How to Feel Bad

Have you ever been feeling down and then said to yourself, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way”? This is typical of chronic depression or major depressive disorder. You might be in a crowd of happy people, yet you feel miserable.


You blame yourself.

Well DON’T blame yourself!

Instead, learn how to feel bad. There is a purpose in it.

“That’s ridiculous! There’s no point in feeling bad!”

Oh, yes there is.

I’ll begin with a general example. Depression. You are depressed. It is eating you alive. You are tense and unhappy. You can’t stand yourself. You suspect others can’t stand you either. They probably wish you would just go away. What do you do?

Just let the feeling come closer for a few moments. That is how to feel any kind of feeling.

Now, stop. What is this feeling? Look at it. Is it you? No. Is it a part of you? No. It is no more a part of you than a burglar is part of your family. It is no more a part of you than any other predator stalking you as prey. It is your enemy. You do not conquer an enemy by avoiding it. You do not defeat an opponent by running away. The purpose of depression is to make you fight back and be strong.

How do you fight depression? You fight depression in much the same way that you fight any other opponent. First, you let it come as I said above. Let it come closer. Then you deliver some sort of blow with the purpose of crippling or killing it.

Deal Depression a Crippling Blow

Thought Stopping:

This is a very basic technique used for many purposes. If an unwanted thought of any kind approaches you, let it come. Then mentally shout “STOP!”

EXAMPLE: You are trying to quit smoking, but you want a cigarette. Let the desire grow stronger in your mind. Then mentally shout “STOP!” Read more on the technique of Thought Stopping, here.

Reward Schedule:

This is a slightly more complicated technique. When an unwanted thought approaches you, tell yourself, “I am going to avoid thinking about that until five o’clock today.” Then, at five o’clock, instead of pondering the unwanted thought to come, reward yourself with something. It doesn’t have to be healthy. It can be an indulgence.

EXAMPLE: You are having feelings of depression. Stop and say to yourself, “I am not going to allow that thought until five o’clock today. Then I will reward myself for not thinking about it.” You keep yourself busy. Have your reward in mind. Do not reward yourself with anything before five. Then, at five o’clock, instead of thinking about the depression, reward yourself. I use beer which accomplishes two things. It keeps me from drinking during the day because it’s a reward for later on, and my mind stays focused on the reward because I love beer.

Isn’t the “Reward Schedule” just another form of avoiding?

No. You are using neurobiology for the crippling blow instead of a cognitive process as in Thought Stopping. The reward is actually releasing neurotransmitters associated with pleasure. You are manipulating your neural pathways to knock out the depressing thought. In simple English, your body will automatically seek the pleasure instead of the pain of depression.

Many professionals would have my ass for recommending any kind of food like beer or cake or candy. Of course, they would also chide me for using the word ass. But we’re talking about your life here. This is only a basic technique to prove to yourself that you can control your feelings instead of wishing not to have them. You can work on physical fitness after you get your depression under control.

Enjoy these simple techniques

These may be the only techniques you will ever need. But many people find that once they learn a technique, their opponent learns to counter it. Enjoy using these as long as you can, because you may need more advanced techniques soon.

Take it to the Next Level

One of my fighting teachers is fond of saying, “Now let’s take it to the next level.” He never says, “You’re not doing it right.” It’s always, “take it to the next level.” If you would like to develop techniques for handling any stimulus with the proper emotion and the effective course of action, read on. The page titled How to Feel Good contains a several examples of how to feel positive stimuli and emotions. A complete summary of how to feel the entire spectrum of emotions from negative to positive can be found on the Balance Wheel page.

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