. If you’re embarrassed about it, just tell them you’re filling out an application for anything non-embarrassing you can think of.
Then take a second and give yourself some credit for being that way.
6) Make short-term goals
Taking action and achieving small goals is one of the best ways to get yourself out of a negative loop.
Ask yourself what you really want to achieve in the future and then set small goals to eventually reach it.
Make sure you celebrate each goal with a pat on the back.
In fact, creating a checklist and ticking them off is a great way to release dopamine in the brain, which is crucial for our emotions and ability to take action.
7) Call your family or friends
Call someone you feel comfortable with and express yourself freely.
It doesn’t have to be about your problems. Talk about anything that interests you and have a laugh while you’re doing it.
Human beings are natural social creatures and communicating with others will make you realize that you’re not alone. None of us are.
8) Give yourself something to look forward to
Plan something special to do in one or two weeks. It could be a movie you want to see or a new restaurant you want to try.
Even if it’s by yourself, going somewhere new and having an event to look forward to will ignite your passion for your life and make you realize that the best is yet to come.
9) Listen to your favorite music
There’s a reason music makes us feel so good.
Research has found that music enables our brains to release the feel-good chemical dopamine.
So sit back, crank out your favorite tunes and let the music do its job.
10) Try meditation
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but research has found that it can beneficial for some people.
It’s no secret that overthinking is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness. And if you’e feeling lonely, overthinking can be a common cause, or result.
But meditation enables you to calm your mind and focus on what’s important. This can be a great way to clear your mind and start taking action on what’s important.
11) Get a massage
If you’re feeling lonely, then there’s no doubt that it can help to get in touch with others.
And what better to do this than with a massage?!
Massages enable you to relax and release the tension in your muscles as well as experiencing the warming touch of a human.
In fact, research has found that massages decrease the stress chemical cortisol and increase the feel-good chemicals of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which are crucial for mental health.
12) Do something that’s out of your comfort zone
I know that getting out of your comfort zone is tough, but it’s crucial if you want to expand and grow.
Challenge yourself to do something that makes you a little uncomfortable and that you usually wouldn’t do.
It doesn’t have to be drastic. Simply doing small things every day that are a little different will invigorate your life and help you get over your feelings of loneliness.
These 12 things might not work for everyone, but try to give at least a few of them a try. If you keep at it, you’ll eventually rediscover your zest for life and gain clarity about where you want to go.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook on The Art of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Living in the Moment.
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