Mental Health Monday

Discouragement

This is a rambling post. But rambling can be good, right?

Let’s jump right in. No one…and I mean no one can escape discouragement. Whether it’s the occasional setback or the constant drone of a buzzing bad hand that gets you down, discouragement will find you. And it’ll find you whenever it wants.

It’s not fun. It’s awful. It hurts. And in that moment, it can feel like the whole world is coming to an end. I’ve been there. Some years more than others. Some weeks more than others. Sometimes it’s a bad run, an injury, bad finances, being plagued by a cold, a bout of depression or all of the above. We’ve all had those weeks where nothing seems to go our way.

The problem isn’t that the bad days, weeks, or months are happening (though I guess that’s arguable). The problem is in how we handle them. Two things. One, a lot of times when we are met with a struggle we immediately give in even if we don’t think we are. Two, we don’t face the adversity at all but spend all our time trying to circumnavigate it. We all the idea of “if there’s a wall in front of you, find a way to go around it” but does it have to be that way?

What if the wall in front of you can be pushed down?

Right?

Not an outlandish thought. What if you come right up to the wall, look at it and decide that you can’t push it down and there’s no easy way to go around it just by a look. Well, then you’re going to spend ridiculous amounts of energy trying to go around a cardboard wall. And you’ll never know it’s cardboard. When I reach an obstacle in my life, I try the easy things first. Push, pull, slide, all that jazz. I’m not going to spend years building a bridge over the wall before I try all ten thousand things before that option.

With that being said, let’s get into it.

  1. Acknowledge

This one is a big one. When you’re facing something yucky, first step is to look at the situation and say, “Yep. This sucks. This is what’s happening.” Aside from taking an honest look at things and facing the adversity, it forces you to relinquish control over the situation. Unfortunately, we don’t have control over a lot of things. Our struggles are the same. We don’t always have control of a bad week once a few things go downhill, we can’t always stop those things from happening. But acknowledging that it is happening, is a good first step to controlling what we can…even if it means letting go of our perceived control.

2. Acceptance

This is important too. Once we acknowledged that something’s happened, we have to accept that it’s happened. This is harder. It’s hard enough to admit you’re having a hard time, accepting that? Well, gee. No one wants to do that.

But hear me out. Embrace it. Bad things happen. Bad weeks happen. It’s no use fighting it tooth and nail. You’ll expend more mental energy than you need to and burn yourself out. Accept it. Even if it is awful, accept it. It’ll only make you stronger.

3. Keep going (with positivity)

So you’re discouraged, still, but you’ve both acknowledged and accepted what’s going on. So what do you do? How do you overcome this? You don’t. You just keep pushing through. Don’t change a thing. Force yourself to smile. Look up things that make you laugh. Keep exercising, keep eating right, keep going. If a maniac is sprinting at you while you’re on a light jog, are you in your right mind going to sit down? No! You’re going to run! So, run. Keep going about your normal business. It’ll pay off, promise.

Also, keep your thoughts in check. Don’t talk down to yourself. Don’t tell yourself this is terrible, you won’t make it. And do not dwell. Don’t dwell on what’s happening. Give it an appropriate amount of thought, but don’t let it live there forever.

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Photo by Isaque Pereira on Pexels.com

Is that really it? Three things?

Kinda.

It feels counterintuitive. But I have to fight! I have to overcome! Do you? I think there are certain situations where yes, you do. A normal phase of discouragement, rough days? I don’t think so. I think it’s much less severe than we make it out to be. You be the judge of that. Next time you encounter a day or week where nothing goes right, try it out. Work a little harder and remember not every wall is strong.

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