Have you ever felt overwhelmed, like the path ahead of you is too long and rocky to even contemplate, let alone to venture down? If so, you’re not alone. We’ve all felt like that, and it is a normal part of the recovery process. Being overwhelmed isn’t a failure! It is your body and mind telling you to slow down, take deep breaths, and approach each day one at a time. In these anxious times, sometimes the big changes that need to happen in your life aren’t ones you’re able to face right now. Instead, it can help to focus on small changes – minuscule changes – to start shifting your mindset and shape the life you want to live.
Think One Positive Thought
One brilliant exercise to kickstart your mental recovery is this: think one positive thought each day, ideally in the morning. You’re not trying to force your brain into positivity and light, but simply offering it one nugget of goodness every day. Try writing them down in a journal so you have a solid record of your progress. These thoughts can be incredibly simple. For example ‘it’s sunny outside’, or ‘I’m lucky to be alive’, or even ‘I had a tasty brownie and that was good’. This might seem small, but it is a tiny way to start thinking differently about the world, and that can have lasting consequences.
In his book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, author Kamal Ravikant shares a method he used, while on the brink of suicide, to turn his life around. It started by taking 10 deep breaths every morning and evening before bed. However, it’s not simply a breathing exercise; as he breathes in he says to himself “I Love Myself” and as he exhales, he releases whatever needs to be released.
I don’t know if we can gratitude our way out of deep grief or depression. However, I do believe that actively flexing our optimism muscle by means of our thoughts, sets a strong foundation for the changes we wish to create in our lives. Because, when the going gets tough, we have a choice to either let our thoughts downward spiral us into worry and fear or keep us grounded in hope. And, because our thoughts play a pivotal role in the mind-body connection, our thoughts greatly influence our health, too. If you’ve never read Loise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, I highly recommend it if you’re dealing with health concerns.
Have you ever had a haircut and felt on top of the world? Small changes to your appearance can have a major impact on your feelings of confidence and self-worth. It’s not shallow, it’s part of being human, and it’s time to embrace that. Find one small way you can treat yourself and let yourself know that you are valued and beautiful. This could be a fresh haircut, a facial, or a nice piece of clothing. If you wear glasses, how about finding a store with a big selection and picking a brand new pair that makes you feel effortlessly stylish? It can be anything, whatever works for you, as long as it gives you a small feeling of joy in yourself.
When I think back to when I was having my mid-life unraveling, I recall that self-care was not my priority. I would go three days without showering. I did not have self-care on a pedestal. And, it’s amazing how a shower can feel like a reset in your day. Put some intention into your self-care, including your appearance, and it shifts something inside you.
See One Friend Every Month
Grief can do strange things to a person; it can make you withdraw, and make it much harder for you to connect with other people. This has a domino effect, and finding a way back into the world is easier said than done. Immediately reentering large social situations may feel simply unfeasible. It’s important that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself, as this can lead to stress and therefore backward steps. Instead, commit to one small social act, for example, seeing a friend for coffee each month. This can be the same friend, or you can cycle through your social circle: whatever works for you. The vital part of this is that you are giving yourself time to recover whilst gently encouraging yourself into good habits. Your friends will understand, and they will also be delighted to see you and spend time with you.
Now is a great time to add in some small things to your day to improve your mood, given the current times. I send you loving thoughts as you navigate all of the changes you are facing, and when you’re having a rough day, it’s normal and natural to feel all the things. There’s nothing wrong with you. The question is, how long do you want to reside in “Gloomville?”
Some days, it’s going to take effort to shift your thinking, take a shower, or visit a friend – this is true. However, the days you decide to choose YOU, is already an act of rebellion against the monster of negativity looming over you – and all of us. Light your light shine bright, friend, and start within – someone else next to you may need it.
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