What should I do with my life?
I feel nothing. No one understands me. Life is too hard.
Here's what you do...
I work with a lot of clients who feel unmotivated, even depressed. When they see other people laughing and joking, they feel an insurmountable distance keeping them from the same happiness. I like working with these types of clients because I have gone through the same types of low periods in my life as well.
I’ve gone through breakups where it felt like I’d never be in a relationship again. I’ve made mistakes in my professional career which set me back more than a decade. Close friends have said and done painfully embarrassing things to me. People have given up on me. And more importantly, when the pain was too great, I gave up on myself.
I mean, who wants to put up with all the nonsense of life. People can be mean. Luck seems to never come my way. And to make things worse, there were plenty of problems that were mostly, mainly or even completely my fault.
Once the grieving and the hurting had numbed me to the point where I couldn’t even feel parts of my body, I started to think about and even tried suicide…more than once.
If any of this sounds familiar, and especially if that last part about suicide is something that you’ve considered, even if it was just a thought that you’ve had as a joke, listen carefully: LIFE DOESN"T HAVE TO BE THIS HARD!
What’s helped me?
Well, for starters, no matter how crummy people were to me, no matter how many stupid things I had done, the sun was still coming up in the morning and going down at night. As miserable as I felt, life went on.
Plus, as I was watching one of those time-lapse videos of a blade of grass growing through soft dirt, I started to think of my place in the universe. How many generations of parents had to meet, fall in love and have children in order for me to exist? The fact that I’m alive is more unlikely than the chance of me winning the lottery.
But realizing that I’m not powerful enough to destroy the world just made me feel smaller. And what did I care that it was a miracle to be alive, life still sucked.
The problem was that for every uplifting thought I could come up with, there were a handful of negative, painful, viciously cruel thoughts yelling at me in my head. They would suck all the energy out of my body to the point where getting out of bed was even difficult.
I was stuck in this rut, digging down deeper and deeper for close to a decade. It was terrible. My friends started to distance themselves from me. I fell out of contact with my family. I couldn’t hold a job. I was down to my last 100 dollars. The future was bleak.
But close to a decade later, I’m still here. I’m thriving. And I’m thankful that I get the chance to work with people going through the same things because I know how hard life seems when you’re feeling low like that.
So what can you do to start turning things around:
1. Choose a place to sit or lie down and get yourself comfortable.
2. Place your hands on your belly just above your belly-button.
3. Continue breathing normally and concentrate on the sound of air entering and exiting your nose.
4. Notice where your tongue is in your mouth. Is it up near the roof of your mouth? When the tongue raises up, it signals the brain to start working because we’re going to have to speak. For us though, thinking just means negativity and defeatism. So, let your tongue gently settle down in your mouth with the tip gently brushing against the back of your lower teeth. Are you having more or less thoughts now?
5. With the next breaths, take a short pause between the in-breath and the out-breath. Let your mind scan your body for any discomfort you might be feeling. If you have to adjust your posture, go ahead and do it. Do this a few more times.
6. At this point, focus your attention on your hands as they move with your belly. Relax and enjoy the motion of your hands rising and falling with each breath. If we’re only breathing into the chest, the brain starts to go on crisis mode and this speeds up our thoughts. There’s no need to start sucking in air. There’s no need to hyperventilate. Just close your eyes and put your thoughts into your hands as they gently float up and down like a row-boat on a calm lake.
Compare how you’re feeling now to how you felt before you started? If you like the change, that’s great. Breathing is free to all of us.
If you want to try some other exercises, reach out and say hello.