Making the Best of Life
We've All Been There, Most of Us Still Are
I often ask the question, "Where is my life going?" We've all been there, and most of us still are.
It seems like I am stuck in a tangled web and am unable to move on. Every move or turn that I make, I seem to become bound tighter in the horrible mesh of sticky threads. Everyday is a constant struggle, but I get nowhere.
Day after day, I dream of more - I wish for more. I know there has to be more, but I am unsure if I will ever find it as long as I am shackled to the responsibilities and stressors of this world.
But I've learned that I can make the best out of what I've got. It's difficult sometimes - well - OK - most of the time. I don't have all of the answers as to how to make the most out of your life, but I can tell you what helps me.
Things That Help Me
1. Writing / Poetry
4. Motivational Quotes
6. Light Therapy and Antidepressants
1. Writing / Poetry
I Write What I Feel
Sometimes, I have all of these thoughts, doubts, questions, etc in my head. Often, my thoughts are just downright dark and depressing. But I write them down. It helps me process my feelings. And then when I read it back, I realize that things aren't really as gloomy as I am perceiving them to be.
For example, here is a portion from a poem that I wrote:
I am numb, constricted and smothered by the responsibilities and expectations of this cruel and vicious world.
My creativity is stiffled, squashed, and no longer exists.
My heart and soul have withered and died.
There is no joy or pleasure in this dark, empty, hollow shell of mine.
I am nothing but an unravelling ball of worry and anxiety.
Unravelling to nowhere.
Now, I didn't share my entire poem with you - only enough to give you a glimpse of the despair that I sometimes feel (as we all do at times).
Writing my feelings on paper releases some of that emotional tension that holds me hostage and prevents me from moving past my anxieties.
I am then able to re-read it and say. "Geez - things aren't that bad." I can look at this and say, "I still have my creativity; if not, I would not have been able to write this. And I'm certainly not smothering. I am breathing and feeling - which means I am not empty and hollow. And I am inspired that I can write. I can write more and can write better. And that gives me joy and pleasure."
So, then I write more and my creativity flows. And I find surges of happiness in those moments of creative expression.
I have stories and thoughts to tell. So I write more, and I share them on sites like Squidoo and Bubblews. And I am motivated to write a book - which I have started. I have always wanted to write a book, I just never believed I could, nor did I know how to even start.
And what better things to write about, then some of my own struggles and mishaps in life. And looking back, some of my difficult times are hilarious - and I can laugh about them now. See, all things happen for a reason. I'm already actually making a few bucks - and one day - I may make a little more.
So, when I am really feeling down, I write my feelings, which in turn, inspires me to write.
Do You Write?
Does putting your feelings on paper help you feel better?
My Faith is Important
Having faith and believing in the Lord is not what actually gives me the strength to get through my struggles.
It's the daily living of that faith and belief that keeps me moving. I must make a conscious effort everyday to praise the Lord and ask for His help and his guidance. Reflecting on the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ suffering and dying on the cross, because of his love for me, gives me the courage to endure the crosses that I must carry in my life.
I also must reflect daily on my profession and daily work as a mission of my faith. I always believed that I was called into the field of nursing by God, so that I may serve others.. So when things get overwhelming and I start to consider leaving my job or the nursing profession, I must force myself to reflect and pray.
The fact that I serve others gives meaning to my job and my life. It also gives me motivation to continue my mission. Although, like I said, I must reflect and pray every day to help me hang in there.
Do you rely on your faith, religion, prayer or spirituality to get you through difficult times?
Something I Enjoy
Find something that you love and enjoy - and do it!
Mine is photography. I always wanted to be a photographer, but things do not always turn out the way we want them to. However, this does not mean we should not continue to grab a hold of a part of that dream. Keep the dream alive! Do it!
I love nature, animals and insects. So when I combine them with photography, I have total bliss, at least for a little while.
I often do not have the time nor the opportunity to get to beautiful and spectacular places to capture those awesome photos. Therefore, I must make do with what is around me in my immediate environment. This has forced me to stretch my imagination and my creativity. Most of my photos are close-ups and macros of ordinary objects around me. I have learned to see things in new and different perspectives.
I have learned skills to get the best photos I can (although, I am still learning). And I have become pretty good. Family and friends give me great feedback on my photos, and, hey - I amaze myself sometimes.
And that gives me a sense of accomplishment and it gives me joy.
4. Motivational / Inspirational Quotes
Sometimes, my mind shuts down, and I don't really want to think.
That is why I keep motivational quotes posted around. I can't avoid them if they are staring me right in the face. I have to read them. They really do make me think and they lift my mood. And as per their name - they "motivate and inspire" me.
Sometimes, with my job, I am sent to a different location to work. One day, while sitting in a strange office with no windows, I was feeling unfulfilled, stagnate, unhappy, and I found myself just staring at the wall. Then my eyes focused on a small white piece of paper taped to the wall. On it was this handwritten quote:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I love quotes and sayings that make me think - and especially when they change my thinking. It got me thinking that nothing is going to change to be the way I wish it to be unless I change first. I have the power to change things for the better. Things can and will be better. That kind of thinking motivates me - and puts me into action.
There are tons of great quotes out there. Here are only a few other quotes that I love:
"Darkness cannot survive in the light, but a light can shine in the dark!" ~ Odille Rault
"Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears." ~ Les Brown
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily." ~ Zig Ziglar
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Lao Tzu
"Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw
OK - I'll admit that finding the motivation to exercise is extremely difficult. So - find that perfect motivational quote that will help inspire you to work out, and put it somewhere visible. Use my favorite motivational quote that gets me exercising:
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Lao Tzu
It makes me feel like I am not expected to do a long and vigorous work-out. I can start off small - just a few minutes. And maybe the first few days of beginning your exercise regime, you will make your workout quick and easy.
However, when you start exercising, your body and mind feel the benefits, and it becomes routine. And as it becomes routine, you gain more strength and endurance, and you will notice your workouts getting longer - but only because that's what you want.
5. Light Therapy and Antidepressants
OK - for some of us, depression is a medically-based disorder which requires medication. Only your physician can diagnose and order antidepressants as part of your therapy.
But there is something you can try before trying medications.
Light therapy boxes give off a light that mimics that of natural sunlight. This light is believed to boost the chemicals in the brain that help with mood.
Light therapy requires one to sit next to a special light therapy box for a specific period of time. I use mine almost every morning for 30 minutes. Of course, there is the occasional morning that I just don't have the time. I sit approximately 12 inches away from the light source. Although you do not want to look directly into the light, your eyes must absorb the light. I typically read or do crosswords puzzles under the light.
And I am here to tell you that it really does help. My dog, Bambi can always be found right next to me - so I guess you can say she uses the light box also. And honestly, she appears happier and more energetic.
The intensity of light required for proper effects is 10,000 lux. The lights can be a little pricey - but in my opinion are well worth it.
What is Light Therapy?
Here are a few informative sites on Light Therapy Box Treatment
What is light therapy and why is it done?
Q&A on light therapy
All about light therapy for depression
- Psychology Today
Use of light therapy for depression and sleep disorders
How do you inspire and motivate yourself when you are feeling down and stuck in a rut?