We all have them. Life delivers a sucker punch and you’re left scratching your head wondering what the heck you did to deserve it. Perhaps it’s a health issue, relationship problem, family drama, or financial crap—it doesn’t matter which area of your life the challenge lies, chances are it leaves stains on all the good in your world as well. In other words, when you’re neck-deep in crap, it can be hard to smell the roses.

Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, I have constantly been asked how it is possible that I manage to stay so positive when I’m dealing with such a tough situation. The honest answer to this is that I don’t.

Most of the time I am positive, and most of the time I find it easy to see the bigger picture, but I have also had many moments where “poor me” syndrome has gotten the better of me and I’ve wanted to throw my glass of carrot juice at the wall.

Down days are fine, and not something we should feel guilty about having. Surrendering to your sadness, or whatever other unattractive emotion is trying to come to the surface, does not make you a bad person. Nor will it manifest into anything undesirable. We don’t have to be happy one hundred percent of the time. In fact, it’s not good for us to suppress our emotions like that. When we don’t let the not-so-attractive stuff out, it festers inside and contributes to even bigger issues or manifests into physical ailments. Feeling is healing, my friends. The trick is to not allow these down days to turn into chronic periods of depression.

So, what can we do to pull ourselves out of the doldrums?

1. Get some perspective.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a while and know that as bad as things seem for you right now, there is always someone else who is far worse off. We humans are pretty freaking amazing. We can deal with the harshest conditions and find strength amidst the worst kinds of adversity. Understanding this has been my emotional savior while dealing with my own cancer diagnosis and that of my mum. All I had to do was turn on Oprah and I would see someone whose life was so much tougher than my own.

2. Look for the blessing.

Acknowledge the situation you’re in. Try to understand why you may have been given the challenge (there is always a greater reason!) and then surrender to learning the many lessons that are sure to unfold from it.

3. Keep trusting.

We are never given a problem that we don’t know how to solve. Just trust the process of life and accept that everything that comes up for you is there for a reason. When you truly believe that the universe is a kind place, and that you’re just one part of a much bigger plan, it makes it easier to understand that what you’re dealing with is a necessary part of the puzzle.

4. Do something that makes you happy.

Whenever I’m feeling a little icky, there are a few things that will instantly make me feel better. These are going for a walk, sitting on the beach, and spending time with my dog. Let whatever it is that makes you happy crash your pity party.

If none of the above works straight away, remember that’s okay. Honor your feelings, sit with them and really feel them. If you resist them they will only get worse, but if you allow them to froth to the surface and become exposed, they will soon pass and you’ll be left feeling lighter and more free than ever.

Jess Ainscough is a writer, holistic health coach, and the creator of the health and wellness website, The Wellness Warrior. Via her e-books, daily blog posts, and videos, Jess’ goal is to empower people to take control of their health and show that the quality of our lives is directly linked to how we treat our body and mind. Her transformation from champagne-guzzling, Lean Cuisine-loving magazine writer to all-out nutrition nerd was made after she was diagnosed with a rare, “incurable” cancer back in 2008. Deciding she wasn’t having a bar of that “incurable” nonsense, Jess took responsibility for her condition and healed herself with two years of Gerson Therapy. Along the way, Jess developed a obsession with passing on all of her newly learned wellness wisdom to anyone who was parked in front of her for long enough to listen.

For more on Jess, please visit her WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

* Photo by Brendio