Dealing with Despair

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Mental Health

Dealing With Feelings of Despair

Despair often results from a faulty, emotional definition, to an environmental experience. In English that means that when something goes wrong - really wrong, you tell yourself that the situation is hopeless, that you screwed up beyond repair or that no one will ever forgive you. The fastest way out of despair is to redefine the situation. Instead of allowing your feelings to dictate your thoughts, make your reality based thoughts shape your feelings. You might look at the situation and say to yourself "Yea, this is bad but it's not the end of the world."

No matter how bad you feel, the feelings won't last forever! All feelings have a way of fading with time. No matter how angry your friends are, they won't be mad forever. No matter how disappointed your parents are in you, they eventually will forgive you, and they will always love you. (If not then it is they who have a problem.) Think back to another time when you felt like the world would end and realize that it didn't!

If you are feeling bad now, there are a few things that you can do to alleviate your pain. Some of these suggestions are only quick fixes - a temporary lift to help you feel good enough to do some of the other things suggested. It is important though, that you follow several of the following suggestions if you are to "get out" of your feelings of despair. Otherwise they will creep back again when you're not looking. More information for those feeling depressed.


It sounds silly, but studies have shown that even a fake smile produces feel good chemicals in your brain. Go find a mirror and force yourself to smile for at least ten minutes. If you're not laughing by then, go outside and smile at strangers. Sound Strange? (you're probably smiling at the thought of it, right now!) It may be strange, but it works, I guarantee it!


A good swift walk around the block, or 15 minutes of aerobics will stimulate another set of your brain's "feel good" chemicals. If you get into the habit of doing a little daily exercise, you will reduce your recurring feelings of despair by a drastic degree.

Keep a journal

In your journal write about whatever is bothering you. Write your feelings in all their blackness. Then before you're through, for each entry, end the list with at least one thing you like about yourself. Then write one thing you would like to do to help someone else, (open a door for an older person at the mall etc.)

Do a good deed

This is another of those weird suggestions that sounds like garbage. The fact is that people who do good deeds for others have less depression, less physical health problems and are less likely to need psychiatric help. It works! Your daily deed doesn't need to be big and no one even has to know your doing it. The help comes in the fact that you know it.

Talk to someone

Find someone you can trust. I don't mean your best friend who has, previously "leaked" something you have told them in confidence. I mean someone you know will not tell anyone and who will not judge you, or try to tell you how to feel. Someone who will just let you get it out of your system. If you're so inclined, cry while you talk. Even more studies (yes I read a lot of studies) have shown that "depression chemicals" produced by your brain come out in your tears. This is a wonderful way to relieve yourself of those nasty little creatures.

Have positive thoughts

If you train yourself to think positively about your future, yourself and your life, you will keep most of your dark feelings from overtaking you. Start each day with a positive thought. Think of something, anything that makes you feel good inside. Then think of a positive affirmation. Something about yourself that you really like. Instead of seeing your life as "messed up," try to think of things about your life that are good. Instead of criticizing others, try to see the good in them. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.

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