Feeling Better Now, Step By Step

by Mark Ivar Myhre on August 25, 2007

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It’s easy to tell someone else –

“Just be happy. Just love yourself. Go ahead. Do it!”

But if you’re really hurting, or depressed – if you’re at the ‘low end’ of the emotional scale – it’s probably just going to increase the hurt or the anger or the frustration or the whatever.

The feelings you’re already feeling tend to get amplified when you hear some cocky person (such as myself) tell you to ‘just feel better’.

It will likely make you MORE depressed, if you’re depressed now. It amps up what you’re already feeling, rather than actually helping you.

With that in mind, let me offer a fairly workable solution.

I can remember a time, many, many years ago, when a friend said to me: “Mark, this is the first time I’ve EVER seen you smiling.”



It really stuck with me. I never forgot that statement. And I actually tried to start being happy…

But I couldn’t even FAKE IT! I was that miserable. So little happiness could be found anywhere in my life. Maybe a perverted sense of glee… if I were arguing or dragging someone down to my level. But no lasting happiness.

I tried. I honestly tried to be happy. I just could not make it happen. And if it ever did, it seemed I has no control over how long it would last.

Too bad I didn’t know then, what I’m about to tell you now.

Essentially, it’s a way to climb out of misery. By starting where you are. And by FEELING where you are – and then reaching for a slightly better feeling.

Below you’ll find a list of emotions. Simply start reading the list, and jump in when you get to the way you feel right now.



Stop when you get to the way you feel. And feel that feeling for a minute or two – JUST feel – without doing anything else. It’s harder than it sounds. Cause your mind will try to drag you all over the place, rather than to simply feel the emotion cleanly.

Then, when you’re ready – go to the next one on the list, and feel that one for a minute or so. Keep going down the list. (You might want to write them out or print this page so you’ll know what to do next time some smart-aleck tells you to ‘just feel better’!)



And if it sounds like too much work, take that as a sign – there’s a good indication you may REALLY want to do this! Maybe spend 60 seconds or more FEELING – without thinking or telling yourself a story about what it means to feel it. Then slowly work your way down the list. The key is to keep moving down the list… but not too fast.

Generally speaking, you only need to feel ONE emotion on each line, rather than all of them. For example, you could feel either the hurt, or the humiliation, or the abandonment; rather than all three; before moving to the next level. (Unless you really feel the need…)

Here’s The List Of Emotions:

Hopelessness, Despair, Meaninglessness, Emptiness, Depression,
Powerlessness

Loneliness, Worthlessness, Feeling Hollow

Revenge, Rage, Hate

Blame

Jealousy, Envy

Hurt, Humiliation, Abandonment

Fear, Anxiety, Angst

Anger, Resentment, Bitterness

Pessimism

Guilt, Sadness

Pity, Crisis, Overwhelm, Martyr, Victim

Worry, Doubt, Discouraged

Frustration, Confusion, Aggravation

Boredom, Impatience, Irritation

Well-Being, Peace, Contentment

Optimism

Thrill, Enthusiasm

Hope, Trust

Passion, Compassion, Caring

Happiness, Wonder

Love, Joy, Gratitude, Intimacy

***

Now don’t you feel better? Just a little bit? And you didn’t even have to fake it!

{ 25 comments }

Claire January 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I cant be bothered to try anymore… the fight has all gone, cant be bothered to make the effort for myself. feel like its the end, all l do is exist for no reason.

ivar January 29, 2010 at 12:51 am

Hi Claire,

very sorry to hear it.

if you can’t make the effort for yourself, maybe you can make it for someone else?

Patrina Howard July 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Claire, PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP.
I still have awful days when I simply want to cry my heart out, stay in bed and just not try at all When my Mother died my brother was not allowed to hug or touch me because his wife won’t allow him to touch an “unmarried woman” and my brother doesn’t argue with his wife. It left me feeling unbelievably hurt, lost and utterly miserable, in the blackest days I really wanted to end it all. I crawled down to have a chat with the rector who listened, which is what they do fantastically well. He advised me to ‘talk to God” (or The Divine or whoever one believes in) to pour out my heart, discuss my problems. At the end of the day we are all God’s children, we are all unique. In case you might be thinking that I am some sort of religious nut I’m glad to report that I am as “normal” as you and everyone else. The Superior Being (God) does listen, a reply might not come immediately or even for many days but He listens. PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP, there will be better times, it has to come from within, from your heart and Soul which is the most sacred part of your being. With love, Patrina

Gisela April 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I’m supposed to make the effort for my 3 almost adult children, that’s a reason but I got bipolar 4 years ago for “good’ reasons, well….good luck

Judy May 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I thought I was doing better, but every day I say, “what’s wrong with me?” I feel I must think differently than everyone else. I’m going to try neuofeedback so I can try to rid myself of these depressing thoughts.

