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Maintaining Mental Health When Things Seem Hopeless

By Chris Brown

We all face tough periods in life. Sometimes they can drag us to the low level where righting the ship seems impossible. Keeping your mental health in check during these times is especially important as it stops the negative outcomes from compounding and can halt the downward thought spiral before it gets too deep. There are five tips for maintaining your mental health when you are feeling the most hopeless.

Realize Your Mind May Be Playing Tricks on You

Cognitive distortion is a common brain phenomenon where the reality of the situation is altered to be more dramatic, exaggerated, or extreme, especially in response to trauma or high stress. This altered state can worsen following a traumatic event and negatively impact how any subsequent event is viewed. While cognitive distortion may not be the case in your scenario, it is important to realize that the brain is capable of making us view a twisted version of real-life events.

Consider the Opposite Perspective

Much of life, we tend to forget, is formed by our own a subjective perspective. The practice of seeing the opposing viewpoint of your situation may help you find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. At the very least, this practice gives you a break from obsessively rehashing the same negative thoughts. Take a minute to think through the hopeless situation from the view that everything will work out better than expected. However unlikely that outcome, it is important to sit in that reality for a few minutes and let your mind open to the possibility that you aren't as doomed as you may think you are.

Evaluate if Your Hopelessness May Be an Avoidance Tool

Take an honest look into your hopelessness to see if it is simply a coping mechanism for dealing with a larger problem. Oftentimes, feeling hopeless in hard situations, like a divorce or large debt, is actually psychologically easier than facing the reality of the situation (and the emotions-loss, worthlessness-that come with it). Difficult situations are often disguised as hopeless because the momentous tasks ahead seem overwhelmingly impossible to conquer. However, if you break down the job into smaller chunks, you may realize that the problem is not only solvable, it is fairly straightforward (minus the emotional baggage or time till completion).

Take Control By Taking Action, Any Action

There is a saying that goes, "small deeds done are better than great deeds planned." Feeling hopeless can lock you in inaction. Doing any action, such as cleaning your room or searching on a job board, starts a momentum that can bring you out of the funk. Even if you are still feeling hopeless at the end, you have still completed something (a clean room or potential job list) and are marginally better off because of it.

Get Professional Help if Needed

There is no shame in seeking a professional if you feel too overwhelmed. Speaking to a therapist is a strong decision and often the most responsible move when overcome with emotion. Professional therapists are trained to identify the unhealthy thought patterns contributing to your lowly situation and provide tips to improve your mental state.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Nampa, Idaho.

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