What do you do when you're so depressed you can't get out of bed? It's super hard when you don't know what to do, when you feel like you've gotten yourself stuck in a rut, and you feel hopeless. You feel like there's not an answer within your grasp. You might feel like every time you even see a problem, it just starts compounding, and all of a sudden it builds and builds, and you start finding yourself spiralling further down into a hole. The further you get down, the harder it is to get out.
The questions that you'll ask yourself are likely like: Where do I start? What do I do? You might feel like nobody understands, or that you don't want to burden other people with your problems. It can be a ton of work, sometimes turning things around like that is massive work. It's a long process at times, but you can do this. I know you can do this, because I've done it several times myself.
When I was dealing with depression after my dad took his own life, when I was dealing with depression after the Paralympics ended and I wasn't sure what do next. It didn't happen overnight that I got better. But if you remember this quote from Jim Rohn, what he said was “You can't change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction.”
So what I want to do is I want to share with you quickly a simple tool that I've used several times and continue to use today to help continue to guide myself in that direction I want to go, but for you, especially if you're stuck, use this to start a new direction today.
Journaling. Journaling does more than you could ever imagine, and it has been hands-down one of the cheapest, fastest, and most-effective tools for me to start spiraling myself upwards and in a new direction.
So what do I mean by that?
Two things: One is that you can just go out and get your own journal and start writing your thoughts down. I'll give you an example. Years ago, I was dealing with a problem, or the same three negative thoughts were in my mind every morning when I would wake up. I'm depressed, I'm a loser, I'm alone. I got so sick and tired of this that I decided one day when I woke up, I'm just going to write this down and just start getting the thoughts out of my head.
So I wrote that down. I go about my day and I got a call for a speaking gig, end up meeting a cute girl, and got a good workout in, and I was excited. So that evening, I journaled down what that was, and I'm like, "Oh, the day wasn't that bad."
The next morning when I wake up the same three thoughts are in my head. “Depressed, loser, alone.” I'm like, “okay this sucks, whatever, write it down.”
So I go about my day again. Today I get a call back for a speaking gig. I set up a date, and ended up getting out with my friends. And I'm like, “you know what, this day also was awesome.” By journaling you start to see your thoughts, and you start to recognize what's actually happening in your life. Especially the things that you should be grateful for.
On day three I swear to you, I woke up and those thoughts were gone. They were just gone. I have evidence from what I've journaled here that my life's not that bad, that there's lots of really exciting things to be grateful for.
On day three I swear to you, I woke up and those thoughts were gone.
And then, about a year ago, someone introduced me to the Five Minute Journal. If you don't know about this I really encourage you to go find the Five Minute Journal online. It's been used by so many people around the world, and it focuses entirely on gratitude.
When I started using this journal I wrote: got a truck, got a car, got a condo, whatever. All of a sudden that changes to health, I have my health. I have my friends. This beautiful day. And you just start to really focus on the things that do matter in your life.
There's a quote by a lady named Melody Beattie, who said "Gratitude turns what we have into enough." I think that's a really great statement to recognize what you already have. Many of us already have what we need to be happy, we're just focusing on what we don't have.
So, gratitude turns what we already have into enough, and so I want you to start thinking about that this is not the way you are forever. This is not a permanent thing. This is not the way it's just going to be, and that you have the ability to turn this around.
Start to take a simple step such as grabbing a pen and paper, and writing down your thoughts, and reflecting on the things that you have to be grateful for in your life. And I challenge you to start focusing within, and stop looking to an external solution for an internal problem, because you have the ability and the power to be the hero of your own movie.
Start to take a simple step such as grabbing a pen and paper, and writing down your thoughts, and reflecting on the things that you have to be grateful for in your life.
When you step into your own greatest, look inside of yourself for what you can do better. Ask yourself a question, “what can I do better?” “What area of focus do I need to start putting my attention towards?” and like Jim Rome said, “You can't change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction.”
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About Kevin Rempel:
Paralympian, keynote speaker, and founder of the corporate team building program, The Sledge Hockey Experience, I help people change their perspective about life and people with disabilities. Visit www.kevinrempel.com for more information.