Some Upsetting Thoughts From Today and How I Changed Them

There is a lot of power in how you think. Thoughts are a particular stumbling block for people who suffer from depression. Thoughts of shame pop up way too easily and stick for a long time, whereas thoughts of pride and accomplishment struggle to surface and are fleeting.

And for my next trick, I will make all my successes disappear!

If you don’t know, you can train your thoughts to lean a certain way. For example, if you’ve been brought up as a racist, your initial thought when seeing a black person would be negative and mean. If you learned to recognize those thoughts and make yourself change the thought to a positive one, you can change your outlook on people of color.

Like this…

Negative: “I bet this lady ahead of me has all those babies just to get a free ride and live off the government.”

Fixed: “There is nothing wrong with having many children and I have absolutely no evidence to support the idea that she is getting government assistance. Even if she is, there is nothing wrong with accepting government assistance when needed. I have no authority to decide whether she is worthy of government assistance. Sure I may pay taxes so that people can live with assistance, but I have no knowledge of her personal information and I am not entitled to her personal information.”

I read somewhere that the first thought that crosses your mind is how you’ve been conditioned to think. The next thought is from you. You don’t have to feel bad about being conditioned to think terrible things. You just have to re-condition and re-train your brain until that first thought is the one you’re proud of.

Actual footage of you taking control of your thoughts.

The same goes for the thoughts you have of yourself. You’ve trained your brain to see all the imperfections about yourself, and that they are deal breakers for anyone who might consider a relationship with you. There are many reasons you have been trained this way, but you have the power to change it!

Something I do once in a while is writing out my negative thoughts, and change them so that I see the positive.

1. Negative: I am fat and ugly. Everyone is looking at me and thinking how glad they are that they aren’t me.

Positive:  I am overweight but that has no bearing on my beauty. I have personally witnessed the transformation that occurs between seeing someone for the first time and getting to know them. Beautiful people have quickly become ugly and vice versa. No one is judging you because they are too busy judging themselves, thinking these same thoughts. Not to mention, literally no one has the authority to decide what ugly or beautiful is.

2. Negative: I am so lazy I can’t even take care of myself, my house, and my kids. I am the worst mother.

Positive: Simply because I sit on the couch a lot does not mean I am lazy. I work on my blog and my homework and things for the church, all things that are important and need to be done, things I would feel bad for not doing. I do have a weakness for cleaning the house so I will do at least one thing today to make myself better at cleaning. Every day my kids are fed, safe, clean, and loved. It’s okay that I hit periods where they play their devices all day because I always find my way out, and my children are still cared for very well and they know I love them. I am a good mother.

You have to prove to your mind that you are in control. Lasso those destructive thoughts and make them serve you, bend them to your will. Rebrand them as uplifting thoughts and train them to run through your mind often. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of work to believe the positive thoughts, but if you practice enough, you will start to believe and think positive automatically. Think of it as a workout you don’t have to get off the couch for!

If you’re interested in the sociology of positive and negative thoughts, check out this ten minute TED talk: “Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck)”

How often do you struggle with negative thoughts? What method do you have for dealing with them?

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Inspiration to Get Your Homework Done

If you’re anything like me, you are a procrastinator. For example, I’m putting off homework right now! In my intro to college class (that colleges make you take so you know how to study and what resources are available to you and how to make it in the real world) we are talking about how lack of motivation is the number one reason students drop out of school. They may say it’s money or that it’s too hard, but it’s more than likely that they’ve run out of steam.

I wish I looked this good when I don’t want to get out of bed but that’s a lot of effort and makeup to sleep in. Not that I haven’t done it before…

Here’s the thing. You’re going to lose your motivation. It happens all the time. Becoming an adult means learning to find the motivation again after you’ve lost it. Elementary school teachers are constantly trying to figure out how to teach material in a fun and engaging way so that the kids stay motivated to finish the lesson and remember the subject matter. The older you get, the less interested your teachers are about making it fun, more they are looking for meaningful connections and discussion. You have to find inspiration and motivation on your own.

And so it goes with life. BYOI (or BYOM for those who like that better). You’re going to have to do things you don’t want to do. There will be times you have to summon the motivation just to get up off the couch or out of bed. For people with depression, this is impossible. Or at least it feels that way.

The first thing to do is believe it is possible to get your homework done. Repeat after me: I can get my homework done. Breathe. Say it again. Take a bigger breath and say it one more time. You got this.

Look! The Doctor believes in you!

The bright side to doing your homework is that you probably only have to get up to go get your materials. Otherwise, you can just sit down on the couch. You don’t have to get up or do manual labor. Physically, this is an easy task.

Something I do a lot when I am procrastinating and dreading homework is to make a homework plan for this particular homework session and for the week. I like making lists and I like seeing things in small tasks. It helps me. I like having a plan.

Journaling has really helped inspire me lately. Try opening a Google Doc and writing out your ultimate goal for your education. Do you simply want to graduate high school? Go on to college? Graduate from college? What kind of degree do you want? What might be nice to major in? Write out all these things and then write a story from your point of view. I want you to imagine you are achieving your ultimate educational goal right now. I want you to write what is happening to you, where you are, who is with you, a whole complete description. Make sure to include how you feel on this day. Once you’ve finished, you’ve got a vision. Look back at this during the bad times, when you can’t remember why you wanted to go to college in the first place. Resist all thoughts of impossibility. If you can’t, write down the thoughts running through your head and change can’t to can and write down why and how you can do it. Every negative thought should become positive

Go to Pinterest. Make a board just for homework inspiration. Put pictures of pretty desks on it. Find interesting homework assignments and funny ones. Put pictures of what you imagine you will look like after completing your homework or schooling. Find cute school supplies and backpacks. Anything that moves you to want to do your work, put it there.

Make a playlist of your favorite movie soundtracks. Try to stay away from songs with lyrics and songs that remind you of lullabies. Keep it upbeat and moving. You’ll like the familiarity of the music but it won’t distract you from your work. Original video game music is also great for studying because it’s meant to keep your focus and keep you on edge, helping you get your homework done faster.

Play pretend. Make believe that you work for NASA and that it is imperative that you figure out these equations pronto. Maybe you’re a detective taking detailed notes on your subject. You’re not about to let another murder happen on your watch. Or you could be sitting on a train in the early 1900s writing a novel or a letter to your dearest friend while a server brings you champagne (go get a champagne flute with whatever drink you like to complete the picture), or my personal favorite, you are studying with your crush and you are sitting right next to him. He doesn’t know you like him, you don’t know he likes you, but you both have fallen madly in love. He watches you and all your little mannerisms when you’re not looking. He’s learning the little things about you and he accidentally lets it slip that he knows too much about you for your relationship to be in the friend zone. He lends you his sweatshirt and it smells so incredibly good and you and he study together, neither of you willing to admit your feelings, but he is confident and sure of himself. See? You can get super detailed with it if you want to (as you can see I have). Make your homework a part of your happy place.

Look, I know you are dreading this. Start with fifteen minutes of work. If you can get through fifteen legitimate minutes of work, then you can treat yourself to a cookie or reading one chapter of your favorite book. Find something.

You can do this.

You can do this.

You can do this.

I believe in you.

I love you.