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A Personal Guide To Dealing With Mental Hardships

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

All tough phases of my life have exposed me to valuable life lessons. This is a personal account of all those lessons that helped me conquer my life's challenges in a heroic way. And, needless to say, I'll be sticking with them for a long time to come.

Representative Picture: A still from A Man Called Otto

To deal with your emotions, you first have to accept them

The human mind is bound to experience a wide range of emotions—it's a common fact, not rocket science. Sometimes, you will feel positive about your thoughts, and other times, you won't.

There have been instances when another person made me uncomfortable, and as a reaction, I've had negative thoughts about them. I used to deny those thoughts because I was afraid of becoming like a villain. However, this mindset only worsened the situation.

People are conditioned to believe that it's wrong to have negative thoughts about someone. So, when we actually have them, we end up frustrated and experiencing an identity crisis.

In simpler terms: You will deny what you feel, leading to confusion, your mind swinging back and forth like a pendulum, and prolonged suffering.

Therefore, it's better to accept what you feel without judging yourself. It helps you to work on your emotions.

“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.”Charlotte Eriksson, Author and Song Writer

Dig to the root of your suffering by asking yourself questions

Take time out for yourself – something people rarely do.

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As a habit, I conduct personal therapy sessions with myself where I play the roles of both the client and the therapist. To figure things out, I ask myself a series of questions. Here are some general ones:

  • What am I feeling exactly in this moment?

  • Who is responsible for these feelings?

  • If there is someone responsible for my suffering, how and why is that person important?

  • What aspects of the situation did I dislike? What aspects are within my control?

  • What steps am I willing to take to focus on what I can control? Am I doing what is necessary?

  • How does this perceived problem affect my life?

Engaging in this process always proves helpful for me. You might want to give it a try as well. It feels like a victory when we take matters into our own hands.

Categorize your desires

When it comes to what you desire, categorize what is within your control and concentrate on that.

I have learned along my journey that I cannot always assume responsibility for 'who does what.' It becomes a dreadful burden if I dwell on things and expect everyone to behave according to my expectations because that is unrealistic.

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So, in any unsettling situation, I bring myself to calm down, reflect on what I want and what I can do, and then shift my focus to those aspects.

“It is not a person or situation that affects your life; it is the meaning you give to that person or situation, which influences your emotions and actions.
Your choice is to change the meaning you gave it or to change your response, in order to create the outcome you want.”
Shannon L. Alder, Author

Believe that this is a passing phase— the sun will rise again

Nothing in this world is permanent, especially our sorrows. Try to envision the bigger picture and maintain faith that good things will come. Keep focusing on what is essential.

Despite how people glorify themselves, we are all in the same boat!

Take a break from the suffering

Whenever I'm overwhelmed, I close my eyes, bring my mind to a neutral state, and teach myself to relax.

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I can’t always transition from unhappiness to happiness instantly, so my initial aim is neutrality. Gradually, I move forward.

At other times, I meditate, go for a walk, or meet a friend—anything that works for me without any repercussions.

Never give others more importance than yourself

When you value others more than yourself, you will want to exceed your capabilities, leading to exhaustion and draining. Even after this, you won’t find satisfaction—instead, you'll carry the guilt of not being enough.

“It is impossible to lead your life for others’ happiness.”Sudha Murty, Wise & Otherwise

I fall into this trap many times, and then I remind myself, "Everyone around me is as human as I am, so why bother? I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I need to take a chill pill."

Stay in the present

Your present needs your attention more than anything else. Look for the beauty around you and embrace it.

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“Be happy at the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” Mother Teresa

Distance yourself from the source of your disturbance

When I was in college, my best friend of two years betrayed me over a new group of friends. She vanished from my life without giving me any explanation. When we’d cross paths, she acted like a stranger. I felt terrible thinking about what exactly happened. I’ve struggled to talk to her, but she did not pay heed.

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So this friend, let’s call her Sneha, was the source of my disturbance for a long time. In an attempt to solve this problem, I later let go of her. I deleted her contact number, stopped expecting anything from her, and moved on. Life never stops at one person.

Look at yourself as an individual, not as someone else’s responsibility

The reason why I’m saying this is because entitlement brings expectations. And the more I expect, the more I lose faith in myself to sort things out, in turn making myself handicapped.

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In time, I have taught myself to take charge of situations that bother me—that’s how I have gotten through even the worst of situations.

Talk about your suffering with people you trust

As an independent content creator and writer, I sometimes doubt if I’ll ever make it big. There are always people around, pushing their fears on me, saying, "This work is good for a hobby, find a real job," "How are you going to make money out of this?" "You are wasting your time sitting at home doing nothing," etc.

There are times when I myself have such doubts, let alone people.

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I have faith in myself, but for those low moments, I talk with people I trust. The significance of this is that, as a third person, they will give you a perspective you’d never think of. They will most likely encourage you to reach your destination.

Your mind will always be under your control—remember that!

As humans, our superpower is the ability to control our minds. Unfortunately, we fail to recognize this and fall prey to stress, exhaustion, drama, negativity, and more.

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Breathe when you feel stressed, and repeat to yourself this wonderful line by William Ernest Henley: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

Give yourself exposure

You are not alone. Everyone has their own problems, and many of us are positively dealing with them. Teach yourself hope from others' journeys.

If not a living example, then consider the books written, movies made, or art created around the central thing you are concerned about.

Explore them—you will gain hope from others' journeys.

Analyze your choices and be aware of their consequences

What you are facing at the moment has a direct or indirect connection to the choices you've made or are making. Either own your choices and face the consequences or make another choice. It’s as simple as that.

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Lastly, we must remind ourselves that we have one life, and we are all temporary here. In the end, what matters is what we think of ourselves and what we make of it.

Thank you for reading. I hope you found this helpful. If you want to share your lessons, feel free to write them in the comments. I'd love to see what you share.

Subscribe to the blog for free, as a lot more interesting content is on its way.

I'll see you with another blog post this coming Sunday. See you. #happyreading


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