If you’re a worry wart like me, you’ve heard the advice: “Learn to live in the Moment.” Do most of us even know what that means?
I recall a very fragile time in my life when every movement seemed like an uphill struggle. I told a friend that I felt I was swimming in a gigantic pool of water and I just couldn’t get to the other side. Have you ever felt like this? Perhaps you still do.
I did manage to get my head above water for a while. In looking back, I was able to recognize brief periods of peace. Small glimmers of joy. A tiny interlude of laughter. How could I capture that feeling and keep it with me throughout the day, even in frustrating, terrifying moments of pain and unhappiness?
- The first step is to actually recognize the good things that happen. To savor them. To be grateful for the small miracles such as holding an infant in your arms and rocking them to sleep. Bliss! Singing a favorite song to a child at bedtime. And reliving those precious moments over and over again until your heart is too full for self-pity or sadness.
- Make “awareness” a habit. A batch of cookies are a lot of work, but the smiles on the faces of your children when they come home from school is payoff. Focus on the details of life instead of bemoaning them. Shine them up and make them sparkle even when you feel there is nothing to be happy about. Slow your life down so you can “smell the roses” and begin to notice the minutia that usually passes you by. A random giggle, a tribute of dandelions from a preschooler. A call from a dear friend.
- Do something! When you’re at your lowest, make yourself get up and do something. Even small accomplishments can boost your spirits. Get out of the house instead of moping. Take the kids or the dog for a walk. Even if you’re single, there’s something about nature that can draw you out. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Pray. Memorize and say a poem out loud.
- Try a change of scene. Taking a drive, seeing a new neighborhood or a new shopping area can perk up your spirits. Take a mini-vacation with the help of someone you trust. Get away for a few days and soak up some sun and sand. Water has a calming influence. Hearing it lap against the side of a pool or washing up on the shore is soothing and can bring you to a higher plane. Feeling a higher power in the sound of water may bring you comfort and peace.
- Never give up hope. If you can’t fight the doldrums alone, get help. Don’t let depression beat you down. Give yourself the gift of time and space. Link up with a supportive friend. Look back on any progress you have made and have a celebration. Buy yourself something new. Make a determined effort to appreciate even small steps of progress.
These steps helped me reach a point where I could make some changes in my life and get the help I needed. Perhaps they may help you as well.