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Gripping the Ground: Overcoming Negative Thoughts

by Abby Farr

[photo credit]

Have you ever found yourself desperate or discouraged? I’m not quick to acknowledge such negative sounding emotions, but as I’ve found myself in a season with all of life up in the air, I woke up this morning finally able to identify the yucky feelings I’ve been having lately.

They aren’t constant, but they are whirling around inside of me enough to influence too much of my life. After spending a day at Disneyland—a place proclaimed as the happiest place on earth—only to be 80% present due to the chaos in my mind, I knew I needed to act fast. Being such a visual and tactile person, I knew I needed similar action points. So after consulting a few friends and some personal self-reflection here’s the game plan I’ve come up with:

1. Be positive.
I need to take every thought I have captive and convert any negative ones into positive ones. Otherwise, before I know it, I can create a whole horrible story in my head that never has and probably never will happen. I’ve found not letting myself finish those stories is harder than I thought since I’ve never fully treated the issue. In fact, sometimes “going there” to that destructive spot with my thoughts can feel more comfortable than banning those thoughts and making the effort to create an appreciative one instead. But after day one of being very intentional not to, I’ve been in a much better place, and head space.

2. Get Grounded.
Another idea a couple of friends gave me has to do with getting grounded. One literally recommended grabbing hold of something solid and sturdy when my thoughts or feelings begin to wander to out of control land. The other suggested imagining my feet growing roots deep into the ground. Then my footing will be steady and strong.

3. Feel the feelings.
The third tip, so I don’t overwhelm myself with a million and end up doing zilch, is to have my feelings. If I am feeling desperate, for example, it’s okay for me to let that feeling sink into my core, and then let it flow out of me. I do this when I’m by myself, even if that means going to the bathroom at a restaurant for a moment. Likewise, I need to be selective with who I share such deep emotions with because not everyone needs or wants to hear it—and venting may only impregnate the exact seeds of feelings I want to pass away. Experiencing my despair rather than trying to suppress it delivers me through that dark feeling place much faster than holding back the emotion altogether.

Each of these ideas help me to move on from painful moments and take charge of my feelings, rather than letting them get the best of me or have any control over a day filled with great hope and potential. I hope these few baby steps I’m beginning to implement will help you when your feelings feel out of wack, too!

What are your strategies for overcoming discouragement?

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