This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light.This has been a difficult post for me to write. I have a tendency to "look" like a positive person and even "talk" like a positive person, but inside I struggle with a lot of negative thoughts and feelings about myself and my situation in life. I think many of us do. When I feel myself slipping into a pattern of negative thinking, these are some of the things I try to do.
1. Count my many blessings- Sometimes I get into the pattern of wishing this or that could be different. So much so that I don't acknowledge the the ways that I have been richly blessed. Sometimes when I pray, I challenge myself to only give thanks. I don't ask for anything. I just list all my blessings and thank God for all the good things He has given me. I usually end up in tears, but happy tears are good.
2. Be thankful for my challenges- Yes, that's right. Be thankful for the hard times in life, because they will make you stronger and cause you to grow as a person.
There is a law in medicine called Wolff's Law. It states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads it is placed under. If stress on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.
I think that the same principle applies to us. Over time, with determination and faith, we can be strengthened as individuals to bear the loads we are asked to bear.
I see this all the time in my work as a Physical Therapist Assistant. One example that stands out to me was a man who had sustained a traumatic brain injury by falling off a roof. He was working so hard to relearn some of the simple daily activities that we do with out thinking. About 3 weeks into his rehab, were walking together with his 3 IV poles when he saw a lady on a mat who looked like she was in a lot of pain. She had recently had a knee replacement and was working with a therapist to get it to bend. My patient who had endured a life altering injury leaned over to me and said, "Glad that's not me!"
He was learning to deal with his challenge. He was being strengthened to bear his load so it didn't seem so heavy anymore. And isn't it true that you can look at other people's problems and be instantly thankful for your own!!! It keeps it all in perspective.
3. Forget myself and help others- There is something very spiritual about helping others. When I set off to help others, I am the one who gets blessed. I feel happy, peaceful, content...positive.
4. Exercise and eat well- I can tell you from personal experience that this works! I have dealt with postpartum depression with all my kids. After my second child, I was having daily panic attacks and I felt like I was in a dark hole that was impossible to escape. I felt alone and hopeless. I started talking to a therapist and learned how to cope with the anxiety. I knew that a lot of my anxiety stemmed from concerns about my health, so I decided to get really healthy so I wouldn't worry anymore. I hired a trainer and it changed my whole way of thinking. He helped me get into the best shape of my life. I became stronger physically and also personally. My confidence grew and I had a passion that I enjoyed. I became an endorphin junkie! My whole way of thinking changed and I have not had a problem with panic attacks or irrational, obsessive thoughts since.
5. Remember....- One of the most important words we use. When I feel overwhelmed and hopeless, I try to remember challenges that I (with help from above) have overcome in the past. I try to remember the good that came out of those hard times. I try to remember that, just as in the past, I can overcome hardship. I will learn. I will become stronger. Maybe some good will come of it. Maybe in the future I can help others who are going through the same thing.
I'm thankful that I have kept a journal in certain periods of my life. It is kind of amazing to look back and see how some of my darkest and lowest times opened me up to new understanding about life.
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