Dharma's visit this morning was one that gave me hope. At a time when hope can seem like it's in short supply, my wise friend and teacher had this to say on the subject.
"If a frog believes that this tomorrow could be better, he can bear his hardship today." Humans and animals have many things in common and "learned helplessness" is one of them. When animals are faced with a difficult situation that they cannot control, they give up and become passive. Humans do this, too. When humans experience devastating defeats, a persistent situation that they couldn't change, or experienced a terrifying situation that they could not control their exposure to then they, too, may lose hope for their ability to change their life or to change painful situations. These repeated, yet, unsuccessful attempt to change things can lead to feelings of hopelessness. When hope disappears, so does your energy and motivation. This leads to self-fulfilling prophecies of that no matter what you do or try, it just won't work out. At least for you. So how can we overcome these feelings of despair and resignation? Here are a few of Dharma's best suggestions.
1. Find a clear path through the emotional fog. Being able to see how the steps you are taking will lead to the desired change is critical to having hope. If you don't logically see how what you are doing can have a positive result, then carrying out the plan will likely be difficult. Write down your steps and make a note of how or why doing this will help you. As you do each step read your reasons for doing them. Remind yourself that it can produce a positive result.
2. Do what you know you can do. When you are in despair, taking one step that is out of your routine can help break the sense of powerlessness you have. Make your bed. Cook dinner. Talk to a friend. Take a step you know you can do and that action can make a difference over time. Keep doing it and then try to add more actions. Overcoming the inertia of helplessness can help you build hope.
3. Perform an act of kindness. This may not seem like much of a step, but performing small acts of kindness can have a dramatic effect on your mood and outlook. Kindness triggers the release of serotonin, so it has an anti-depressant effect. It also calms stress and helps reduce pain. Did you know that there has been a lot of research done that shows our mood and our level of chronic pain are tied together? The more depressed and hopeless one is, the greater their level of physical discomfort. Small acts of kindness that you do repeatedly can help you feel more connected and have a greater sense of contribution.
4. Practice mindfulness. Staying in the present moment can be a challenge when you're feeling depressed and hopeless. Your thoughts may naturally wander to the past and focus on events that didn’t work out or other situations that were painful. That will often add to your depression and hopelessness. When you are depressed you have difficulty seeing any positive events or remembering that you were ever happy. When you focus your attention on the here and now, you are able to find more peace and less stress. There are many websites offering free mindfulness exercises.
Sipping on the last vestige of tea, Dharma reminded me that hope is what keeps us going; what gives us the courage to face each new day. Staying positive, no matter the situation can be hard...very hard, but it can be done. It takes time and a little effort. Starting with these four baby steps can get you or a loved one, on the road to feeling happier and more positive about the future. each new day is a new beginning...a present to be opened and savored. Until tomorrow, I wish you a safe and fun Halloween.
As promised, Count Frogula is here with his own brand of ghoulish humor. Look below his picture for a few of his best Halloween jokes!
Q. Why can't you stab a zombie with a broken pencil? A. Because it's pointless.
Q. What did the judge say when the zombie walked into the courtroom?
A. Odor in the court!
Q. Did you hear the joke about the zombie who was taken out by a trash can?
A. It was rubbish!
Q. Why did the zombie have a pet frog? A. To pick the flies out from between his teeth!
Q. Where do vampires keep their money? A. In the blood bank.
Q. How does a girl vampire flirt? A. She bats her eyes.
Q. What's a vampire's favorite soup? A. Scream of tomato.
Q. What does a vampire take for a bad cold? A. Coffin drops.
Q. What's a vampire favorite animal? A. A giraffe, of course!
That's it for me this year. Thanks for stopping by. Until we meet again...be afraid, be very, very afraid!
~ Count Frogula