A huge number of adults feel overwhelmed or depressed on a regular basis. It can be from any of a huge number of sources, although any of those sources can be tied to one of the three areas of your life that I talked about in my last article.
Have you ever seen a young child depressed or overwhelmed? Even if you have, at one point or another, have you ever seen them stay that way for long?
Many adults (maybe even you) would respond that young children are not under the same stress as adults. While this is true, there is another secret that we know when we are young, and tend to forget as we grow older.
What is that secret? It’s simple, though not always easy… if you want to defeat feelings of depression or being overwhelmed, simply decide to do something and do it.
It doesn’t really matter what it is that you do, as long as it is a conscious choice to do it, though it generally works better if it takes more than just a couple of minutes. You can choose to go fishing, build something, or even make a nice dinner. It works even better, of course, if your action helps to work toward clearing up whatever had you feeling depressed or overwhelmed in the first place.
Children do this instinctively… watch a 3 or 4 year old, and see how often they sit still, not doing much. They will do so to watch TV sometimes, or play video games, but watch them after they do this… they will be grumpier and misbehave more often. It’s not because of what they watched or played. It’s because they ceased to be active, and became passive instead.
Passive activities drain your energy… they suck away your positive feelings and leave you feeling empty. Passive activities are, by nature, activities that take your time and your energy without a return: your energy still goes into the activity, but you get nothing back.
Active activities take your time and energy, also, but that energy is returned to you by the results of your activity. It may be returned when you eat the fish you catch, or when you see your home clean, or when you see your body change shape (if your active action happens to be physical). It may even be returned by looking at what you created, if you choose some type of creative activity (I personally happen to like woodworking… I’d like music and art, too, if I had any talent in those areas).
A lot of adults are passive most of the time. They let their energy drain away into nothingness, with nothing to show for it. This can usually be traced back to a specific event, something that they didn’t want to deal with. They then sought passive ways to “escape” from that event, which started the process of bleeding away their energy and positive emotions.
Once that drain starts, it makes it harder and harder to stop being passive, as you have less and less energy to use actively. That leads to being even more passive, and even more drain, until sometimes it adds up to the point that you feel like you have no energy left, like you are empty and dying inside. Life feels overwhelming because you have so little energy to grab it and take what you want and need from it.
If you want to beat those horrible feelings (I know how bad they are… I’ve been to the bottom of that barrel), you have to put a STOP to those passive activities that are draining your energy. You have to turn off the computer, turn off the TV, get out of bed, and do something.
The easiest way to start is to take a shower and get cleaned up. Even that is a start on becoming active. Once you are cleaned up, get out of the house (or apartment, or wherever it is that you live)… it doesn’t really matter too much where you go, although some place that you enjoy is an easy choice when you’re just getting started. Once you’ve gotten started on this, try inviting someone else to do something with you… it can be a friend, a family member, significant other, or complete stranger. Activities that involve more than one person get more result for less energy spent.
This can be a fragile time, right at the beginning. It can be very easy to fall back into the passive activities that you were just doing, so the best thing to do is to keep away from them as much as possible. Any time that you’re not at work (where your job may require it), stay away from the computer, the TV, and the video games (unless you have someone over who is doing it with you, and even then don’t do it for long).
The more you stay away from your old passive activities, and the more you continue in your new active activities, the easier it becomes, and the more “full” your life will generally seem to become. This will bring about positive results not only for you, but for everyone around you. Your relationships are almost certain to improve (providing, of course, that you don’t neglect them in your pursuit of one of your new activities), your self-esttem and self-respect will improve, and you will generally be more pleasant to be around. You are also likely to do better at work, and even like your job better. Depending on the activities that you choose, you may even find another means of income or a new job.
You can get started on this today. You only have two ways to spend your time and energy: actively and passively. If you choose to stop your passive activities, you will find that you HAVE to choose active ones to replace them.
Let your “inner child” out… let them out to do and to play (which is active, of course). Do things that you enjoy, and find others who enjoy those things too. You will soon find that the emptiness that seemed to fill you is, itself, being filled.