“And above all, whatever you do, feel good!”
Does this sentence sound familiar? I’m more than certain it does, living as we are in an age where we are being exhorted like never before to “feel positive”, “count our blessings” and “raise our vibration”. Post the runaway success of the new-age metaphysical book The Secret and the proliferation of the “law of attraction” in the media, feeling good is seen as a surefire ticket to living the life of our dreams.
On the face of it, there’s nothing to fault with this philosophy. In fact, it sounds more than ideal. What could be the possible downside to striving to feel good and positive at all times?
Constantly Trying To “Feel Good” Can Be Exhausting
Well, for starters, it’s exhausting! Ever tried to feel cheerful when your grief is sitting like a stone on your chest? Ever tried working when fear has taken a room in the pit of your stomach? Your attempts to shore up your spirits will make you feel like you’re fighting a physical battle with yourself, a battle you have no chance in hell of winning. There’s only one logical casualty in the battle: you.
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So how then can you have a productive day at work when you’re feeling like shit? For starters, look your grief in the face. Accept it. This is a critical step because whatever you resist will persist. It is only when you face your demons that you can hope to vanquish them.
Next, get professional help. Depression is as real a health issue as any physical ailment, and you need to get it treated to feel better. If your office offers in-house counselling, take recourse to that. Otherwise, find a private therapist.
Along with therapy, you’ll also need the support of your boss and colleagues. Take them into your confidence. We have come a long way since the days depression was labelled a taboo. There is a growing awareness today about mental health issues and you’re more than likely to find support among your work mates.
Most importantly, look after yourself. Take any medication your doctor may have prescribed for your depression regularly, even if you’re feeling better. You can very quickly slide back if you abruptly stop your medication.
Diet is equally important towards maintaining your mental and emotional equilibrium. Eat well-balanced, healthy meals comprising a generous mix of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Also, be sure to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine, even if it’s something as simple as a fifteen-minute walk.
Despite following all these pointers, you will still have days when it will be difficult to function optimally. On such days, break down your tasks into smaller, achievable targets and set up a schedule towards completing them.
Doing so will make them seem less overwhelming and you can focus on completing one small objective at a time.
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To summarise, remember that everyone goes through low phases in life and it is important to face our issues head-on instead of suppressing them and putting up a falsely brave front.
Like Robert Frost has so wisely said, “the only way out is through”. Today, we are lucky enough to have a number of mental health care facilities and support systems at our disposal.
We should make optimal use of them if we are to beat those demons that sometimes take up residence in our heads and continue to lead productive work lives.