Because I was an agoraphobic for several years and now travel almost weekly encouraging others, many people contact me to help them deal with their tangles of emotions. Here are a few things I share with them. They will seem too simple but trust me they work.
If what you are doing in your life isn’t working, today is a good day to Stop It and try something else. To get in the habit of ineffective behavior is to help yourself stay stuck. So let’s deliberately move on.
Don’t indulge self-pity, which can be our tendency when sad feelings show up at our doorstep. “Why me?” “Why this?” “Why now?” While these are knee-jerk questions we ask ourselves they are not beneficial to dwell on, because they fan the flame of our anger, which fuels sadness.
Instead let’s ask “What have I done in the past that has helped me and what new strategies might I employ to deal with these feelings?” Remember emotions don’t have reasoning skills, they weren’t meant to do our thinking for us. So let’s engage our minds and our will…and here’s one way to begin.
Make a list of three things that you will try-out TODAY to improve the quality of your existence. For instance:
Sadness usually sits, so move. You can command your muscles to obey even if your emotions are trying to drag you to yonder chair. Purpose to stay busy in meaningful ways, but don’t try to outrun your stress or you will generate more anxiety. Extremes complicate our plight for balance. Set a sane pace.
Do something sweet for someone (keep it simple) with no expectation of recompense. It is good when we get stuck in the muck of ourselves to think of ways to love others…unless you are a incessant people-pleaser then its usually best to reassess your own needs and address them–spread the love to include yourself. You may have spent your energy-wad and instead of sad you are just plain exhausted…in that case, incorporate a nap in your schedule and go to bed earlier.
Make a gratitude list & post it where you can see it daily. Gratitude builds internal well-being, aids good mental health, and improves the quality of our inter-action with others. It’s a simple task with great dividends. I post some of my list on a blackboard in my kitchen so I see it many times a day. Here are a few things I celebrate: bird songs, church bells, children’s laughter, sunshine dancing across my wooden floors, breezes that gently rustle the trees, and the voice of a friend.
Hope these help rev up your life-engine this week. There’s nothing like moving forward to revive a droopy spirit. On Wednesday I will consider a few more ways we can add to our cheer and carry on.