Often we can feel overwhelmed and stressed when we feel we fall short, or when progress doesn’t happen as soon as we would like. Sometimes a critical voice at work or hard-to-overcome challenges at home can be discouraging. There are times in life when everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Or you find yourself in the same situation you faced last year and you feel that you are going around the same mountain AGAIN.
Here are some ways to overcome hopelessness and discouragement:
- Remember what God says about you! Find an encouraging book or find scriptures that remind you of who you are. God’s reality is superior to any circumstance here on earth. Make the promises personal and present tense, and begin to speak them to yourself. I often encourage my clients to get their head into God’s reality. He is always there, and always full of life and comfort.
- Remind yourself of past victories, things you have accomplished, and how God has brought you through difficult circumstances in the past. Remember how you have been a help to others. Remind yourself about all the good qualities you have.
- Go to a meetup, a church service, or listen to a speaker who brings new hope, vision, motivation, and encouragement.
- Get moving! Take a walk, go to the gym, or spend some time outside. It is rejuvenating, and exercise will get the feel-good hormones moving.
- Spend time with a friend who will encourage you. This will help you gain perspective and help you see yourself in a new light.
- Gratitude is powerful. Our culture values outward success and public recognition. Sometimes we feel entitled to certain outcomes in our lives, or we get caught in feeling sorry for ourselves. Begin to write a list of all the things you are grateful for. Begin to thank God out loud.
- Do some self-care. Get enough sleep. Most of us can feel “out of it” when we are sleep deprived. Eat a good, healthy meal with someone you love and appreciate. Laugh. Plan time off doing something you like. Spend time being creative.
- Make goals you can accomplish within a short time. Celebrate even small accomplishments. Use your talents to serve others. Take a class or network with others to move forward. Focus on how you can help others.
- Examine your boundaries. Often, resentment and discouragement come when we allow others to take advantage of us. Talk with a wise friend or counselor.
- If discouragement persists or turns into depression, please contact a counselor or trusted friend and get help. Remember that God’s number one way of helping, strengthening, and maturing us is through His people. A good counselor can help you through grief, relationship issues, stuck places, or low self-worth. You are special and valuable, and God has a higher path for you to walk! A strong hope can move you forward and give you strength to lay a hold of the good things He has for you!