Well it has been another week, what has gone well?
This week I’d like to focus on a rather broad topic – life!
As you know, life can be quite complex. Throughout our lives, there will be good times, bad times, stressful times, sad times, worry times, happy times, exciting times, all kinds of times. In many ways the goal in life is to learn how to manage our lives regardless of the time. The various strategies and ideas I write about in this blog tends to target helping those struggling with depression or anxiety. However, the truth of the matter is is that they are strategies and ideas for how to manage and cope with every day life. You don’t have to be depressed to start using a daily activity schedule in order to create some motivation, purpose or structure to your day. You don’t need to be anxious to use a journal to challenge and replace worry thoughts so you can calm down. After awhile, many of these “strategies” will become automatic and natural in your every day life. Learning to focus on and notice the positives in each day or what you appreciate helps to maintain that feeling of optimism and sense of feeling good. As you know perception is reality. If you tend to wear dark glasses all the time then everything you see will be filtered through that lens of gloom and doom. Now that doesn’t mean we all become pollyannas. However, it does mean that it is important to notice how we look at and interpret our world. If we believe that we only need to use these “strategies” when we are feeling depressed or anxious, what happens when we start feeling good?
Think of it this way. If you start to exercise and eat healthier to lose weight and feel better, do you stop once you reach your goal weight and are feeling better? The reason you likely are feeling better and reached your goal weight is because you started exercising and eating healthier! The reason you are feeling more confident, calm, optimistic, and better about yourself is because of the various coping skills and strategies you have been using.
Going to therapy to “stop being depressed or anxious” is NOT the real goal. The real goal is to learn how to manage life regardless of what life presents. If you like how you feel when you are using the various life skills and strategies of exercising, engaging in self-care, noticing what is going well, challenging unwanted thought patterns, questioning our beliefs about ourselves and deciding how we want think and what we want to believe about ourselves, then it keep it up.
You don’t have to be happy or calm all the time. You just need to know how to take charge of your emotions when you want to feel a certain way. You decide!
~ Dr. Lou