Crafting our soul prospering life requires that we step out of our comfort zone–do things differently than what we’re accustomed to as well as try new things, meet new people, and go new places. This can–and often does–create anxiety and fear.
From time-to-time we all get walloped by Life and become discouraged. Usually, we can pull ourselves out of these feelings but sometimes…not so much.
At times, to us, the outlook is bleak and our discouragement turns into melancholy and depression.
An important note:when you can’t seem to shake the blues–and especially if you have thoughts of self harm or harming others–then it’s time to seek professional help. Oftentimes after a few visits to a trained counselor, spiritual advisor or medical professional can help you get back into your natural swing.
For times when you can still handle the feelings on your own but you need a few new techniques, here is an excellent article that lists a few:
The 5 techniques Dr. Leahy talks about are simple enough that each of us can do them–and incorporate them into a busy schedule.
Doubt your hopelessness:
We can all look back and see other times in our lives that we were deeply discouraged: we thought we were done for; we thought there was no way to overcome that particular difficulty; we doubted ourselves. But eventually it passed. As time went on, we continued living; we figured out how to solve the problem or how to handle it enough that we could keep going; we even experienced happiness and satisfaction in at least some areas of our life.
So all wasn’t hopeless then and it probably isn’t all hopeless now.
Try something new:
We don’t have to do anything drastic to do something new. It can be something as simple as trying a new fruit or vegetable, reading a different type of book than what we usually enjoy, exploring a side street on our way home from work.
When we do something new, fully engage in the here-and-now of the experience. Savor it through as many senses as possible.
Look at what isn’t hopeless:
When we’re in the midst of a tough, tough problem, it can seem that everything is bad. But if we look a little closer at our lives, we can see that while we may have a serious financial difficulty for instance, we also have a friend who is inviting us to dinner and sending us home with leftovers. Or we may see that in spite of our troubles, we’re still good at knitting or playing music or fixing things. Engaging in these activities brings us joy but then we can increase our joy and satisfaction by sharing them with others and bring them joy, too.
Realize that no one thing is necessary for your happiness:
We all have losses that go deep and it can seem that we’ll never be happy again, especially since we won’t have that person or that thing in our life any longer. Certainly we should take time to mourn and grieve, but we also need to know that we can–and we will–have new opportunities and new joys in our lives.
Appreciate the present:
Even though it might seem to us that there is nothing in our lives that’s good, we can prove to ourselves that this isn’t completely true. When we pause and immerse ourselves in the here-and-now, we find things such as we’re alive right here and right now in this moment; we have enough air to breathe and we’ll probably continue having enough breathable air; we can think; we can choose our thoughts…. These are all things to appreciate because they are ingredients that make up hope.
When Life hits hard, it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I’ve been there, done that. When I’m stumbling my way through these times here are a few things I do to help myself:
If I can, I find a way to experience Mother Nature. Ideally, I sit outside or go for a walk but many times for various reasons I can’t do this. Instead, I’ll gaze out my window at the landscape or I’ll look at pictures of flowers, trees, the beach, or a lake scene.
~Sit in Silence
I pause for a few moments and sit quietly, tuning into my inner self. I take several slow, steady breaths and repeat words such as ‘peace’ or ‘all is well’ or some other word or phrase that’s calming. Even if I’m at work or in the midst of others, I can still pause and tune inwardly.
~Get Away from Negative People and Hang Out with Positive People
When I’m in the middle of a rough patch, the last thing I need is to hang around Negative Ned and Debbie Downer. I need people who will encourage me and help me hold onto the shreds of hope I have left. These people are realistic in that they acknowledge I’m in a tough spot and that I may be scared, but then they remind me of what I’m good at and achievements I’ve enjoyed.
~Fill My Mind with Good Stuff
I go to YouTube and turn on messages of hope and encouragement. I’ll also read books that are uplifting and encouraging–and books that are fun, too!
~When I’m with Others, I Am Cheerful and Helpful
I do the very best to be pleasant and kind. Everyone has struggles and worries of their own and the last thing they need is for me to dump all my angst on them. Of course it’s fine to consult with professionals who are trained to help people in difficult situations, but co-workers, friends, acquaintances are not the same as trained professionals.
~Clean and Clear
I choose a small section of my home or office and throw things out. Then I’ll clean and organize what I’m keeping.
These tips may not instantly change my circumstances or me, but doing one or more of these really does lift my spirits.
If you try these, you may not be whistling and dancing and smiling huge afterward, but you’ll feel a little bit lighter and a little bit better afterward. I usually do!
What are some things you do to rejuvenate your hope? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!
Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come own from on high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen…yourself, right now, right down here on Earth. ~Bradley Whitford
I like the last lines of this quote: “…not by passively waiting…but by doing what you can…yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”
This clearly tells us the secret key to a constant state of hopefulness: action. Doing what we can with what we have right where we find ourselves in each moment.
It’s pausing to ask ourselves “What can I do right now that will point me in the direction of my soul prospering life?” Then following through on that answer.
Just like the spring flowers, little bit by little bit we open our souls to live full out in all our glory and beauty.
Hope is being able to see there is light in spite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu
Yes it’s true, we have another cold, rainy, dreary day here. It seems like a cosmic joke being played on us because although calendar says we should be well into the beauties of spring, I saw snow flurries this morning when I woke up!
I told you yesterday that the daffodils are blooming near me and, in spite of the flurries, on my way to work I noticed hyacinths blooming near a business’ front walkway. Seeing that flowers are beginning to bloom is giving me hope that spring really is on its way.
This is a great metaphor for Life. We can look out over our days and feel bleak, especially with Tax Day tomorrow here in the USA. It can be discouraging and depressing to write that check to the IRS and perhaps write another one for state taxes.
Instead of giving in to the disheartening things in Life, hold steady by seeking out the pockets of beauty, peace, and joy. For instance, in my case, I noticed that the forsythia is also beginning to bloom and I heard birds chirping this afternoon. This evening on my way home from a meeting, I rolled my car window down a little bit so that I could hear the Spring Peepers and other frogs in the pond that I drove by.
When situations in your life get you down, redouble your efforts to find things that bolster your hopefulness.
Today is Friday the 13th and, as I’ve written in previous posts, today is also known as Colgate Day. Colgate Alums, students, and others associated with the university, consider all Friday the 13ths to be their good luck days. It has to do with the lore surrounding the university’s founding.
The point, though, is that you don’t have to succumb to conventional wisdom regarding your dreams or what you consider to be a soul-prospering life. What one person—or even groups of people—see as a bad thing can actually be your good thing!
Take a page out of Colgate University’s playbook and don’t let anyone talk you out of your dreams, your Vision, and—most especially—your soul-prospering life.
You can do it!
Please sign up to receive these uplifting messages every day. The subscribe button is on the left hand side at the top of the page. Thanks!