Eight Simple Habits That Keep You Encouraged
HubPages writer, Devika Primić, posed the following questions soliciting ideas for encouragement:
How have you been encouraged?
What made you feel encouragement through all times?
The wise know that keeping themselves encouraged is mainly their responsibility, as this AlcoholRehab quote bears out. "There is not always going to be other people there to offer encouragement. Those people who are only able to achieve things when cheered on by other people will not be able to do much in life."
Following are eight suggestions to be practiced not simultaneously, but appropriately. Consistent practice will turn them into habits, and make it easy to fall into a self-encouragement routine whenever necessary.
(1) Visualize A Rainbow
“The rainbow is the reflection of the beams of the sun shining upon or through the drops of rain.” (Matthew Henry) It is a symbol of hope. Even when negative circumstances rain on your parade, the rainbow makes its appearance to remind you that the sun will shine again.
The image of the rainbow conjures up a sense of triumph for which you do not even have to fight, only believe. Whenever you can see the rainbow, appreciate its message of hope. When you cannot see it, get in the habit of visualizing it. Practice this even before you get out of bed in the morning. Soon, your automatic response to discouragement will be a vision of the rainbow.
(2) Give Yourself A Pep Talk
”Use self-talk to work through extreme emotions — including anger, sadness, confusion and stress — and to sort out personal conundrums.” (Wendy Rose Gould, NBC Wellness Report)
All the emotions mentioned can cause discouragement, and a good way to get out of this negative mood is to talk yourself into encouragement: “I will not waste any more energy on anger, I can learn to forgive.” “By taking one helpful step at a time, l can overcome this confusion.”
According to Healthline magazine, researchers have found that referring to yourself in the third person, even calling your name, can help you step back and look at yourself more objectively. Apparently, your pep talk will be kinder and more encouraging.
(3) Sing the Clouds Away
Listening to a good song lifts the spirits; and singing the right song keeps the spirit lifted. It has nothing to do with the quality of voice.
“Singing changes your brain,” writes Stacey Horn, author and journalist. The change may be due to endorphins and oxytocin, hormones released by singing. Horn mentions research which reports that “singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer.”
Who has not, on singing along with an artist on a media device, experienced a lift in his or her spirit? Beginning the day with a burst of song will occupy the mind with gratitude for a new day–and both the act of singing and the attitude of gratitude keeps the singer encouraged. Keep a song in your heart when you cannot voice it. You will remain encouraged.
(4) Rendezvous with Nature
People who spend time in nature develop a bond with plants in the garden, waves in the ocean, stars in the night sky or whatever natural objects they admire. Soon they begin to gain inspiration from nature. Observing the trees, the waves and the stars remain true to their purpose, the admirers begin to sense the importance of focusing on their assignments.
For example, I felled a tall papaya tree which grew near the plant pictured above. Novice gardener that I was, I gave no consideration to where the papaya tree might fall; I just kept chopping until it fell—right on top this plant. However, when I cleared away the severed leaves, the root was still in tact.
As the plant bloomed again, the root seemed to remind me that no matter what happened to its leaves and branches, its life purpose was to remain anchored. What an encouraging lesson for me when difficulties sweat the small stuff! The root (strength) of character must keep one grounded. People who communicate with nature gain similar inspiration everyday.
(5) Count Blessings
Journaling is an effective way to keep count of blessings. A daily list of two or three favors received usually adds to one's personal reasons to feel encouraged. It also provides future reference for days when inspiration needs a boost.
Blessings are not only received, but also given. Giving cheerfully to others also keeps the giver encouraged. It fosters a sense of satisfaction, usefulness and purpose.
(6) Look At The Old Trophies
It boosts the confidence and sense of worth to dust off the old trophies and stare at them occasionally. Not to swell pride, but to encourage yourself. The sight of your service awards remind you that people who know you recognize and appreciate you.
My “trophies” include a certain photo album. I started it when an upset family member barked that nobody like me. I informed him that the number of people who liked me were more than the few he knew that didn’t. To validate my claim, I started a photo album of people who express love and gratitude to me through birthday and thank-you cards, flower tags, pictures and notes. Just thinking of this self-made trophy makes me feel encouraged.
7) Make Use of Good Media
The search for self encouragement may take you to YouTube or Netflix, for something that you know beforehand will encourage you. Perhaps you watched it before, or you trust the presenter. Some suggestions for watching are:
- sermons from your favorite preachers;
- music from your favorite artists;
- movies with upbeat themes like courage, inspiration, victory;
- comedy from artists who inspire laughter with wholesome themes.
Easy-to-read biographies and poetry also uplift the spirits; so do many videos of good times you experienced with family or friends. Keep your inspiration handy.
(8) Share Encouragement
Remember that encouragement is a common need. Dispense it like an equal opportunity favor, regardless of how you feel, or how the other person relates to you. Share it because you want to, and because you know that it boomerangs.
© 2014 Dora Weithers