Corporate executive, bus driver, systems analyst, lawyer, janitor, waitress, plumber – it matters not. We all have our “down” days, from the Queen to Donald Trump (now there’s a stretch).

Life brings us bouqets of joy and prosperity, and bric-a-bracs of frustration and despair. Social class means nothing when it comes to how human psychology takes hold amidst turmoil and uncertainty. Yet somehow we rise above and get beyond it…most of the time. But for some of us the ruts get deeper and deeper, and seem to last forever. We may eventually become fatalistic about life in general, and feel we have no power.

A down day or week is not so bad, but a down month or much worse, a down year, can alter every aspect of our daily lives. Our relationships with family, colleagues and friends may suffer, as well as our diet, personal hygiene, finances, and usual forms of recreation. We may have become depressed, exhibiting a lack of confidence, self-esteem and motivation. This personal experience may make us feel very small indeed.

Luckily, there are ways out of our “smallness”. I call them “Ways Out of Our Smallness”. These ways consist of at least the following:

  1. realizing that all events have an explainable cause;
  2. agreeing that help is only a phone-call, email, or text away;
  3. believing in yourself as an agent of your life trajectory;
  4. admitting to yourself that other people may have worse problems than you;
  5. tell your problems to your dog or cat;
  6. understanding that if necessary, professional therapies (psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, humanistic, group, family, biological) are available;
  7. put a poster beside your bathroom mirror that says “I’m in control”;
  8. walk, and often;
  9. eat a balanced diet;
  10. meet with your friends regularly over coffee (or milk);
  11. talk to your partner/wife/husband about how you are feeling, and why;
  12. avoid obnoxious people.

Most of these are obvious, but it helps to see them from time to time. As we age, time speeds up and is therefore more precious (‘of the essence’). You/we can stop feeling ‘small’, but it takes effort. Those we trust enough to help can become lifelong friends, remaining a buttress against future ‘smallness’ moments. They are there to be taken advantage of, and they won’t mind. And one step out of smallness makes the next step easier.