Whether you like it or not, there will be seasons in your life when you’ll have to battle your way through feelings of discouragement. As along as we are alive, we’ll never outgrow intermittent feelings of discouragement, regardless of the level of our emotional intelligence, motivation or success.
So, when you find yourself on the verge of being swept away by the unforeseen currents of discouragement, use the tips below to steady your ship, so that you can navigate your way back in the direction of happiness, progress and personal fulfilment:
1. Accept it. The first key to recovery from emotional issues is acceptance. You can never overcome the negative emotions you are unwilling to acknowledge. Therefore, you must fully accept the fact that you are discouraged.
The best way to enable your mind to adequately document your acceptance of your feeling of discouragement is to write down the way you feel. Make it clear on paper how discouraged you currently are and how you struggle to rekindle the enthusiasm, passion and desire you first showed towards whatever you are discouraged about.
This basically kick-starts your recovery process. It is almost as if there is a miraculous energy that transfers from your wrist to your mind as you write down your experience – you start to feel a better about your situation. Once you choose to put your emotional problems into writing, you’ve obligated your deeper mind to become part of your solution out of discouragement. Recognition is the first step towards recuperation.
"You can never overcome the negative emotions you are unwilling to acknowledge."
2. Believe it is temporary. The second vital element here is for you to convince yourself into believing that this discouraging episode is only temporary – it is not here to stay because it has no permanent place in you. Have faith that, although you might be totally down at the moment, you will not stay down but climb back up and remain lifted into your happiness, success and fulfilment. Never catastrophize – making a mountain out of a molehill or focusing on the negative. Instead, simply believe that your discouragement is transient.
Belief is creative energy. Whatever you believe within will soon manifest without. In other words, what is happening around you is a physical expression of the ideas and beliefs which have been accepted within you.
That is why believing that your feelings of discouragement are neither meant to break you nor designed to send you into the den of depression. The moment you change your mind-set into positive, you are already on your way to acquiring fresh energy, motivation, ideas, opportunities and hope.
"Whatever you believe within will soon manifest without."
3. Take some time out. Feelings of discouragement sap energy and generate perpetual fatigue. Also, when you are going through an episode of discouragement, your mind is already saturated with negative and hopeless thoughts to the extent that it hardly functions as it should.
So what you need is not to increase your activities towards what you are discouraged about. Rather, you need to step back and slow down to recuperate your life-energy. Do not try to run off looking for something else to commit to in order to forget your feelings of disappointment. This is avoidance and it’s counter-productive.
For example, if you are discouraged over a relationship that is not really progressing, do not blindly and hurriedly jump into another relationship, thinking it’ll help you get over your overwhelming feelings of discouragement and brokenness of the previous relationship. I’m sure you know this is not the solution.
Rather, remove yourself from all self-efforts and personal struggles, and seek to connect back to your real-self in an atmosphere of calmness, solitude and detachment from frustration and anger. This can take a bit of time. But it can also be life-changing.
Your mind needs rest to regain its genus and creativity.
When you are fully rested, your decision making ability is heightened. You see things from a different angle. You are able to analyse things better, troubleshoot better and identify better paths to lasting solutions. Rest restores. This is vital to your long-term emotional and psychological well-being.
4. Re-evaluate your original goals. While you are taking some time out, it can be a good time to review your life and begin to re-evaluate your original goals, desires, or ambitions. Whatever you are discouraged about, think about your first goals about that thing and assess whether or not you’ve wandered away from your original desires. I do this often, especially during my moments of discouragement. I self-assess myself to see if I am being true to my ideals, whether it is in my business, desires, relationships or about what I expect from others.
More often than not, I’ll identify one or two things to stop or start doing in order for me to get back on track. To me, seasons of discouragement are opportunities for self-examination. They are seeds for self-discovery and development.
The key here is to re-trace your steps back to your heart. Whenever we are discouraged over anything, that means change is necessary somewhere. it does not have to be a massive one. Often times it’s all about correcting your courses by making some slight adjustments to your current priorities. Constant self-evaluation is very vital to happiness, progress and fulfilment.
"Seasons of discouragement are opportunities for self-examination."
5. Feed your mind with motivational and inspirational messages. Your mind is like muscles, it becomes stronger and more resilient against adversities when you constantly expose it to positive mind exercises. Motivational messages build up your mind muscles for optimism, positive energy, perseverance and hope. Read motivational and inspirations books. Listen to audio programmes that inspire you. Turn you car into a mobile university.
Simply saturate your mind with positivity and messages of triumphs and success so that there is no room any more for apathy, self-pity, negative thinking and discouragement.
Whenever I sense some feelings of discouragement rising within me about something that really matters to me, I reach out for biographies of great men and women and begin to study about their struggles, weaknesses, and most importantly, how they eventually overcame. This is so powerful – if you develop this habit of learning from great achievers, you can never stay discouraged or depressed for too long.
"Motivational messages build up your mind muscles for optimism, positive energy, perseverance and hope."
6. Brainstorm on possible way forward. By now, you are getting your energy back and your mind is becoming clearer, with a steady sense of optimism rising on the inside of you. What you need to do now is to take a sheet of paper and write down anything you come up with that you can do that will lead to happiness and progress for you. Write down at least 10 things you can do to link you back to the paths of fulfilment in that area of your life you’ve been discouraged.
It is important that you re-focus and put fresh plans and ideas in front of you. Without a clear sense of direction, your re-emerging energy and newly found strength won’t last. You will not be able to maintain passion without a compelling action plan.
Ask yourself these questions: “What do I really want in this area of my life? How can I achieve these things that I want? What action-steps can I start taking immediately that will begin to link me to my desired destination? When you begin to ask the right questions, your mind becomes programmed to come up with solutions.
"Without a clear sense of direction, your re-emerging energy and newly found strength won’t last."
7. Take action. This is the step that does the final miracle. Action! Now ask yourself: “What 3 things from the above list can I begin to do now that will orchestrate my transformation faster?” “What can I start doing immediately and if done well will make the most positive impact in my life?”
Regarding discouragement, after you’ve observed all of the above steps, what you must embark upon is result-oriented actions. You cannot overcome deep-seated feelings of discouragement without embarking on some positive actions of some sort. Intentional positive movement must take place.
Progress has to be set in motion. If there is no progress, positive contribution towards the needs of others or some kind of positive advancement on your part, discouragement cannot be shaken off. Nothing shakes off discouragement faster than gazing, on the horizon, at some aorta of progress and feeling of being needed.
But before you can experience progress and a sense of positive contribution, positive action has to be initiated by you. If you are like some people without any ambition whatsoever, the best way to get back up during a period of discouragement is to engross yourself in acts of kindness. Volunteer somewhere. Help others in some capacity by giving your time, energy and resources away without expecting anything back.
"An act of Kindness is one of nature’s best tranquillizers."
Every act of kindness that you execute is like a dose of anti-depressants, without the side-effects. An act of Kindness is one of nature’s best tranquillizers. Kindness floods your system with serotonin, the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter, leading to you feeling a lot better about yourself. Your confidence begins to rise and so is your self-esteem.
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