Let’s face it, as a dad (or any human for that matter) you have good days and bad days. For those that seem to have more bad days than good, this episode is for you. Now I am not a doctor so I am not providing medical advice. This may not be the answer for someone with severe depression or a serious illness. For that you will want to seek mental attention. What I am proposing is a way to get you out of your funk.
We talked about teaching our children gratitude in episode 80. The most important way to teach your children gratitude is to model it yourself.
When you are in the midst of feeling crappy, it can be extremely difficult to see the light and imagine what it is like to feel good. Whether you are having problems in your relationship, your kids are driving you crazy, your job isn’t going well….whatever it is, I ask you try fighting the depression with gratitude. I can tell you first hand that this has worked for me.
Here are some things you can do to begin feeling gratitude. We can start with baby steps:
1) Go buy a journal or a notebook.
2) When you wake up in the morning ask yourself, what is one thing in my life that I am grateful for? You must write down “I am grateful for ______ and be sure to include because. For example, I am grateful for my family because they love me unconditionally. If you have problems thinking of something, then write down that you are breathing, that you had an opportunity to sleep, that you have a roof over your head, that you have food in the house. It only takes one positive thought to begin getting on track.
3) Stop complaining. Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts. If it’s not something you can change or its about someone and you aren’t telling them, keep it to yourself. Throughout your day, if you find yourself about to complain, evaluate if it’s helping the situation. Is there a different way to say what you need to “get off your chest”. If not, keep it to yourself.
4) When you have a negative thought about something, create a positive one instead. For example, “this bank line is way too long” might instead come out as “I’m really thankful for the ability to keep my money safe in this safe”. This may seem silly or strange but it really does begin to change the way your mind thinks. It doesn’t happen right away but over time it will.
5) If you are eating dinner as a family or with someone else, go around the table and have each person say 2 things that happened today that were positive and 1 thing you are grateful for. If children are present, this will help them begin thinking this way as well.
6) Before you go to sleep, in your journal write 3 things that were positive today. Be sure to include how did they make you feel?
I also found an app called Bliss that does this, but there are many others out there if you want to use your phone and set reminders.
Even if you feel your life isn’t so good and don’t see the light, force yourself to go through these motions. Fake it until you make it. Your brain chemistry begins to change. You should begin feeling better even within a week or two. You must stick with it and know that there is a way out and a way to feel better than you do today.