Friday, July 15, 2016

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Pushing Through

I've felt pretty blah the last couple of days.

This isn't me, but it very well could be...especially with the snack in hand.
I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's the adjustment back to "normal" life after a nice week of vacation. Maybe it's the reminder that we live in an unstable world full of crazy people that drive trucks through happy crowds of people minding their own business. Maybe it's from letting some of my negative thoughts stick around too long and wreak havoc in my brain.

At our Fresh Hope support group last night we talked about challenging negative thinking. It's a tricky thing for people who suffer with a mood disorder: Is the depression causing the negative thoughts or is the negative thinking adding to the depression?

As someone who has dealt with depression, it's important for me to recognize negative thinking when it occurs. I thought I was getting pretty good at that, but our discussion last night helped me to see that I've been letting some negative thoughts influence my mood.

Here are some ideas to challenge thinking negatively:

  • Retrain your brain. Acknowledge the negative thought, but look at it logically and try to change how you are thinking.
  • Talk to a trained therapist who can help you learn strategies for replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Write your negative thoughts in a journal. If you like doing this, it can help you to evaluate whether your thoughts are true or not and also notice triggers that get you thinking negatively.
  • Relaxation. This can reduce "clutter" in your mind and short-circuit the urge to focus too much on your negative thoughts.
  • Work on your physical well-being. Eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and being around other people can help you feel better about yourself and give you the energy you need to challenge those negative thoughts.

The most important reminder I got last night was when we read the Fresh Hope tenets. We read these basic principles weekly and one sentence really hit me: I choose the support of people who will urge me to "push through."

That's what I want to leave you with this week. If you're feeling blah from depression or just the everyday ups and downs of life, keep pushing throughThe negative thoughts, the tough situations, the challenges you think you can't succeed at...all of those will be behind you soon enough if you just push through. You may need help from a loved one or a professional, but it will be worth it. Please, don't give up.  

I didn't feel like writing tonight, but I'm so glad I "pushed through" and did it anyway. I hope you can push through, too, whatever your situation is.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Do you struggle with negative thinking? How can focusing on God help you to keep pushing through in spite of your negative thoughts and emotions?

*Many of the practical ideas in this week's blog came from Fresh Hope's Topic Card #405 - Challenging Negative Thinking

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