Keep moving and put the bad times behind you

Story by Barton Goldsmith
(Scripps Howard News Service)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012
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Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” He knew that everything, even difficult times, will change. Keeping this in mind can be very helpful, for one of the most difficult things to deal with is thinking that your discomfort will never end. And it almost always does.

I am not saying that you should learn to live with sadness or fear; you must constantly work toward healing, and I think that’s what Churchill meant.

Keep striving, and eventually you will get through whatever it is that is bothering you. Each little step that you take along the way will help. Sometimes we don’t realize that doing what’s right there in front of us is actually good for our moods. By continuing to live your life, you’ll combat excessive sulking, and it may help lift your spirits higher.

It is when you ruminate on your darker feelings that you can get mired in them.

In addition to keeping yourself occupied with the tasks of daily living, doing things that will help shift your mood (such as exercise, reading or talking with someone who cares) will be a great help in getting you through a rough patch. You can’t stop and dwell on all your troubles. It will suck up your days and leave you less than enthusiastic for the future.

What most people fail to realize is that things can change for the better very quickly. One phone call or email can alter your path dramatically.

Even if you don’t see a direct connection between how you are feeling and what you are doing, by staying mentally and physically active, you actually push out the negative feelings.

I know how hard it can be to muster up the energy to get things done when you are anxious or depressed, but by doing so, you are helping yourself to heal, and things will change for the better, right before your eyes. Telling yourself that your actions are healing also helps to shift your mood.

Sitting and thinking, or lying in a dark room feeling bad, will only make things worse. If you want to get well, keep things (and yourself) moving.

Get actively engaged so that your mind and heart can focus on something other than what’s causing you emotional anguish at the moment. The time you spend away from those feelings helps you fight the demons that are getting free rent in your head.

We all go through hell at one point or another, and some of us can get stuck there, but we don’t have to. I know people who have spent their lives going from one crisis to another but still have the energy and ability to do their work, raise their families and take care of themselves.

Unless you are at death’s door, there is no reason you can’t find something to put your mind to and get through what is almost certainly a temporary negative experience.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence -- Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.”

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