The best way to deal with pain from abuse is to work with a trained counselor. Here are some other ways you can strengthen your emotional health, feel more connected and continue to heal.

Use Your Support Network: A support network doesn’t have to be an army of friends and family. It could be just one person who we can talk openly to about how we’re feeling. It helps to reach out to that person we can be honest with when things are overwhelming. For some of us, that person may be our counselor or doctor. The important part is that we aren’t holding it all in, that we’re talking about how we feel and that we’re letting someone help us.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: A big part of feeling depressed, afraid or lonely is those thoughts in our heads that tell us that things are bad, we are hopeless, it’s our fault, and it won’t get better. The simple exercise of checking those thoughts and challenging them can do wonders for our state of mind. If the thought floats through your mind that you can’t trust anyone because everyone hurts you, try and remember the people in your life who haven’t been abusive and who have been supportive. This simple exercise can remind us that there is hope and there are people who can help us.

Take Care of Yourself: It sounds so simple, but little things like getting enough sleep and eating as healthy as possible can make a huge difference on how we feel emotionally. Lack of sleep can, in and of itself, cause problems with depression and anxiety. Also, exercising has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression. So if you’re feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed, take a walk or head to the gym for a little while.

Use Moderation: We all know that drinking too much or abusing drugs can actually make us feel worse in the long run.  Moderation is important when it comes to partying, but it’s also important in other aspects of our lives. If we’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed, we may have to say “no” to certain activities or opportunities. It’s more important to rest and take care of ourselves than it is to do everything.

Most importantly, be proactive and go talk to a counselor on your campus or in your community if you are worried about your thoughts and feelings. Use our Find Help Now page to get started.