Kirsten June 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I have no enthusiasm. I used to take joy in everyday things and I was ambitious, wanting to work my way up the ladder, save and buy my own home, I thought I would get married and have kids, but now at 48 it doesn’t seem possible. I would love to feel better, I miss my spiritedness, I fee like I don’t deserve better.

Mark Ivar Myhre June 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Hi Kirsten,

sorry to hear about what you’re going through.

I’m 54. Will you marry me? We’ll have to talk about the kids, though. I’ve already got two girls.

Ian August 24, 2011 at 12:54 am

Mark,thanks for the info but I’m still apprehensive with feeling my feelings.I just don’t know if I’m doing it. Except…when I’m aware I’m incorporating a subjective story along with painful memories, I dwell on the memories less. My mood does change & I feel optimistic & there is no compulsion to resolve past rejection. It seems to me it’s the same old story that denies me the pleasures of today & without it my choices on how I feel are expanded. There is no compulsion to feel good for I am already feeling good or whatever, it’s my choice. I would like you to comment for this attitude is so new to me.

Mark Ivar Myhre August 25, 2011 at 6:45 am

Hi Ian,

If you are feeling your feelings, then you are bringing them into your heart, without telling yourself a story about
what the feelings mean. Also, it’s hard to maintain one feeling for very long. Remember, it’s a flow! But when we get stuck in our feelings, you can be sure there’s a story that’s impeding the flow, and we end up feeling the mixture of the feeling and the story mixed together. Pity, for example, can go on and on. Just like righteous anger and righteous hurt.

Also, whenever you feel something cleanly, it leaves you feeling at least a little bit better, even if you’re feeling a so-called ‘bad’ emotion. See? Even feeling fear or despair or hate (without telling yourself why you’re feeling it, or who’s to blame, etc.) will raise your resonance at least slightly.

You feel more alive when you feel cleanly.

But the main point to all this, is to practice!

That’s what I’ve done, extensively.

And it also helps clean things out if you’ll take paper and pen and just start scribbling down your thoughts and feelings on the paper, as fast as you can. Without stopping to think about what you’re writing. This helps to get the story out of the way. Plus, you get to recognize what you’re saying to yourself even more clearly than if you just thought those thoughts.

I would say it’s not about feeling good – it’s about feeling real. It’s about being willing to feel whatever comes up. For that matter, you could just as easily feel the stories and let them go. Feel as much as you can. That’s my philosophy. And I’m always looking to feel what’s real. Sometimes I’ll practice going through various emotions just to see if I can, but for the most part I give very little thought to what I’m actually feeling. I just want to be an open channel for the flow of feelings to move through me. I know that whatever comes up will make me feel more alive.

Ian August 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Thank you Mark, you have given me an antidote to what’s been ailing me.
Ian

pam October 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Mark— i am 62 and have been diagnosed bipolar since 1990’s. really enjoy your blogs and free information.. I have read some books on change your brain change you’re life… dr daniel amen. implementing some of his ideas already… thanks for meditation ideas…guess that is where i have most of problem, those thoughts do get stuck and most people just tell you to get over it or woman up….lol…but you are so nice and not make judgment on what we do right or wrong and thatnk you for your insight…it is hard to have insight when you feel so depressed….
thanks’ again Mark

Pam

Chris November 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

Hi Mark, Thanks for this article, It has really helped to lift me from the blahs. I was feeling rather emotionally raw and too sensitive to my emotions. I think working with my emotions let loose a lot of feelings I have been afraid to feel for a long time. Being now completely prescribed drugs free has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride but I am finding myself more consistently stable.
Going through this exercise lightens my mood every time I start to feel a bit down. I guess I still have a lot of work to do? Thank you so much for all your help and input.

Mark Ivar Myhre November 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Chris,

I would guess we all have a lot of work to do!

Theresa November 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

Sitting here seeing these sad stories make we wanna just reach out and help but I only now starting feeling a little balanced I have thought about really hurting myself and only god has been able to hold me against this nothing else. I married 11years ago and was not really in love I just thought it was time. I have not kissed my husband in 11 years which was odd o me but I just did not feel the need to. We have two lovely kids one that has been fighting for the right to live seven years which tear Me and my husband apart. I tried setting my heart for him but it is a lie within me. I feel guilty for my kids and feel like I have disappointed everyone including myself. I found someone else which I am genuinely in love with but I decided not to sleep with him in order to not be mixed up in my mind. I now have a little piece of mind but the fear of loving is within me also

Alex December 3, 2011 at 2:07 am

Thank you Mark for all the free advice and insights. It is truly inspiring when I am feeling down and don’t know what to do. I’ve been dealing with panic and depression since I’m 11 years old. I’m 27 now and just got off all the prescribed meds last year that were truly holding me back from feeling and maturing emotionally. Last two years have been hell, felt like I was a little kid all over again without the med. Info like this and talking and discussing feelings with other people who can relate is what has helped me become much stronger today. There’s no quick fix, its takes hard work to get out of depression.

