stone stair steps
take one step at a time

In my last post on positive thinking, I described a mental exercise to help rid those plagued with negative thoughts with more useful, positive ones. The process of relaxation techniques and mental imagery demands great effort, will power, and practice, before results are attained.  The key is to take one step at a time, and to accept that there are challenges to overcome when trying to become more positive about writing and about life.

For those suffering from depression or constant, low-grade negative thought patterns, managing to arouse the drive to even attempt this solution would seem to necessitate an effort of Herculean proportions.  The more focus, the exhausting the person.  It is important, to just like in writing, to build your power, and think of it as a series of steps.  One step upwards is better than inertia.

Low moods that are manifested by feelings of low energy, inability to focus, lack of desire, and basically being unable to see the point to doing anything, if allowed to fester will tend to reinforce the negative thoughts that bring on these moods in the first place. It’s the inactivity and lack of meaningful focus that feed the flames of despair.

telling you it's worth it quote
it’s worth it

In this instance, what is required is a quick fix, to generate a momentum of movement in order to perform a fulfilling action, that leads to positive feelings of accomplishment, and results in an improved mood, even if transitory.  It’s a step, and although it’s hard to be realistic, I’m going to share with you an idea I’ve always felt empowered me: write it down. If it is a good step write it down.  Bring a small notebook along with you and write it down.

But how does one begin when the prevailing impetus for any movement is so hard to come by?

When even the thought of working at writing your blog or book, or going to school or your job, or merely going grocery shopping, seems like a burden well beyond your powers of attainment.  I know, and there are days I have to mentally convince myself it is worth it.  My friends are supporters in this, but often one can feel as if there is a ‘mask’ where one is positive, and let exhausted from trying to attain this feeling of ‘positivity.’

Sometimes the act of inactivity, or waiting out the low-energy mood can finally give way to action, because the physical and psychological discomfort builds up to a point that any movement is deemed meritorious. We are hardwired to repell or distance ourselves from harmful or disquieting stimuli, which is why depression is so painful. It’s counter-instinctual. One’s negative thinking serves to reinforce the low, deeply uncomfortable mood, which leads to further inactivity.  This means, get outside, even to have a small meal, in the sun  or in fresh air.

this is a roller coaster ride with a drop
roller coaster anyone?

And the cycle continues.

If the impetus to movement is strong that might be enticement enough, but not necessarily. For instance, having to get to work in order to pay the bills, or getting to class so as not fail the course, or simply getting something to eat.

The solution is to approach the problem of inactivity in gradual steps- and it can go uphill and downhill. Each stage is a small accomplishment towards the final goal of the purpose for the action.

In a way, most of us perform these simple feats all the time, as we prepare to start our day and get to where we have to go.

Getting dressed, washing, eating breakfast, traveling to our destination. We rarely think of these innocuous tasks as accomplishments, because they become habitual behaviors. But these very same behaviors can become the cornerstones of one’s gradual climb out of the quagmire of negativity and inactivity toward motions resulting in accomplished goals, positive feedback, and better moods.  They are accomplishments.  Ones which can lead to a better mental outlook.

Admittedly, this isn’t a long term solution to the underlying problem. These are temporary, easily employable steps to simply break out of a state of mental catatonia.

For the struggling writer, in particular a useful step to take toward recovering one’s flow could be a related activity, like reading. Or an action that helps clear the mind through physical activity.

Depending on just how mentally paralyzed you feel, or if there is a medical reason for your negativity (although generally speaking there is less of this with the correct treatment) the steps can be as simple as needed to engender the momentum toward goal-fulfilling activity. Once the movement is generated the mind becomes momentarily distracted from the insufferable, negative thoughts that are classified as depression.  Take positive action to improve yourself.