Feeling down? Here’s how to feel better – fast!

If you are feeling down as a result of one or more challenges in your life, then this article may help you feel a whole lot more settled and grounded.

A while back, I had a phonecall from a man who was feeling down and wanted my support to help him feel better. I’ll call him ‘Jeff’. He knew about me and my coaching/counselling work as he received my subscription newsletter every month.

As soon as Jeff came on the phone he told me how he was feeling, and I scribbled down what he said, “I feel like jumping off a cliff. I feel really down. I’m feeling hopeless about everything. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I have been quite depressed for the last 3-4 months. I have not been wanting to get out of bed til noon or 1pm. I don’t see the point of my life. My business is quiet, and I don’t think it’s what I really want to do. And I’ve not had a date in 2 years. When I look at your life, Chris, it seems you have everything I haven’t got: a business you love, a wife you love and who loves you, and 2 lovely children.”

My response to Jeff

We’ve been sold an illusion by all the adverts on TV, such as the ones for cereals which show mum, dad, and 2 beautiful children laughing and having a delightful time round the breakfast table, with the sun streaming in through the open windows, everyone so relaxed and without a care in the world. Crikey, I’m starting to buy into that myself as I’m typing. I’d better snap out of that!

Jeff was seeing far more upsides than downsides to being married with children. When we see more upsides to a situation than downsides we get infatuated. So, equally, if we see someone who has more money than us, we think that life must be better for them so we infatuate again.

When we see more downsides than upsides to an event or situation we feel resentment. So if our partner is away from the house and family than we would like, seeing more downsides to this than upsides, we resent our partner.

What if there was a point of view that every situation has a balance of upsides and downsides if we look deeply enough?

When we do this we get to be appreciative for what we have rather than resentful or infatuated. And when we’re appreciative for what we have we get more to be grateful for.

Back to Jeff. He was infatuated with the idea of a happy family, and feeling he was missing out. Can you see that?

So I told Jeff about all the downsides of being married and having children, and I really laid it on thick:

  • I have to think of my wife’s needs otherwise she doesn’t feel taken care of
  • she knocks me down a peg or 2 if I’m being too cocky
  • I don’t get to play some of my favourite music at times because the rest of the family groan (Iron and Wine and Sufjan Stevens)
  • At the time, my eldest son, Toby would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with growing pains so I had to rouse myself from a deep sleep, massage his legs, and fill a hot water bottle in a cold kitchen to ease the pain
  • My second son, Felix, would occasionally refuse to eat all his tea, then wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry
  • The boys often fight over the same toy despite having 3,756 other great things in the toy room.

… and on and on. By the time I’d told Jeff all this and more we were both laughing and I’d burst his bubble. I carried on with the challenges of running my business, and laid that on thick too. It was good fun!


Is the grass greener?

We often think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It really isn’t!

Do you think you’ll be happier when you have more money, more friends, more sex, better health? If you have any thought that you will be, then you’re living in the future rather than the present. And all the magic happens when we live in the present.

Let’s look at money. I remember one day a while back when I realised that I was earning 40 times what I earned when I got my first job after graduating. Did I feel any happier now I was earning 40 times more? No. I felt about the same. What about you? What did you used to earn when you first started earning money? How much do you earn now? Proportionally, how much more is that? 2x, 5x, 10x, 20x? Do you feel much happier? Really? 20 times as happy?

A different question

Now, here’s a different question: do I feel more inspired about my life now than I did when I first graduated? More in love with life?

Yes to both.

I’m more inspired about my life, I’m clearer where I’m heading, and I’m more in love with my life as it is now than I was all those years ago. I’m also more appreciative of what I have in my life now than I was when I was younger. But this appreciation is not linked to my higher earnings, but from what I have learned about life as I’ve grown older and from what I have learned from some of the greatest thinkers and philosophers.

You see, I’m really appreciative that my wife challenges me: it keeps me humble and in balance; I love thinking about her needs; I adore massaging Toby’s legs no matter how groggy I may feel or how many times I’m up in the night with him (we’ve had some of the loveliest most intimate and connected moments at such times); I love talking with the boys to help them negotiate who plays with what toy. This is my life. And I’m very grateful for it.

So, over the course of the rest of the phone call, I helped Jeff to see the upsides of being single, and being where he was business wise, and we ended the call.

I rang him a few days later to find out how he was doing, and he told me that recently…

  • he had been on his first date in 2 years,
  • more business was appearing ‘from nowhere’, and…
  • he was more satisfied with his life and where he was heading.

I asked him what he had learned, and he replied,

“The ultimate insight is to realise that things are okay as they are. There are upsides and downsides to everything, and if I can keep remembering that then everything will be okay.”

So if you’re feeling a little or lot resentful about any issue in your life, here’s a simple way to feel much more grounded: get out a pen and some paper, write your issue at the top of the page, and list out all the upsides to this situation: how is it serving…

  • your health?
  • your career?
  • your family life?
  • your relationship?
  • your personal growth?
  • your social life?
  • your financial situation?

Using an example I mentioned earlier in this article, if your partner is away a lot, and you’re resentful about this, list what the upsides to you are: you may eat simpler meals so you’re eating more healthily; you may be chatting with your friends more and having a good laugh; you may have more time to read or watch your favourite TV programmes; and so on. See if you can list at least 10 upsides. 20 is even better.

Then notice how you feel. Really stop to notice.

Do you now feel less ‘charged up’ about your partner being away?

Can you see that them being away serves you?

Can you get a sense that being away is an act of love by your partner to get you to be more independent and doing what you love to do?

How loving do you feel towards your partner now?

Can you allow that love to deepen?

Do you feel more appreciative now of the life you have?

If you still feel upset or charged up about a particular situation, give me a call and I’ll help you get more grounded. I have a number of ways to get you back to feeling okay about yourself and your life so you feel empowered and energised.

Chris Payne is a trained facilitator who can help you overcome any challenges you or your family may be having, any issues of self-worth, etc and help you get re-inspired about your life. You can reach him by phone or email here [link to contacts page].

What are your comments on this article?

Can you see the upsides to your current situation? How does that shift your relationship to your current challenge(s) in life? Let me know: I’d love to hear from you. (I’ll also send you an exclusive ebook and mp3 that’s not on this site or available in any other way apart from submitting a message.)

Cow cartoon (c) Ché Hargreaves, commissioned by Chris Payne. Please do not use it without express permission.

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