Feeling broken? I know I have. The feeling of being overwhelmed by work, the feeling when life deals you blow after blow and it doesn’t seem like things will ever get better. The feeling that you’ll never reach your goals, no matter how hard you try, and that everyone can see and is focused on your faults and failings. But when all seems hopeless, what can you do to change this? What can you keep in mind so you can keep going and be prepared for when this next happens?
Let me preface this by saying that unfortunately, I can’t offer practical advice to fix your situation. I can only offer points to keep in mind to maintain the tenacity to keep going. And even this likely isn’t going to be easy. It can be a long, hard road that leads out of dark times, but I promise it will be worth it. The path out can be found.
Please keep in mind that this article is based on personal opinions, and what works for me may not work for you. This is merely general guidance and does not attempt to replace or substitute professional advice, which we recommend you reach out to a mental health professional for.
1. Remember to accept and anticipate change
One of the reasons why humans have not only survived, but thrived, for so long is because we have the ability to adapt to change. Our world is constantly changing, from technology to trends and everything in between. It is important to remember to stay true to yourself whilst accepting and even embracing some changes. Prepare as best as you can, but accept that some factors are out of your control, so it may be a good step to make a backup plan (or two or three). Talking to others can also help you put the changes into perspective since our own minds often distort them out of proportion.
2. Remember that your emotions and experiences are valid
Too often, society attempts to brush struggles with mental health away with phrases such as “Just smile”, “Good vibes only”, or “Well, it could be worse”. Even the most optimistic people will experience struggle and feel down sometimes. Even the most successful people go through defeat and failure. Even though it could be worse, that doesn’t make what you’re going through any easier. Allow yourself to go through these emotions in a healthy way, whether through talking to others or journaling, because trying to bury emotions often leads to worse effects.
3. Remember to ask for help
Asking for help goes hand in hand with validating your emotions and accepting change. When you ask for help, you validate your emotions by sharing them with others, who often will feel/will have felt the same way you do. The earlier you reach out for help, the more prepared you can be for future change as well. The better connections you build with people, whether at work, school or in your personal life, the easier it will be to reach out to them in a time of need. Even though it may be nerve-racking to ask for help at first, most of the time you will find someone who is patient and understanding, and it will become easier with time to ask for help.
4. Remember to be present in the moment
Oftentimes, I’ve found that my feeling of “brokenness” stems from regrets about the past or worries about the future. However, we cannot change the past and we have little control over the future. Staying aware of and focused on the present, being present, will help change your outlook on life. For me, “high and low” journaling has helped me become more present, where at the end of every week I briefly write down at least one positive and one negative thing which occurred that week. Focusing on a positive teaches me gratitude, whilst acknowledging the negative helps me gain perspective and patience.
5. Remember to focus on being the best YOU
Even though change in life is constant, that doesn’t mean you have to change yourself every time someone else wants you to. Focus on building upon your strengths and improving yourself, rather than wishing you were someone you’re not. These feelings of self-doubt oftentimes stem from comparing yourself to others. For this reason, I limit my use of the type of social media where I constantly only see the perfect, curated images of other people’s lives, people who I don’t even know. Instead, I gain inspiration from my friends and family and compare myself instead to my past self, since self-improvement is what truly matters.
Finally, remember that progress and improvement, especially related to mental health, is a continuous journey. Every day I have to work on reminding myself of these above-mentioned points, and some days it’s harder, others it’s easier. Still, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that breaking this cycle of feeling broken is possible, and positive change will come with time.
However, if these feelings of brokenness lead to symptoms of mental illnesses or thoughts of harming yourself or others, please reach out to a mental health professional as soon as possible.
U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
List of international suicide prevention and emergency hotlines: https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines
In addition, I encourage you to educate yourself about mental health and mental illnesses, here are some of the many wonderful resources you may want to consider:
If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with others!
Sandford, K. (2021, March 2). 7 things to remember when you feel broken inside. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/325895/7-things-remember-when-you-feel-broken-inside
Lim, B. (2016, November 8). Read this when you’re feeling broken. Thought Catalog. https://thoughtcatalog.com/bea-lim/2016/11/read-this-when-youre-feeling-broken/