Optimism: Not Just Thinking Postively

On days like today, when I’ve tried to write a blog entry at least 10 times, repeatedly backspacing over my words, I think to myself:

“I KNEW it!  You suck.  You are not creative or interesting and THIS is why you are depressed.  This is why you can’t get a job or lose weight or make new friends.  Why are you trying to change, when you know people don’t change.  You are depressed and there isn’t anything you can do about it.  So, just stop trying already!” 

In the past (the recent past) I would act as though I agreed with this slimy inner voice by lying down and watching TV all day, knowing that I hate doing that, because it makes me feel so worthless.  Doing nothing tanks my self-esteem, feeds my depression, anxiety, and PTSD, causing me to do more of…well…nothing.

But, my new way of thinking (cue the optimism!) is my best tool in this war on depression and anxiety I’ve waged.  Is it easy to dig past my mind’s first line of defense – self-hate, insults, blame, defeatism?

No. It is not!

But, I do it anyway.  Even if it is just a little tiny bit.  Here are some of my strategies:

1. Writing: I expose my thought mismanagement by writing it down and arguing with it.  For me, just thinking in my head doesn’t cut it.  When I see it on paper, it seems more real and manageable.

2. I move my body.  I have to talk myself into this each time, but I never regret it.

3. I surf the web for really cool graphics that appeal to me and that have a positive message.

4. I routinely ask my brain: what are the positives that are happening in this moment?  Yes, even the other day when I wrecked my car! (See this post: “I Wrecked My Car, But I’m Still Happy?” http://wp.me/p4zNG3-26 )

5. I stay away from negative things like the news and negative people.  I find that the news brings me down, because it is hardly ever good news!

I leave you with an inspirational quote from Helen Keller:

ImageYou probably have some really cool ways to manage your depression and anxiety that I haven’t thought of.  Share them in the comments!  I need all the help I can get!

 

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