Tuesday, June 22, 2010

overcoming the doldrums.

{from here}

Lately I've felt myself feeling and acting eerily similar to the grouchy ladybug we all read about in kindergarten. I'm easily discouraged and frustrated; I'm more tearful than usual. My feelings are easily hurt. (No, I'm not pregnant. Thanks for asking.)

What I've got is a case of the doldrums, brought on by drama, fatigue, stress, hurtful people, and the oil spill in the Gulf.

But I'm fighting back.

And I thought I'd share with you how.

Tip #1: Pray, pray, pray. In the mornings, I get in the car and drive to the work sans CD or radio. Instead, I talk, outloud, to God. Sometimes I don't say much. Sometimes I tell Him everything (and I do mean everything). Other times, I just listen. But I can tell it's helping. We're getting back into a good rhythm, me and God. And I like it.

Tip #2: Give yourself a daily reminder. In a book I read this spring (sadly, I can't remember which one), the author suggested setting your computer password to something inspiring. She discussed how most of us sit down at our computer at least daily, and if you're like me, you have to type your work password over and over again (in the morning, after potty breaks, after lunch). So, I followed her suggestion, and when it came time to reset my computer password at work, I picked a phrase I thought would provide just the pick-me-up I need. Now, every morning I'm reminded, in a subtle way, to be filled with gratitude. Some suggestions for your own new password: Stop complaining. Chin up. Smile always. Be content.

Tip #3: Memorize Scripture. I bet most of us stopped memorizing Scripture after Sunday school stopped requiring it. It's not something adults choose to focus on, and I'm not sure why. Last week, a sweet older friend of mine sent me a package: at least 100 business-card sized cards with Bible verses on them. Only, my name is plugged into each verse! (Example: Beloved Annie, remember: when you have reached the end of your strength, the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Prov. 18:10).) It's seriously one of the best things I've ever received. So I stuck a couple on my dashboard and have practiced saying them outloud. Last week, I memorized a verse! It was awesome, and the particular verse (in the example above) helped me so much. It became my mantra for the week. What a great habit to get back into. (And, if memorizing Scripture isn't your thing--though I highly recommend it--try memorizing some favorite inspirational quotes. Reinsert positive thinking into your brain waves.)

Tip #4: Count your blessings. Lately, it's become far too easy for me to dwell on the little, hurtful things that people do or say. I've forgotten my earlier resolution to focus only on what I can do, not the work of others. It's time to get back into that practice, and to do that, I need to remind myself of just how very blessed I am. My blessings are numerous, but I've almost forgotten to be grateful for them. Sometimes, I just need to make a list (in my head or on paper) as a reminder, then say them to myself any time something negative comes my way.

Tip #5: Take time out. The other day, I had ulcers so bad that I couldn't go to work. I know that sounds ridiculous, but my mouth was in such pain that I could barely talk. I called in sick, and slept until noon. Then I read blogs and books and watched Gilmore Girls. It was just what I needed in the middle of the week. A little time to rest and relax and de-stress. I am typically pretty good at this (or I had been for the last few weeks; remember my pool post?), but I let thoughts of others and negativity creep in and take control. No more!

So, there you have it. Five tips for getting back into that Pollyanna state of mind.

What helps you fight a case of the doldrums?


Jessica said...

dear annie,

thanks so much for this. i've not been in a very good place myself. i despise that my heart doesn't match my outside---hypocrite. i really have a lot of work to do on my heart. it's tiresome to try to fake something. i want to be genuine to the core. these tips will surely help me with that. i have a lot of negativity to get rid of. thanks for being such an encouragement. i love that bible card idea. what a thoughtful gift.


Sabrina said...

Just like counting your blessings I look back on how far God has brought me:) Also, currently I have a lot of friends kind of in the valley so encouraging them reminds me and keeps my heart in check. I love you friend!!

simply seleta said...

I need to pray more. These are challenging times. Great post!!!

Melissa said...

your "older" friend might take exception that that adjective! LOL! Seriously, I love mine too, and I love you - your sweet note was a great pick-me-up - thank you! We've just got to keep plugging along - an out-of-town friend reminded me (when I shared a tiny bit of life lately), if we can't get along and love each other here, what makes people think they will even get to heaven to enjoy it there! I've just got to work on ME and turn the rest over to our Father to handle the rest!