Breakdowns: You’ve probably experienced that moment when you’re fighting to hold back your tears, your anger bubbling inside you. After all, you don’t want others to think you’re crazy, right?
But as soon as you’re home alone, it all hits you and tears stream down your face like the Niagara Falls. Yep, you’re having a breakdown.
Everything that used to make you happy loses its meaning and everything you do feels like it’s wrong and useless. But we’re here to tell you feeling this way from time to time is normal, and why it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Here’s how to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough, and a powerful tool for self-growth:
Get curious about your triggers
Understanding your triggers is the first step for turning something painful into something beautiful. A breakdown shows you that something isn’t quite right in your life, which means you’re on a path on discovering your truest self.
Breakdowns can be a sign from your body that you are evolving and just like working out at the gym, a bit of pain is essential for growth.
To fully take advantage of a breakdown, first you must survive it. So, watch your favourite movie, get some fresh air outside, or read a mood-boosting book.
Talk to someone
It’s important to have a trusted person to talk to, whether that’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, sibling or even a psychologist.
Sometimes, you don’t actually need to find a solution for your problems, but just a listening ear and a safe place to let out all your thoughts so they stop spinning crazily in your mind.
This can be anything that makes you happy and helps you clear your mind. Go to the gym, put on music that makes you want to dance, do some relaxing yoga or go for a bike ride. Maybe, you even want to go out to a club and dance all night long with your bestie.
Do whatever you prefer but move your body somehow because you need that endorphin hit to get you out of your slump.
Take time for yourself
A breakdown is a great time to focus on what should be the most important part of your life: you!
Now is the perfect time to do some self-work and understand your triggers and the difficult emotions you’re experiencing.
One of my favourite exercises is to write down everything that I want to release in my life. This can include anything you want to let go of — the names of your exes, bosses, feelings, memories.
You can also burn old pictures, postcards, or anything that reminds you of a bad time. This is a great way to let go of your past, while also doing some reflection on yourself. (Note: I do NOT mean burning your ex’s house down!)
Embrace your shadow side
We all have a dark side and if we try to hide it too much, it will come out in the form of a breakdown.
Learning to love our most hated characteristics and forgive our own mistakes can be the hardest thing in life but is so important. So, I want you to write two lists:
- Your shadow side: The first one is about everything you consider your weaknesses, ugly truths and impulses. For example: being lazy, sensitive or easily hurt.
- Your bright side: This second list is about all your positive traits and strengths. Struggling to think of anything? Try asking your loved ones, or listing down compliments people have given you. Once you’ve written all this down, read it back to yourself. Accept your bad habits and love yourself fully. Think about how you can work on your weaknesses, instead of only judging and hating them.
Practising gratitude can help give you a serious reality check in the midst of a breakdown.
Writing down three things you’re grateful for can shift your focus to the things you have in life instead of worrying about what you don’t have.
Start with simple things like “I am grateful that I always have food on my table, I am grateful for my supportive friends, I am grateful for being alive”.
Declutter your life
A breakdown is a perfect time to re-evaluate what you really need in your life from material things to relationships. Here are some areas you can focus on decluttering:
Declutter your house
“If your environment is dirty, your mind will be too” — that’s what my boyfriend loves to tell me, and I always cringe a bit hearing the word ‘dirty’, but he’s right.
Everyone feels better in a tidy house — it makes you feel like you have everything together in life. Cleaning your house, sorting out your old clothes and throwing away (or donating) everything you haven’t used in months can be refreshing and makes you feel like you’ve had a productive day.
Declutter your social life
Having toxic people in our life can ruin our happiness and success. It is time to consider who your true friends are, and who is just sucking the life out of you.
Boundaries are life-saving for emotionally sensitive people. Your social life also includes social media: try decluttering your feeds and only following inspiring people who teach self-love and are honest with their own insecurities. Or try implementing a regular digital detox.
Declutter your mind
The worst thing about a breakdown is your mind running through endless worries. Meditation is the best way to align with yourself and give your mind a break.
Pick a quiet spot where you have time and space to not be disturbed and where you feel most comfortable. There are silent meditations, relaxing sounds and guided meditation videos on YouTube, or meditation apps.
Focus on your breath and try to observe everything. If you’re feeling something within your body, label it with “feeling”; if thoughts appear, “thinking”; and if you find judging yourself about your thoughts, “judging”.
Set your intentions for the future
Last but not least, to really transform a breakdown into a breakthrough it’s important to come out of it with clear intentions.
What do you want to change about yourself and what do you want to do with your life? This is the main cause of a breakdown — a lack of clear purpose in life.
Try creating a list of your biggest goals for the future, or a bucket list – experiences you have, things you want to do and places you want to travel before you die.
This article was written by Lilia Haselbarth and was originally published on A Girl In Progress.