In life, there are always going to be crises, stressful events, problems, frustrations and disappointments. And at the moment you're feeling depressed or anxious, the last thing you want to hear is that it's not as bad as it seems. However, unless you take a step back and look at the situation from a different perspective, nothing is going to get better.
Any conversation you have or proactive action you take will help change the situation. By virtue of the fact that you're changing something, you make the initial bad situation pass and transform it into something else. If we hyperbolize the situation in our minds, it only gets more terrifying and your anxiety builds.
One helpful thing I have found is to think back to the last time you felt like Chicken Little and the sky was falling. You handled it, right? Well, if you already know that you have handled it before, then you know you can do it again. Don't complain, whine or beg to be rescued. Use the coping skills that have already worked for you in the past.
Here are a few more techniques to help you develop a more positive attitude during a bad time:
- Only listen to your internal dialogue if it's looking for a way out. For example, instead of saying, "I'll never get this finished by the end of the day," say, "I'll probably get most of this finished by the end of the day, but if I don't, too bad. I did the best I could."
- Learn to communicate your needs effectively. Holding things in is bad. If you're feeling frustrated, hurt or angry, start by saying, "I really need," instead of, "You never...".
- Take a hot bath.
- Listen to soothing music or natural, repetitive sounds (e.g. waves, wind or white noise on a sound machine).
- Use soothing lights or fragrances.
- Don't drink tea or coffee with a lot of caffeine.
- Call a friend. It's really great to talk to somebody who can help you broaden the picture. It makes your fear a concrete element outside of yourself that you can look at better.
- Take the dog for a walk.
- Go to an art gallery or museum.
- Help someone. Do something for a neighbor, volunteer at the hospital, etc.
- Go to church.
- Be affectionate.
- Laugh at yourself.
- Participate in new activities for both your body and mind.
- Don't watch television news. The mainstream media focuses on information that leads you to be negative and fearful. It's all about getting you to stop and gawk at a train wreck.