It's Okay If You're Not Okay
posted: Nov. 23, 2020.
It’s Okay If You’re Not Okay
The truth is we all struggle with our health and well-being. No one is meant to have all good days or chapters in their life. Being human is not easy and it definitely is not always rainbows and butterflies.
We live in a world that pushes this false belief that we are always supposed to be "good" and experience positive emotions. This simply is not true, and in believing it we set ourselves up for suffering. True happiness comes from knowing that even when we are not okay we are still going to be okay, and that we can and will get through it.
We are meant to experience all emotions: the good, the bad and the ugly. When we do not allow ourselves to not be okay from time to time then we risk really falling apart. We need to develop the self-awareness to know when we are struggling so we can do the things we need to do to reduce our anxieties, decompress from the pressures of life, and grieve our losses.
What To Do When You’re Not Okay
- Be Compassionate: Many of us have no problem being compassionate to others but when it comes to ourselves, we often fail at this at one level or another. We are often our own worst critic and have a hard time offering ourselves the understanding, love, and care we so freely give to others. Researcher Kristen Neff offers a number of resources that can help one understand how they can be more compassionate with themselves which can help us when everything feels like its falling apart. There are three stages to self-compassion you can check out here.
Breathe: Although we are always breathing, how we breathe has a huge impact on the stress response in the body. Research has begun to dive deeper into the science of breath and its power to help us not just relax but heal. Many of us do not breathe properly but instead breathe in a way that maintains our stress and anxiety. Shallow breaths that do not make their way into the stomach keep us stuck in the sympathetic nervous system a place where we often feel stuck and anxious. Simply place one hand bellow your belly button and breathe into your hand for 4 seconds, feel your stomach rise and then exhale for 6-8 seconds as you bring your belly button to your spine squeezing all the air out. Repeat this 10 times and feel the difference. When we breathe like this we move our body out of "fight and flight" into "rest and digest" by tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Reach Out: Don’t keep in it, reach out and connect to others. We are social creatures, and it is often through our relationships we are able to heal. You can reach out to a friends, family member, or for professional support from a coach or counselor. Often when we are not okay, we are struggling with guilt and shame which can only really survive in silence. Researcher and author Brene Brown has written a number of books and done some great Tedtalks that highlights that it is our vulnerability with others that is our greatest strength.
Remember that although you may not be okay you are always going to be okay. Learning to build trust in the fact that things are always changing. That you have gotten through all the previous bad days and this too shall pass. Remember that you do not have to do this alone and that some tools and skills can help you out of wherever you are stuck.
Zaccaro, A., Piarulli, A., Laurino, M., Garbella, E., Menicucci, D., Neri, B., & Gemignani, A. (2018). How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 12, 353. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00353