As someone who is familiar with depression – I can tell you that it can be a huge challenge to crawl out of a dark spiral space when you mentally find yourself buried in anxiety. Somedays you may not want to get up. Your motivation may be lacking. You may want to isolate and shut the world out. And in this time of uncertainty, a fear of the unknown can become paramount.
The good news about being at a rock bottom is there is only direction to go: onward and upward.
It took me 30 years to figure out what to do when hard times hit and it took one of my good friends, Coach Darleen Santore (@coachdar) one day to sum up what to do when you feel hopeless:
It’s the five G’s:
- God (…or faith in something bigger than yourself)– if you’re like me, I have an overactive mind and it can turn instantly to the negative. I find that I often make situations or drama bigger in my head. I sometimes believe that the world is conspiring against me or that people’s intentions aren’t pure instead of believing that there is something bigger out there that is working in my favor. Wherever you are on the religious spectrum, having faith in something bigger brings a sense of calm and serenity. your problems are not that special. Meaning someone, somewhere is going through exactly what you are and they are thriving. They are finding a way to persevere and come out the other end stronger. I believe blind faith shows us that things are going to be alright.
- Goals– always have goals. I love to hike, and while I set out to reach the top, I have to remember there is more than one way to reach the summit. If there is a rattlesnake on the trail or some loose rocks or the path is blocked, there is still away to get to the top and do it safely. Your end goals are still the same even when you’re going through a tough time you just need to keep moving toward the summit. One step at a time. One day at a time. The only people who don’t reach the top or accomplish their goals are the ones that turn around.
- Grit– As Coach Dar says, grit is the person who gets knocked down, but keeps getting back up. Their resilience is unsurpassed. They will rise. They will prove anyone wrong who says they can’t do something. Having grit means reaching deep down inside yourself to find the fire and keep going. Don’t give up. Develop grit. Get back on the horse. Keep going. Push yourself.
- Gratitude– it’s easy to say all the things that are wrong in our lives. It’s easy to point out all of our flaws. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves. But what helps us get in a better mental state is having a shift in perspective and that usually happens when we practice gratitude. Are you healthy? Do you have a job? Do you have a supportive family? Do you have sports and organizations that you are a part of? Do you have an education? Do you have a roof over your head? What about a car? What about friends? If we’ve learned anything from quarantining and staying at home it is that our world can change in an instant. Simple things we took for granted are gone like school, movie-theater outings, concerts, shopping without a mask and traveling. Practice gratitude. What are you grateful for? I’m not sure who said this but “gratitude makes what we have enough!”
- Generosity– service is the currency for happiness. If you have a loss or you are heartbroken, generosity is the only medicine. There is a reason making someone’s day feels so good. There is a reason changing someone’s life feels so good. Kelly Clarkson says it best in her new song, I Dare You, “We’re all full of hope, tryna stay afloat, tryna save one another. People let you drown because they don’t know how to stay above water. When they’re too broken to know what they put you threw. Do the only thing that you’d want done to you. I dare you to love.” Pour yourself into love. Pour yourself into something you love. Pour yourself into someone you love. Do something kind. Pay it forward. Give back. It’s a natural energy booster.
I practice each one of these five G’s daily and I also have a show on Instagram called Onward and Upward (@bryanwesttv) with more daily tips on bringing light to dark places! You can also follow @thecoachdar for daily inspirational messages.