“How can life be so horrid to me?“
“Why can’t I just have some peace?“
“Nothing is going right…. everything is a mess!“
“Will I ever be happy?“
It’s astonishing how common such phrases have become these days. What’s appalling is how often they are meant. Frustration and mild depression have become common-place amongst today’s youth. Let’s not underestimate the pressures of being young blood in today’s world. Peer pressure, pressure to excel, find a high salaried job, the frustration of not finding ‘the one’, not being cool enough, unable to score well in exams- despite preparing for weeks before. These are definitely challenging times.
So gravely challenging in fact that Rita finds it hard to sleep at night. Sahil doesn’t want to live with his family anymore and finds it hard to eat anything.Youngsters are generally tensed about one thing or the other – be it relationships, social positions, jobs, lifestyles etc- there’s always something to worry up the wrinkles.
Take a break really. It doesn’t matter what age you are, being so worked up in life that normal bodily functions like sleep and hunger are affected- is simply not done! If you find yourself being unhappy everyday, then it’s time for some major lifestyle and attitude change.
Everyone. Really. Everyone goes through crap in life and it just can’t be weighed or compared. But people get affected by whatever they are dealing with differently. So, if you feel stressed about not being a topper, someone else maybe stressed about not being able to pass. There are people who went through hell because they were not placed in college or were having a very hard time at work.
Everyone has problems. The reason that the majority aren’t sitting depressed at home is because they deal with it somehow. Their attitude carries them forward and helps them cope.
The following are some tried and tested methods of getting out of a rut:
1. Work, work, work!
Being involved in any sort of work is a brilliant remedy to get out of the lows. Not only are you productive, you feel happy for having accomplished something. It distracts your mind from whatever is bothering you. Just make sure not to stop mid-way. No matter how hard it maybe to start something, you just decide and do it.
There is something therapeutic about cleaning. It is an external healing process of sorts. Take any corner of your room or house and start de-cluttering. Throw away things that you really won’t use. Things that you ‘may use’ also need to go in the bin. Focus on what is needed. Give away old things you no longer need. Let go of the clutter. It will somehow help you feel better and make you happy.
3. Talk to people.
Call up, text or meet a friend or many friends. Just talk to people randomly. Find out how they are doing in life. Forget about yourself and mingle. Get in touch with some family members. Just talk. Being social will make you feel less isolated. Just don’t talk about your problems. You are merely socialising and trying to have a good time.
4. Share your feelings and thoughts.
Take time out to communicate for yourself. Some people go into a shell due to the all the ‘problems’. It’s just not done. Suppressing things inside will only make it grow. Think of your thoughts as water in a tub. If you don’t clear the water every few days, it stagnates and starts breeding insects and dirt. So clear that water or get rid of it. Share about what is bothering you, talk it out. Let it out.
5. Get creative.
Expressing yourself creatively is another marvellous way to heal. Be it dancing, singing, listening to music, reading a great novel, watching a good movie, painting, cooking, decorating, playing an instrument, writing a poem; create. Get artistic and make something. It will build your confidence that you can do something well and simply have a nice time by yourself. It’s important to be productive.
6. Do something different.
Something you’ve never done before or not done in a long time. Call out some friends and meet. Dress up- feel confident about yourself. Try a new class or a new hobby. If you have have emotional baggage, open the bag and sort through it.
7. Find the change.
Sometimes, feeling low becomes a habit. Everything around seems to go against you because you’re used to seeing things that way. Change. If everything is going wrong for you; then the common denominator is you. What can you change about yourself? Your confidence, looks, attitude, way of expressing/talking. Maybe your resume or field of study or job? Something needs to change, if you want to get better and progress. Only you can help yourself.
8. Stop being so sorry for yourself.
I think self-pity is one of the worst forms of ego manifestation. It just makes you weaker and selfish, callous and un-caring towards others. People who are constantly in a state of self-pity push others away. It’s repulsive to others and self-destructive to you. Think beyond yourself. No one has a perfect life. No one always has it good. If the going gets bad, you deal with it rather than complain all the time.
9. Look at the positives.
Be grateful for what you have. Stop concentrating on what you don’t have or can’t have. Focus on what you have and what you want. Change your thought process to acceptance and reality. Keep things simple and count your blessings. There is always someone better and someone worse-off than you. At least you have someone to talk to. At least you have the resources to make a change. At least you are educated. At least your body functions well. So many things are taken for granted. Start being aware of how good life is despite the transitory challenges.
10. Just start.
It’s easy to feel lethargic and demotivated. Only you can convince yourself to do something/anything. If you want some changes in your life, then you make it happen. No one else can. No one else will. Why should they anyway?
