When people’s words and actions make us feel judged, mistreated or discriminated against, it’s hard not to feel hurt and angry.  But we can’t let these negative influences damage our emotional health or become obstacles to our own goals. If you’re feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone, here are some suggestions for overcoming and moving past that pain:

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. Remember, one really strong supporter can be more powerful than a roomful of people who judge us or don’t accept us.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: A big part of feeling depressed, anxious or lonely is those thoughts in our heads that tell us that things are bad, we are hopeless, nobody cares 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 things will never change, remember a time when things were bad but did improve. This simple exercise can remind us that feelings generally do pass over time.

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.

Speak Up for Yourself and Others: Discrimination and prejudice is not OK, especially when it’s causing you harm or interferes with your career. If someone else’s actions or prejudice cross that line, take action and speak up. And if you see someone else being discriminated against, don’t sit in silence — let someone know.

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.