march, 2019

12mar1:00 am1:00 amHow to be Okay, Not Being OkayBy Alisha Hunter

laptop food and book on a bed


As humans, we obsess over the idea that we need to feel good all the time. Obviously, nobody

likes to experience negative emotions, but they happen. They’re unavoidable. So let’s explore

some strategies to help us face them head-on so we can begin to heal.


I have not found the perfect way to cope with stress in my life. If you have, please enlighten

me, because I’m no expert. All I can do is listen to my body and trust that it will tell me what it

needs from me at this very moment. Most of my negative emotions can be minimized with

exercise, sunshine or talking about my problems with the people I love, but sometimes that just

isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to accept that you’re not okay right now, but that doesn’t

mean it will be forever. Sometimes you just have to surrender.


On the days that I have no motivation to do the things I know will help me, or on the days that

my typical strategies just aren’t enough, I try to find the reason why I might be feeling however

I’m feeling. I try to understand what the root cause of my discomfort is and address it.

Acknowledge that it is there, that it is trying to help you, and that it is just a feeling that cannot

cause you physical harm. Feelings are nothing but uncomfortable (albeit loud) thoughts

buzzing around in your brain causing your body to react physically. But if you acknowledge

their existence, if you make an effort to understand what function they are trying to perform for

your well-being, then you can being to let it go.


For example, if you are anxious about public speaking, it is not really because you are afraid of

talking to a room full of people, but rather because you are afraid to embarrass yourself, so

your brain is responding to those “fight or flight” instincts, telling you to remove yourself from a

situation and avoid the potential discomfort. But is that really how you want to live your life?

Avoiding what makes you uncomfortable? Negative emotions like vulnerability, anxiety,

nervousness, worry, whatever it may be, come not only at life’s worst moments but also life’s

best moments. If we spend our lives trying to avoid the discomfort, we won’t be able to enjoy

those unexpected times that bring us so much unforeseen joy.


For moments that are a little more than discomfort, like grief or depression, it sometimes isn’t

as easy to try and distract yourself. The best advice I can give you is to stop being so hard on

yourself. Bad thoughts happen. Bad days happen. Bad weeks, months and years happen. You

don’t need to be happy, you don’t need to be content, you don’t even have to pretend that you

are. The most important thing that will help you right now is knowing that it will get better. That

all you have to focus on right now is just existing and take every opportunity you can to

celebrate every small victory. Did you get out of bed this morning? Tell yourself how proud you

are that you had the courage to face the day (no matter how late it may be). Did you reach out

for help? Give yourself a pat on the back for not internalizing your feelings. Did you smile at

some point today? That’s amazing!! Give yourself a hug and tell yourself you are loved. You

already have so much to deal with, you don’t need any more negativity in your life. Kindness

and forgiveness toward yourself is extremely important when struggling with any negative



It is crucial that you don’t allow yourself to dwell on your negative emotions but instead, gather

as much energy as you can to bring a little positivity into your day. Be gentle and kind when

choosing an activity. Do not punish yourself for what you can’t do right now, you’ll get there,

just give it time. But in the meantime, here are just a few of the many things you can do to try

and boost your spirits:


• Be present and let go: don’t compare yourself to how you have felt in the past, or to

how others are feeling. Let go of this myth that you have to be happy all the time or

handle a situation in a certain way. Just allow yourself to exist at this moment, however

that may be.


• Dance to some upbeat music: get your body moving, your blood pumping, sing your

heart out, laugh a little, and just let everything out! *I find throwbacks work really well for



• Have a bath: add some relaxing bath oils, use a face mask, light some candles, listen

to some relaxing music, read a good book and you’re on your way to instant relaxation!


• Colour in a colouring book: believe it or not, this is a form of mindfulness. The focus

on being creative will help distract you while the vibrant colours can actually help

increase the “happy” chemicals in your brain.


• Be mindful of your words: the power of your words and intentions are unbelievable. “I

am thoughts” can make or break the way you feel about a situation. By saying things

like, “I am sad,” your brain believes that is how it should be acting. Be mindful and pay

close attention to the words you say or think. Instead, try thoughts like: “I am

energized,” “I am strong,” or “I am improving myself every day.”


• Go for a walk: let the sun on your skin, get your body moving, listen to some calming

music, look at the unbelievable world around you and just breathe in the fresh air.


• Do something nice for someone else: nothing takes your mind off your own troubles

like bringing joy to those around you. Whether it is someone you know or someone you

don’t, random acts of kindness benefit us all.


• Do something you’re passionate about: whether you enjoy reading, writing, cooking,

baking, exercising, meditating, singing, painting, building, exploring, taking pictures or

anything else you might do, do it with love and do it often!


• Be thankful: gratitude is an extremely powerful emotion. By turning your negative

emotions into things to be grateful for, or by simply making a list of all you have to be

thankful for in your life, you are focusing on positivity with very minimal effort.


• Smile: it is proven that smiling makes you happier. Whether you have to force it or it’s

genuine, smiling signals to your brain that you are happy and your body will react

accordingly. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror while you’re crying? You cry

harder, right? Well, the same thing happens when you smile at yourself in the mirror. The

next time you’re in a slump, give yourself the biggest smile you can manage and tell

yourself you are the most beautiful person in the world. You might feel silly but no one’s

watching so who cares!


• Make a “done” list: on days where doing things is hard, sometimes making a “to-do”

list becomes more of a “look at all the things I have to stress about” list and it becomes

overwhelming. Instead, try making a list of things that you have accomplished, like

getting out of bed, making a healthy lunch, walking your dog, clipping your toenails; any

small thing you have done is worthy of praise and something to be proud of.


Here’s the thing: it’s okay not to be okay. There are so many accomplishments you have to be

proud of in your life and so many more to look forward to. I read a quote once that said, “you

have already survived 100% of your worst days” and that really stuck with me. By being kind to

yourself and acknowledging that sometimes you don’t feel happy, you are accepting the

discomfort and allowing it to pass. Do as much as you can to bring positivity back into your

life, but for now, just breathe through the pain; it will pass soon enough.


How to be Okay, Not Being Okay – Just Peachy Positivity

Alisha / @alishahunterr


Photo by @alishahunterr

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