11. Get real.
Sometimes the mind makes an issue appear bigger and twisted in ways it is not. So, really think and consider your situation and the people involved in it. Things aren’t usually as bad as we’d like to believe. Be realistic or get a reality check from someone you can trust to be honest. It maybe hard to digest, but sometimes a wake-up call is necessary to bring life back on the track of happy and happening.
12. Don’t give up on yourself.
You aren’t all that bad really. And you can deal with this. Just calm down a bit and take charge. You can do it, even if its hard initially- keep trying till you have the life you want. And trust people. Believe in goodness and happiness. Life will get better. What goes up, must come down. Vice-versa too.
Letting the emotional cat out of the bag has always been an over-rated and over-hyped task according to me. [The one that’s not intended as a surprise or secret. I just liked the metaphor, don’t go all grammar nazi now.] Anyway, to do or not to do? Seriously?! How long can the cat stay in? Won’t it be struggling to simply be and longing for freedom? Isn’t it difficult for the bag-holder to handle such a live and constant presence contained into something so restrictive and against it’s nature? I think either the cat dies or it struggles really hard and hurts the bag-holder and maybe itself, in a fit of rage. Or the bag-holder gets tired and bogged down by all the ‘baggage’ and becomes irritable and eventually ends up doing something against his nature. Just stating few of the many possibilities. And all because it’s seen fit to suppress the cat in the bag!
How many times have you felt something strongly, but bottled it up, because you wanted to be polite, or were too emotional [hurt/angry etc.], couldn’t be bothered to let it out, weren’t allowed to let it out or were too shocked to react instantly? Or in the saddest, but most common case, simply had no one to let it all out to.
Having amazing friends or family does not necessarily mean that you can feel free to talk your mind or express your emotions all the time. Heck, at times they maybe a reason for your bad mood. At times, an outlet becomes the only thing necessary to feel better about a situation. People who are closest to us or people we hardly know, are equally capable of triggering some sort of a reaction in us, and at times these incidents leave an impact that can’t be easily shaken away. The cat in the bag struggles.
Sometimes, our emotional reactions may not be rational according to convention. But we still own them, we are the ones who live with the thoughts generated and our emotional responses that arise as a consequence. To see why you feel the way you feel, trace it to the thoughts that trigger those feelings. Take a lil moment and think it out.
Would you suppress happiness? Would you be hiding joy or laughter or any other positive feeling? Those are feelings we covet, that we want more of, right? Then, why would anyone want to suppress a negative emotion/feeling and let it build? You need to empty out the negative inside you, to make way for more positive stuff to get in. At times, it becomes necessary to let the cat out of the bag to fill it with goodies et.al.
Ishan was another of those teenagers who had a mother trying to get to terms with his changing choices and priorities and the pressure of board exams. He had a lot to chew on, what with his gf, keeping in touch with the latest fads in fashion, music, technology, news etc. And then there was family, who still kept treating him like a kid. A normal life. But, his mother wouldn’t listen to him. She would hear him alright. But she didn’t really listen to his opinions and views on different things. She would just nod and continue or at times simply ignore and blame it on her busy, distracted life. Ishan obviously didn’t like it. He was expected to listen all the time, so why couldn’t she listen to him too at times? Fine, he decided not to listen much anymore either. He began to feel that his opinions didn’t matter. That anything he said was never given value. Probably he wasn’t valued much? Stretching it too far? This is a true story, my dear. Ishan continued to pretend on the outside that it didn’t bother him much. However, his hurt was turning into rage on the inside. He began to defy his mother. Eventually, he began to display his anger assertively. He began to speak loudly, because he wanted her to listen. It didn’t really make it alright. But, it gave him a reverse outlet, something that wasn’t really helping him. All that suppression turned out to be disastrous. The alternative? Communication and expression of discontent and hurt.
There are so many times where direct communication is not immediately possible. At such times, finding an alternative and healthy outlet is very important. Talking it out to another person, not only makes it seem as a ‘not-so-big-a-deal’, but it also can also give a different perspective. Who knows you may find a solution or even get rid of the thing that was bothering you. Just try not to bottle it up. Finding a distraction, will only provide temporary relief and will do nothing much really.
Trust people enough to communicate and make an effort for your own self. Talk it out and don’t overthink things. At times, bottling stuff, gives the mind a chance to make a mountain of a molehill, linking some past event to whatever happened in the present. It’s all simply unnecessary drama. If you really care enough, you will make an effort; for yourself or the person involved or maybe both. Communication can be open minded and polite. You can ask the person to listen to you and then take turn to listen to them. If that’s too difficult, write to each other.
Nothing is a big deal, yes. But, nothing’s a waste or unimportant either. If it bothers you, it is important! So, tackle it. When we can spend time on so many different things and multi-task like wicked, why not spend a lil time on emotional well-being too. Nothing great really, it’ll just make you feel better or even good. Give it a thought. Handle your bag with care.