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Dealing with Despair

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

Resilience is required as we all traverse this pandemic. One thing that helps us gain resilience is learning to recover from distress and despair.

Despair often comes in the form of bad news. The shock throws us off our equilibrium. Or multiple stressors build up and overwhelm us. Sadly, once we feel despair we often find ourselves in a downward spiral. Despair leads to more despair. But there are things to do to help us get to a feeling of peace and centeredness:

Do what you can to solve the problem. Get the help of others. Persevere. Don’t give up. But then let it go. Trust your intuition to tell you when it’s time to let go. Often when we let go, things have a way of magically improving! Tell yourself this when you worry.

Do not assume the worst outcome. Usually our worst fears do not come to fruition. Reflect on your life. Often very difficult experiences have silver linings that become apparent later. For example a relationship ends and someone is heartbroken, but then eventually meets a person much better suited to them.

Focus on basic self care: eating, sleeping, hydrating, getting exercise, taking necessary vitamins and medications.

Get things off your chest. Talk with a trusted friend, counselor, clergy member or coach.

Distraction helps a lot. Find something else to think about, do with your time, to keep you in the present moment. Try gardening, reading, singing or watching movies. Comedy is golden. Do not perseverate on your woes.

Actively think thoughts that make you feel better. Any improvement helps move you in a better direction.

Reflect on times in the past when you have overcome obstacles or suffering.

Spend intentional time getting quiet. Meditate. Pray. Sit quietly.

Spend time in nature. It is very healing for the psyche.

Spend time with people who love and comfort you. If you cannot visit with people, call them. It’s okay to tell people you are having a hard day or ask people for support or prayers. Many are happy to oblige.

Say reassuring affirmations out loud, daily, until they become part of your thinking.

Give to others. Even if it is a phone call, a flower or a smile. It is good to help others. When we help others we also help ourselves.

Please reach out to me if you need to talk to someone. I know many people feel despair right now. Please know you are not alone.

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