Feeling Flat and the Spiritual Life
When life seems to be heading nowhere and you are doing all that you can to stay afloat, what is a well-intentioned, heart-based person to do? Christianity and many of the major world’s religions would say to pray. And of course, people do pray and sometimes things get better. But what should you do while you’re waiting it out and feeling not so worthwhile? How is it possible for things to feel better when there seems to be no hope in sight?
I have no one-size-fits-all answers but having made it through many hard times, I do have some awareness of how to grab a lifeline when you feel like you’re sinking. A few tips:
1. Try to get a handle on your thoughts. There is a wonderful book by David Burns, M.D. called Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy that I found very helpful. It speaks to the power of documenting your thoughts, analyzing them to find the flaws, and changing them to something more realistic. Positive affirmations can also be very healing.
2. Find a community of support. It is good to be surrounded by people who are kind, people who welcome you, and by words of hope, comfort, and inspiration.
3. Find someone to help, even in the smallest way. Research shows that getting outside of the self can produce feelings of pride and self worth. When you feel valuable, it’s more difficult to feel hopeless.
4. Remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass.’
5. Develop an anti-sadness kit. (Instructions to follow.)
Recognize that you are a person of worth and value. You have gifts to give in this life.