Editors Note:  This is Melissa’s post for the week.  I am working on a new button for this feature and I hope to have it ready for next week!  Enjoy!

Life has a way of making us feel down, if we allow it, and we often do. Sometimes a friend or a loved one disappoints us. Our life circumstances are not the way we want them to be and we let it get to us. A stressful day at work or at home can lead us down the path of not having a positive outlook. It is perfectly normal to feel let down, sad, and even depressed when we encounter any of those circumstances. Those kinds of things have a way of throwing us off balance and sometimes we need to take some time to realign our thinking. Unfortunately, many of us have a habit of dwelling on those negative circumstances for far longer than we should, and we can become overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions.
For the sake of ourselves and our relationships, we should not allow that to happen. For those of us with a high risk for entering a depressive episode, dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions can be a trigger. Even for people without that risk have been known to enter a depressive episode if they spend too much time concentrating on the negatives in their life. At the very least, spending so much time dwelling on the negative can make us cranky, irritable and difficult to live with.
There are things we can do to turn our negative thoughts around. It requires work and effort, but the pay off is well worth it. If we take the time to turn our negative thoughts around, we are often more productive at resolving an undesirable situation. We are able to obtain more clarity about a situation and with clarity comes the ability to make a plan. If a situation is beyond our ability to change, then the clarity can show us that, and allow us to come to terms with it. It can also show us ways we can change our reactions, giving us more choices on how we manage situations that are beyond our control to change.
One of the first things we should do when realigning our thinking from an overwhelming negative thought process to one of that is more positive and productive, is decide if the situation is something that we can obtain control over or not. Once we make that determination, then we can start the process of either implementing a plan to change the situation or implementing a plan to change our reaction. Just getting that process done can be a huge stress reliever, because either option allows us to take some action. For most people, the ability to take some sort of action, immediately makes them feel more positive, and productive.
If the situation is one that we do have the power to change, we need to start figuring out what change we want to take place, and what steps we need to take to get there. For example, if we feel lonely and out of touch with people, we might want to take steps to be more available. We can do this by participating in volunteer activities in our communities, call friends, family, or acquaintances rather than wait for them to call us. We can make plans to have coffee, dessert, or a meal with someone. We could also use the internet to make new or improve social connections. Just because a friendship only takes place online does not negate the positive impact it can have on a life.
If we feel overwhelmed at work, is it because of poor organization on our part or is it a result of poor organization on someone else’s part? In either case there are things we can do. If we are the ones who are disorganized, then we need to do the necessary things to change that.. If it is someone else creating the dis-organization, maybe we could offer to help them to become more organized. If they let us help them accomplish this, then we are helping ourselves at the same time we are helping them. If work is overwhelming and there is nothing we can do about it, maybe if we found ways to be grateful it might help keep our thinking more positive. We could be grateful that we have a job with the way the economy is now. Or we could be grateful that work is so busy, because it might mean we have a little more job security than if it were slow all of the time.
There are always going to be situations where there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it. If we try and control a situation that is beyond our ability to control, then we are always going to feel upset, disappointed and frustrated by it. That means we have the obligation to change our reaction it. In the case of a friend disappointing us, we might need to decide if it is something we can overlook and live with, or if it is something we should bring up to our friend, or if what happened is a “deal breaker”. All of those situations require us to react in a different way than we might normally.
Sometimes people do stupid, hurtful things without meaning to. When that happens they usually realize it after the fact. Would saying anything to the friend cause them more pain and shame, than they are already feeling? Or would it be better to just let things go, and allow everyone to move on? Many times, letting it go is the best reaction in that type of situation. If the friend is unaware of how their actions hurt us, then we should say something to them. Then it is up to them to make the choice to apologize and alter their own behavior or not. Rarely, but it happens, we will have a friend that hurts us so bad that it can be considered a “deal breaker” – something that requires the end of the friendship. When that happens, we should take the time to bring it to their attention and make them aware of the impact it had on us. If, after that conversation they either do not understand or care about the pain they caused, it is time for us to remove that person from our lives. Not to be mean to them, but to protect our own mental health.
Some people find prayer very effective, especially in regards to situations and circumstances they have no control over. For them, it removes the worry from their own shoulders and thoughts, and gives them to God – who is much more capable of handing things than we are. Just the act of turning things over to God is comforting because it is another way we can change how we react to things. It is peaceful and comforting to know that we are not burdened by those things any longer. That peace and comfort allows us to no longer feel frustrated and angry about things we have no control over.
Life happens. It happens in all its glory and pain. It is up to us to make the choices to prevent life from overwhelming us. We have the ability to make those choices, some of us just have to learn how to.

Margaret Tidwell

I am a 33-year-old blogger. I write about my life and my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. I also am a huge bookworm, and I have been doing book reviews for years now. I even blog about adoption, Multiple Sclerosis, and things that go on in my life.

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

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  1. Kristen Alexis says:

    AMEN!!! i love this! You have such a gift for writing and you state things that are bluntly honest!! good for you! I really enjoyed reading this!!

  2. Melissa Mashburn says:

    Thanks! I appreciate your comment.

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