john December 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Claire, you are right where you need to be. Each of us fight a war that cannot be won, only watch. I ask of you to watch yourself without any desire of attempting to make what you see and feel as yourself into something other than who you are. I ask of you to surrender your need to fight this thing in you that cannot be fought. Acceptance or surrender is the key that unlocks the door for your freedom to enjoy yourself as this moment, just the way it is, just the way you are. Claire, its o.k. to be you not wanting to fight anymore. Its o.k. to be you not wanting to be bothered to make the efforts to try. And its o.k. just to exist for no apparent reason whatsoever. Claire, I ask you to consider giving yourself permission not having to want to fight a war that cannot be won. I ask you to consider giving yourself permission to exist for no reason whatsoever. I ask that you just allow yourself to be totally right here, right now, without any desire for this present moment experiencing of yourself to be anything other than the way it is, as the way you are.

Taryn April 20, 2015 at 2:48 am

I know this was posted so many years ago – butmaybe you willsee this, or know it, somehow . . .

Thank you. I’m not Claire, but I’m not Not her, either.

This was beautiful because it was perhaps the most validation I’ve ever experienced. If I can be validated for existing without a reason to exist, and even be given permission to permit myself to exist for no reason, permission to allow myself not have to fight right now, and just for now, that I am allowed to not give a s^%$ about whether or not I even give a s&^% . . . okay then. I can do that. I did it. And I get it. And at least during the minutes in which I wrote this, I felt better.

Thank you, john. And as always, thank you, Mark.

D February 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I don’t really know how to make myself feel these feelings. They just come when something happens to make them come. But I can’t feel them on command… can you help me?

Mark Ivar Myhre February 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

It takes practice. And time.

The main thing is to be willing to feel whatever comes up.

that’s a biggie.

Then, it’s a matter of actually FEELING what comes up – instead of rationalizing or justifying or explaining away the feelings.

that’s an even bigger biggie.

It’s a matter of removing the barriers to feelings, that are like walls around your heart.

this is something entirely new (getting back to feeling your true feelings instead of trying to think your way out of feeling) and it does take some getting used to.

Practice, and willingness. And work on feeling whatever DOES come up – feeling it deeper and deeper – feeling it ‘cleanly’ – meaning, without thinking about WHAT you’re feeling, or WHY you’re feeling it.

John February 14, 2012 at 7:52 am

I am in complete agreement with Mark’s suggestion on feeling your feelings without desire to make your feelings or attempting to control your feelings, which is a losing battle, into something other than what it is. Acceptance is the key that will liberate you from desire to make what is into something that is not which resistance. It will only set you free from the desire, not from the feeling itself. Resistance to acceptance is stress. It conflicts between what is, including the feelings that emerge, and what is not, the desire to control these feelings or demand a certain type of feelings at will. I believe the practice is awareness; watching without interfering. That’s easier said then done, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Oftentimes, when we attempt to escape our feelings because of perceived discomfort we lose out on the opportunity to develop our internal strength of character that comes through just allowing the dis/ease to be. When we allow dis/ease or discomfort of emotion, the mental make-up of character strengthens are mental/emotional immune system so the next time challenging feelings emerge with or without a trigger, we’ll be better prepared and up to the challenge by accepting that too without any desire for escape. Just think about how the physical body is strengthen via immune system when the disease is just allowed to run its course. The disease is not a bad thing, anymore than a discomforting feeling is a bad thing; it is just a thing that is used to strengthen us in preparation for the next challenge, which always comes. Life is challenging, and we have this system in place, physically/emotionally, to assist us with our development to acquire strength in order to endure. I believe that the most basic human need, is the need to survive or endure, and that’s exactly what our physical and emotional immune system was established in us to do for us.

Mark Ivar Myhre February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thanks for the feedback. And yes, I very much agree –

acceptance is the key.

that part gets forgotten a lot!

Amanda February 22, 2012 at 5:06 am

I struggle a lot with just letting my feelings flow, I tend to judge myself for the negative feelings. I keep telling myself I’m exactly where I need to be. My new mantra is Surrender and look for Solutions. It’s not easy for me, at all, no matter how easy it sounds! I suffer tremendously with fear and anxiety, but I realize that I have to feel it in order to go through it no matter how difficult it is.

Lisa Sellman April 29, 2012 at 7:28 am

I am so glad that I found your website and I feel like I learn so much with your writing and techniques. I have been in a frozen state for the past 5 months. I feel very pulled to get on with my life but want to make sure that I am ok before I do things so that they work out this time which leads to a lot of anxiety. Looking at the emotional scale on your chart, I am going to continue to work towards well being, peace and contentment.

Ryan Vrany June 13, 2012 at 4:54 am

This down state fucking sucks:( feeling good, almost high almighty to a dark, lethargic stomach sick fool. Why? Society and family, thats why!

Kevin Martin July 12, 2012 at 12:53 am

Doing this exercise with emotions does make me feel better. I presume that it’s effective because it makes you conscious of your emotions.

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