While going along with your day, you smile for no apparent reason.
After a few seconds of reflection, you realize you are smiling as you did something to “better” yourself that day. It may be doing your workout or finishing your chores despite feeling tired.
These achievements are not remarkable, but they make your world brighter for that moment. You feel happy and more energetic, ready for your next task, all rejuvenated.
These small pleasures we often fail to nurture in our search for having fun and excitement in our lives. For example, you want to buy a particular car, and you save money for it. You are thrilled once you get the vehicle, cherish every moment, but then life takes over, and you forget about these happy moments.
On the other hand, if you lose out on your dream of owning a car due to financial problems, you get dejected and lose pleasure in life. You feel like a failure and think less of yourself.
How would you come out of this emotional state? In other words, how can you create joyful moments, helping you in your dark moments?
The first step is to have a schedule or a plan for your day. Structure brings calmness when you feel you have lost direction in life; or feel listless and tired.
To elaborate, you wake up feeling sad, unable to leave your bed; you know it will not be a good day for you. Instead of forcing yourself to leave your bed, eyes closed make a resolution or intention that you will treat yourself, like going out for coffee. That will enable you to leave your bed and get dressed.
Also, plan the rest of your morning so you are near your home to feel “safe,” which is essential for your anxiety management.
For example, when you are going about your day, you start feeling anxious, get sweaty palms or have erratic breathing. In this case, you know you have to return home to feel better, have a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in your easy chair with a blanket.
Again when you or your loved one cannot go about your typical day, or have problems waking up and choose to stay in bed, this is not the time for self-blame, which will only increase your mental health issues.
Pan for small, incremental goals so you feel comfortable yet still, get a sense of accomplishment. For example, while having your coffee, you can practice meditation by focusing your attention on the aroma of fresh coffee. Once you feel better, you can make a resolution to do a few stretches or go for a short walk.
Thus by planning, you can have a more typical day; recognizing your successes gives you positive feedback that you are doing “something” in your day.
Furthermore, one of the feelings predominant in depressive symptomatology is not being good enough, minimizing any positive efforts to feel better, an all-or-nothing thinking error, which leads to wanting perfectionism in all interactions.
In conclusion, in your efforts towards your recovery, identify the behaviours you adopt to feel better. In this case, watch for quick-fix measures, substance usage, or comfort eating. Additionally, make a mental list of the moments which bring you joy. Next, look at the explanations for these moments, the efforts you make to create these moments.
Having a repertoire of positive thoughts will be your source of empowerment and joy.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and should not substitute for consultations with a qualified professional.
This article was published in the Telegraph-Journal.
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