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Getting out of Despondency

Updated: Apr 7

When life gets overwhelming and defeat seems to be around every corner, it’s easy to let low moods get the better of you. In that space, it’s hard not to start feeling hopeless about everything. And the deeper you slip into that hopelessness, the narrower your perspective becomes on what is possible, and things that once felt so important… fade away. After a while, you begin to lose the will to start again. You struggle to find the courage to begin new projects or put a plan of action into place. You feel dejected about the state of your life, relationships, health or finances and you feel like there is just no point of putting effort into anything because none of it will work.

This is despondency

It could be triggered by anything. Maybe you’re going through some major event in your life such as a divorce, a break-up, losing your job or losing a loved one. Perhaps you've been worn down by having constant arguments and disagreements with people at work or at home. You could be in financial trouble and at risk of losing your assets. Or, you could have just lived through a two year pandemic and you’re feeling empty and completely directionless in your life. Despondency hits us all at one time or another. 

How do you know you're despondent? 

  1. You have no more drive. You’re stuck in a ‘what’s the point?’ mentality. You give up before you’ve even started so nothing changes. And when nothing changes, you slip into victimhood and blame everyone and everything else for the sorry state of your life. 

  2. You’re easily triggered and get reactive about the smallest things. Everything starts bothering you and you’re going through your days in a constant mood of irritation or anger, snapping at your colleagues, partner and kids, getting into road rages and shouting at store managers and check-out assistants. 

  3. You are tired all the time and not just physically. You’re emotionally spent and mentally drained. You have no more interest in doing hobbies or activities you used to enjoy doing. You just want to lie on the couch and binge on food and TV series. 

  4. You don’t want to go out or see anyone, so you end up isolating yourself. Then you end up feeling lonely and ignored. Then you get insecure, thinking that no-one cares about you anymore, meanwhile you’re the one creating the disconnect. 

  5. Your self-esteem is low. You don’t think you’re good enough and you’re stuck with very negative and critical self-talk. You have deep feelings of worthless and you take everything very personally, getting wounded by the slightest comment from anyone. Your confidence is nowhere to be found so you slip into paralysis where nothing moves.

  6. You’re filled with self-doubt. You second guess your decisions, your capabilities and your potential and you feel like you have no power to change your life or your future.

It’s time to pull yourself out of this space because if you don’t do something about it, you are going to slide into depression. So what can you do about it?

1. Get specific about the issue:

a) What are you feeling hopeless about? What can you do about it?

b) What is not hopeless in your life? Acknowledge what is working.

c) Have you felt hopeless before and did things change? What did you do that time and can you do it again?

2. Take action:

  • Get moving. Despondency gets worse when you stay still. Get your body moving, get your heart pumping, get breathless and feel alive again. Walk, run, jump, swim, climb, box - do anything that gets you out of your head and into a physical experience. 

  • Clear the clutter. It’s easy to feel low and uninspired when your desk is overflowing with filing and your cupboards haven’t been cleaned out for more than a decade and every surface in your home has clutter on it and your garage is overflowing with boxes you haven’t looked in for years. Clean your space up. Get all Marie Kondo on your own ass, move your furniture around, paint a wall, change the pictures in your frames, plant something beautiful in your garden. Your living space is an external reflection of your internal state of mind, a shift on the outside will transform your headspace. 

  • Get creative. Despondency has you spinning around the negative hamster wheel in your head - do something creative like painting, building puzzles, dancing, playing a musical instrument, playing with your kid’s lego, colouring in, pottery, glass blowing or any other art form that engages different parts of your brain and gives you a break from dark thoughts. Creativity shifts your focus into enjoying the present moment, where you can experience joy and peace.

  • Make a plan. Plan an outing for the weekend, a getaway for the Easter holiday, an adventure like hiking or kayaking or camping for the next time you have leave. Plan a home-makeover or a physical make-over. Planning means something positive is going to happen and it makes you feel in control. Planning kills inertia and get’s things moving.

  • Get out of your house! Stop moping on your couch. Go and experience your city. Walk in the park, go to a museum, visit an art gallery, sit in a library, pretend you’re a tourist and do a red bus tour to see the sights. Invite a friend or a family member to join you, get social. A change of scenery and time spent with a loved one works wonders in lifting the spirits.

  • Fix things. You know all those things on your to-do list that thing you've been promising yourself you'd deal with, but you’ve never got around to doing anything about it? Now’s the time. Wash your car, change that lightbulb, glue that broken vase, mend that torn garment, sort out that leaking tap, hang the curtain, replace that broken window. Repairing and finding solutions for things creates a sense of forward movement and achievement which reminds you that you can do anything you set your mind to.

  • Be Gratitude. Being thankful instantly changes your state of mind. It shifts your focus from ‘what you don’t have’ to ‘what you do have’. Gratitude reminds you who you are, who loves you and brings up more positive emotions. You remember what it’s like to have good experiences and that energises you to start moving forward in your life. 

Despondency is not a condition, it’s a mood and moods can change. 

Learning new techniques and strategies, changing your thinking and self-talk and changing your daily routine or environment will give you the boost that you need to engage new behaviours and reverse your state of hopelessness. 

I have supported thousands of clients for over 29 years to get out of their stuckness by showing them how to take action, create new thoughts and behaviours and stand in their personal power so they can live a life of purpose. If you're ready to get your life back on track and to experience a deeper connection with yourself, then book a coaching session and let's start a journey together. I can't wait to meet you.


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