It is not unusual for people to have emotionally down moments in their lives. I certainly have. Sometimes they happen when I allow myself to get too caught up in the state of affairs in our society and world. Other times, it’s when I reminisce about a close friend who has since made their transition. Usually, as time goes by, those down moments pass and I get on with my life. However, there are times those moments persist, and affirmative actions are needed to get out of those down experiences.
A close friend called me and shared he was in an emotional funk. He had been going through a number of personal and physical challenges, as well as grieving the loss of his brother. He wanted advice on how to get out of his emotional tailspin. After listening to him, being there for him and sharing with him, he seemed to take a turn for the better. Later, I began to reflect on some of the ideas we talked about. I asked myself, “What are some of the things we can do when we have those emotional down moments, and there seems to be no way out?” Over the years I’ve discovered there are common traits and actions taken by those who rise above their challenges and move forward.
Here are four behaviors I have learned from those who have found a way to rise out of those emotional down moments:
1. They realize the way they look at a particular situation determines what it is for them. In the creation story, found in the book of Genesis, we’re reminded that we have the ability to name things. The story reminds us that we have dominion over the thoughts moving through our awareness and the perceptions we have about life. These perceptions determine what our mental states will be. We are “meaning makers”. As a result, we can make meaning out of any situation and induce a more favorable state of mind. That state of mind ultimately becomes our experience. This is what prayer can do for us. As Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.”
2. They activate their body. There is an inherent connection between our body and our mind. Our mind reflects what our body is doing; how it’s breathing, its posture, how it’s moving and even the environment that it’s in. One person let me know that just changing their posture, breathing deeply and going out for a walk on the beach helped change their emotional state for the better.
3. They stop wallowing in their complaints and see them differently. Rather than simply indulging in their complaints, those who rise above emotional down moments see their complaints as seeds for transformation. Our main complaints tell us what we believe. If we boil the complaint down to help us identify a disempowering belief, we can transform that belief into a positive affirmation. Rather than saying “Change this situation or these people”, they say “God, open my eyes so that I may see the benefit or lesson in this experience.” As a result, insights occur so they see themselves, the situation and others from a “God’s-eye view.”
4. They find someone to help. There was once a prominent psychiatrist who was asked, “If you found yourself in emotional despair, what would you do?” One would have thought that, because of the field that he was in, he’d go see a fellow psychiatrist or therapist. But the doctor’s response was nothing of the sort. He simply said he would find someone who was worse off than he was and do what he could to help that person. He was aware that this would do wonders to help him rise above his challenges.
It’s safe to say, we all will have down moments from time to time. But we can take solace in the statement, “This too shall pass.” Along the way, we can try one or more of the above strategies to help in their passing.
Peace and blessings,