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A Helping Hand: Handling Life’s Highs and Lows

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I'm not really depressed, but sometimes I feel bad about myself and have no idea why. I felt down last week, but feel better this week. How can I maintain feeling good about myself as I do now?

Everyone has highs and lows relative to who they are. When the highs get too high, the lows get too low, or either gets too frequent, it's time to get a mental health checkup.

Use the times when you're feeling good to take care of the part of you that might feel low later. Make a list of your good qualities and don't compare yourself to others when doing this. This is for you and it only matters where you're coming from, not where others (or where you think others) are coming from.

Remind yourself that this is your life. Own it all – from the person you are to the things around you. Even that bird or tree outside your window is yours because its part of your life and your experience. We don't own things like sidewalks and bus stops, but anything in our experience is our experience — and this is what we own. It's now, it's today, and it belongs to us.

Send the message to your body that you care about it and it will in turn take care of you. Most decidedly, it will remind your heart and soul that you're cared for and worth caring about. Eat things that are good for you, do things that are good for you, seek out things of interest to you, avoid bad news (TV and papers), and keep your distance from people who are bad news. Maintain the healthy relationships you have and extend yourself to other healthy people.

Expect there to be times when you don't feel your best. Instead of thinking even less of yourself for not feeling good, remind yourself that this too shall pass, that you're going to feel good again just as you always have. Distract yourself with your interests. Listen to music, read books, rent or go see a movie, take a wake, take pictures, draw, do a crossword puzzles, clean out your closet or rearrange a room.

It's easy to take care of ourselves when we feel good, but it can be difficult to take care of ourselves when we don't feel good. Let yourself know you're just as worthy of being taken care of when you don't feel good — and you may well find yourself feeling good more often.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.