What to Do When You're Discouraged
Discouraged? Disappointed? Let down? In the dumps? Without valleys, there are no mountains.
Grumpy's Dad used to say, "Try to remember your lowest point twelve months ago, when the world was collapsing around you, your hopes were dashed and the universe was in a conspiracy to push you down".
Grumpy says he could never remember that event and his dad would say, "...and that's exactly how this current discouragement will feel twelve months from now. You won't even remember it".
We talk about long term planning but not so much about long term thinking. Even the worst discouragements will pass and with any luck they open the door for new opportunities. The worst is when you start revelling in your discouragement or bad luck and miss the road to the next mountain.
Do some people get more discouraged than others?
Some people approach each new situation with a loser attitude. They are preconditioned to failure. They start out by being discouraged that soon they'll be discouraged again.
So much of life is attitude. But telling people they should have a more positive attitude is silly. If they could, they would.
Sometimes, folks with a touch of introversion are less able to crawl out of the pit of discouragement. Links to others form ladders and with no ladders, it's hard to crawl up the sheer walls of despond.
Especially with younger people, they accept the wild aspiration of their parents or others for a level of performance that so exceeds their present capabilities and all they can do is fail.
Discouragement is inevitable as they repeatedly fail and feel that they've let their parents down. If they're introverted, they'll feel this more strongly.
The American psychologist and educator, Rudolf Dreikurs, strongly believed that "encouragement is for the child's development what water is for the plant; neither can grow without it". When praise and encouragement is absent in one's upbringing, there is the tendency to feel more discouraged.
Depressed and overstressed people may also be prone to discouragement. On the other hand, your complete Doofus is almost never depressed as he bubbles his way through an essentially meaningless life. We do have choices.
How does one get out of discouragement?
Here are some antidotes you can use to get back on your feet and get marching. Remember the number 1 rule...never ever give up. Nil Desperandum.
1. Go for a walk. Just keep walking until you feel better. If there's a park close by, go there. Walking in nature gives you energy and sometimes, this is just what you need. Your energy gets depleted and you need to replace it. More importantly, you’ll see that the world is not your enemy.
2. Get moving. Dance if you must. Exercise. Motion gives movement and gets us doing something. It reenergizes us.
3. Learn Tai Chi. The movements are more flowing and imitating of nature's rhythm.
4. Listen to music. Music has its way of getting us to embrace harmony, rhythm and gets us out of what we are going through to enter into the words and emotions of the songs. We get lost in it and it uplifts our spirit.
5. Talk to a friend. Choose one who is always fun and perky. Whine your heart out and have a good laugh with him or her. You'll feel better afterwards.
6. Meditate. Yes, quiet time may just be what you need to recover. Stress may have depleted your energy and meditation allows you to recover your balance, get into your inner selves where your life energy resides.
7. Have some comfort food. Healthy or not, just have your favourite. Just to lift yourself up. Not too much though and don't do it everyday. Remember, add something healthy each time. Even if it is just a few berries or a slice of watermelon.
8. Read a good book. With a Kindle, you're only a click away from a good read. Get a book on successful people. Read how they've coped with their own discouragement and rose from it to do amazing things.
9. Plant something or just buy a plant. Nothing like growing life around you as a great antidote. Get some flowers and fill your room with colours.
10. Visit an orphanage or daycare. Being with children changes your perspective about life.
11. Do something good for someone. Lift up someone's day. You'll be surprised at how much you yourself will be lifted up.
12. Take a day course. You can do this online or in your community college. Check out Coursera or MOOCs. There are many of these day courses that are interesting and fun to take. You meet other people and some would certainly be interesting. You might just enjoy the interaction even online.
13. Watch a fun movie or television program and laugh your heart out.
14. Have a change of environment. Go to the beach. Visit a park and stay there the whole day. Have a picnic.
15. Explore your area. There are things you may see differently or discover something you have not noticed before.
16. Take a dozen eggs and go somewhere you can throw hard each of these. That will send all those accumulated negative thoughts and vibes and stress away.
17. Go with the flow. Embrace what you're feeling. Listen to it. Write it out in your journal. It might come out as one of your best writing ever.
None of these is new wave or artsy crafty artisanal. This is just old fashion good sense that has worked for all humans for thousands of years. Ok, maybe not the television.
3 People Who Have Beaten Discouragement
History has given us examples of leaders who climbed out of the depths of discouragement and repeatedly triumphed.
In your own life, you know people like this and you read of some in the newspapers but there are countless others who everyday master discouragement and help others do the same. Here are 3 favourites from history:
Discouragement Can Be Beaten
Utter discouragement is the loneliest depth humans reach. What differentiates us is how we manage it, how we climb out of the pit, and how we move on.
If it were easy, advice would not be necessary but all of history tells us that it can be done and must be done day after day.