Tuesday, February 18, 2014

10 Things I Do When I'm Feeling Down

All week long I have been focusing on my Adversity Lesson and it has helped me reflect and think about how I handle the struggles I'm going through in my life.  I've thought about my good days and bad days and what has helped me make it through the bad.  

In our family growing up, I was the middle child.  I was the trouble maker and I know the most difficult kid to raise (sorry mom and dad).  My older brother, Adam, on the other hand, was perfect.  He always looked out for me and protected me.  He was seriously my hero as I awkwardly stumbled through childhood.

I have this memory of the two of us.  I was mad about something and sitting up in my room listening to music or whatever it is teenagers do when their angry with their parents.  Adam came in and sat down beside me.  I vented to him about everything, how "this isn't fair" and "why wont they let me do this?"  He sat silently and listened to every word.
I knew he understood.  I knew he was listening with his whole heart and was aware of what I was feeling.  Then he gave me some advice.  He put the situation into a different perspective and had me try and put myself in mom's and dad's shoes.  Adam has always been an old, wise soul, even during his youth.  He was there that day to comfort me and cheer me up.
The most important part of this memory was what happened next.  He nudged me and said, "C'mon.  Don't sit in your room being upset all day.  Let's go and do something."  

When I think about the atonement, I know that the Lord knows my pains and can comfort me when I'm feeling sad.  But sometimes I stop there.  Sometimes it feels good to be sad.  I feel more justified about what I'm going through and find myself sitting alone feeling sorry for myself.  But the Lord doesn't want us to do this.  It's okay to feel sorrow at first, but we also need to move on.  

Even though our Savior went through pain and suffering, I don't think he would sit and linger on the negative experiences he went through.  And neither should we.  When we are faced with a difficult trial the Lord can come into our lives and understand us and comfort us through the atonement.  But then we need to get up and move on.  He wants us to take his hand, walk away from our sorrows, and be happy.

I sat down and decided to make a list of my TOP TEN things I do to try and stay positive.

I know this sounds SUPER corny, but I swear it works.
I was on my way to work one day, just grumpy as could be.  I didn't want to go, I was practically in tears and for some reason I started listing to myself all of the things I was thankful for in that five minute drive.  By the time I arrived I was SO HAPPY.  I spent my entire shift smiling and being thankful for everything around me, including my great job!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "If we are practicing our faith and seeking the companionship of the Holy Spirit, His presence can be felt in our hearts and in our homes."  
Whenever I'm just feeling "BLEH," it helps when I walk in the living room and switch on some uplifting music.  I turn on my SCENTSY to lighten the mood and tidy up any clutter.  Then I bake some cookies or find and activity that brings peace into my home.

I have tried doing this in the past and it didn't work.  I would find a fresh hobby or learn something new and would eventually get bored, find myself down again and now burdened with unfinished projects to add to my list of things to do.  
The key is truly finding something you are PASSIONATE about.  
It took me a while to discover what my passion was.  It even took nights and nights of praying, asking my Heavenly Father to help me find ways to be happy and adapt to my circumstances instead of pleading for my circumstances to change.  
But one day I found it and I began writing.  And I kept writing every single day and still do.  I have found that my positive attitude has been stronger these last few months than they've ever been before.  I have used my writing to keep myself distracted from my troubles.  

Everyone has a love language, right?  And a love tank that constantly needs to be filled to feel appreciated?  I have come to realize that I have a spiritual tank.  And when I receive priesthood blessings of comfort from my husband or another priesthood holder my tank OVERFLOWS.  It gives me a huge emotional boost knowing my Heavenly Father is there for me and loves me.
The words of comfort which are spoken I know are coming directly from my Father in Heaven and I can't describe the peace and happiness I feel inside when I feel His love encompass my soul.

This one is kind of like when I count my blessings.  At first I might roll my eyes and think of it more like a chore than something fun to do, but once I act upon it I end my day with feelings of pure joy.  When you find someone around you to help and serve, you become numb to your own worries and adjust your focal point to someone who needs it more.  
I have a challenge for you.  Set aside a teeny, tiny, microscopic budget for helping others.  I mean it.  Do it.  Now.  Go.  Seriously.
Even if it's two dollars a day.  That adds up to $62 by the end of the month.  Take that money and plan an activity with your family to anonymously help another person.  I swear, you will be smiling all week long!  Whether you use it to pay for someone's dinner, donate it to a charity, or buy a huge bag of dog food and doorbell ditch the local humane society with fresh puppy chow, giving away your money to help others is so fulfilling and rewarding deep in your shaky bones.

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:40

Sometimes if I get a little depressed all I need is a simple change.  Moving things around to grasp that "fresh start" feeling helps me feel motivated to get up and do things.  We've started getting giddy for spring cleaning the house and embracing that extra refreshing boost.

So weird, I know.  But whenever I'm feeling down, I do this and I love it.  I turn on the water and quickly memorize which shelf has the shampoo bottle and which one has the conditioner so I don't mix them up, then shut off the lights and shower in complete darkness.  It helps me sort through my thoughts.  I like to do this to get inspired to write too.  Something about the darkness takes away distractions and allows me to focus and think more clearly.  It can help me control my thoughts so I can brush out the negative and embrace the positive.

This is incredibly easy to do when one is married to a mountain man.  Mitch can be busy working on anything and if I tell him I feel like going on a hike, he will literally drop everything and say, "I'll go get my boots."  I think being away from people and surrounding yourself with nature's tranquility allows you to meditate and see a bigger picture so you can realize how little your problems are on the grand scale of things.

If I'm grumpy and desperate, I run to the freezer and chow down on vanilla ice cream.  With chocolate sauce.  And whipped cream.  AND rainbow sprinkles.
Sometimes I just need a fun shopping day to buy a new outfit or I'll get some flowers for the kitchen table.  The other day I was feeling negative and I had this strange desire to color in a coloring book, so BY GOLLY I DID!!  I" kindergardened" it up (yes, I made that verb up) and dusted off my colored pencils.  I may have felt a little childish, but strangely I felt satisfied and happier afterwards.  I do what I want!

Even if I'm just walking around the outside of the building, I feel a beautiful peace.  The temple to me is a lot like when I'm out in nature.  My perspective is forced outside of myself and everything seems bigger.  Countless times I have attended the temple because I was troubled by something and seeking inspiration.  But as soon as I step inside, none of it matters anymore.  I sit in the celestial room and stare at the awe-inspiring chandeliers sparkling above me and realize everything is taken care of.  Our adversities and afflictions shall be but a small moment. Everything will be okay and no matter what trial I am facing, with help from the Lord, I can withstand anything.



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