Nothing derails my thinking towards the negative faster than having unmet needs. It does not matter if that unmet need is real or imagined. Even if I perceive a need may not be met in the future, the negative thinking begins. Making me destined to be depressed.
Having learned the lesson that it is always how I am thinking that puts me on that downward spiral towards depression. I remind myself daily to be careful of my thinking, to keep that sentry posted at the door of my mind to keep unwanted thoughts out. More importantly, I do my best to ensure that my needs, be they real or imagined, are met in the present and in the future to the best of my ability.
The biggest thing to derail my thinking into believing my needs will not be met in the future is uncertainty. Just so you know, uncertainty only happens in the present, but it makes itself look it is a long dark tunnel leading forever into your future. Uncertainty is like quicksand for me, quickly sucking me down into that pit of depression.
How do you remove uncertainty from your life?
- Lower your expectations and develop an attitude of acceptance and gratitude – lower your expectations of yourself and others. Get rid of that perfectionist attitude. Nobody is perfect and if you interject a little acceptance of yourself and others into your life you will find that things quickly smooth out. Most peoples first response to developing an attitude of acceptance is that they will become a doormat. Not so, and this is because of another word, “Boundaries.” Simply put boundaries are the lines we don’t let others cross and something we need to learn as well. Finding things to be grateful for in the here and now helps you build a strong foundation for your life. Gratitude is the foundation of life and the springboard of hope.
- Set goals and work towards them – by setting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals you have a direction in which to steer. Making a daily to-do list and at the end of the day checking them off as done brings on that sense of accomplishment. Checking them off as done also removes a certain amount of uncertainty from your life. Setting longer range goals and accomplishing them gives you that sense direction that we lack and place more certainty in our lives. We no longer feel like a rudderless ship on the waves heading for the rocks. The key to goals, both daily and long range is working towards them. If you do nothing things will stay the same.
- Quit the “What if” game – One of the most disempowering things you can do is fall into the “what if” trap. Not only does this take all your power and suck it into a never-ending loop. As my wise counselor told me, “The “what if” game makes you think you are God and have control. You are not God and you are not in control.”
- Learn the first part of the Serenity Prayer and use it. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” By practicing the directions of this prayer, staying calm is situations that are beyond your control. Acting on things within your control, “You are the only thing you can control, your thoughts, words, actions and reactions.” Learning to know the difference between what you can control and what you can’t. You will find that in time a lot of uncertainty in your life simply vanishes.
There is a number of things I can add to this list but learning to practice these first four things to the best of my ability removed a large amount of the uncertainty from my life.
As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations or other external things. Remember our battle for mental health will always be with our minds and our minds alone.
The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”
I say,” Work hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.
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BLOG OF THE WEEK:
Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well. This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you. I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Kristina Ostermeyer as posted in New Life Outlook.