Feeling defeated - or depressed - is the dumps. In this life of emotional ups and downs, we all at some point are going to get the blues -some more than others. I know it really affects me big time. I've suffered from big highs and low lows my entire life- probably more than the "average" person. If you live in an area where you have seasons of darker weather - rain, snow, etc, it can actually trigger it further. For me living in Southern California actually does a lot for me in this regard - sunshine has such a positive effect on my psyche.
So what if you find yourself feeling defeated? What can you do to help better your situation? I've come up with some tactics that always help me recover and get me started moving in a positive direction.
Orchestrate Your Perspective
It always feels the darkest when there seems to be no end, no hope. There are certainly situations that are more dire than others but most of the time what we are feeling is about a temporary situation. It will come and it will go. Everything in life happens in cycles and seasons. I remember what it was like with my first son - he didn't sleep for 9 months. In those moments of dire sleeplessness I felt swallowed up by the thought that there was no end in sight. It just made me really, really negative. For my second son, we took the perspective that things were going to happen in seasons or waves. Seasons of less sleep, season of more sleep - any issues we encountered were mostly temporary. What a difference that was! We actually enjoyed it lol.
Meditate on an inspirational quote or bible verse
Sometimes we need to take our mind off the present and refocus on something positive. I used to have this desk calendar what had a quote a day. Every day I'd rally around the day's inspirational quote. I've done this with the bible as well. What a game changer this tactic is for me. This mental nourishment shifts our gears and allows us to stop thinking about our own situation and think about other situations and scenarios - it gives our minds something to apply and run with. Plus when you do this early in the day you get it when your mind is most supple and rested and less influenced by other distractions. I can tell you intentionally feeding my mind positive wisdom has def changed my life. Super powerful.
Do something you enjoy - to invoke joy and happiness into your life.
What gives you joy and excites you? Trying a new food? Going to the park? Listening to music? Dancing? Exercise? - Whatever it is, make time to do it. By doing something we truly enjoy and get joy out of we are triggering positive healthy emotions (plus probably dopamine for our brains). Healthy positive emotions are the least draining and most rewarding emotions that directly counteract the feelings of depression. You can't frown and smile at the same time right?
I love, love, love this tactic. I do it ALL the time. My routine usually involves music - something uplifting and fun, maybe 80's classic rock or some good modern pop. Spotify even has mood playlists - so it is super easy to dial into what you want. I'll blast it loud and go for a drive or I will throw it in earbuds and go for a walk. Some days it's getting out by myself and getting sushi or getting a massage or running errands. Do whatever works for you. And by just getting out and doing something, you will feel a little better.
Do something for someone else
Nothing will shift your emotions and feelings like helping someone else. There is such an aligning of perspective and priorities when you leave a warm house with a full fridge to help feed someone who is sleeping outside in the cold with nothing to eat. Maybe volunteering at your local church, helping at your local shelter, taking a meal to a sick friend- wherever you feel you'd like to plugin. The opportunities are endless - a lot of needs in the world.
My wife loves to cook so for her she really enjoys making meals for people. Giving people a good warm meal while they are going through turbulent times is one way we like to love on them. We do it for others yet it does something so awesome for us to be able to be of service. It gives us a purpose and reminds us to be thankful. Sometimes that is what we need to pull us out of the dumps.
All in all, remember you have the power to take action. You don't control what gets thrown at you in this life but you have full control of how you react and adapt. It isn't the absence of negative life experiences that make a person positive- it is the daily decisions they make in dealing with those things.
Let's dissect what blogging is right off the bat. "Blogging" is simply a term for writing stuff publically online for other people to read. It can be used to tell a story, share a lesson hype a product and so on. This venue for your collection of words is a lot more powerful than you realize. Much like the discipline of journaling, it value is a lot less about actually what comes out but what happens when we activate ourselves to initiate and follow through with the process. We stroke multiple channels of thought and communication in our brains, stir our emotions and the output can be striking unfamiliar but very satisfying.
If you want to skip to the technical of how to setup a blog right now you can check this walkthrough out I created: HOW TO SETUP A BLOG IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS
Here are 3 (of many reasons) you need to be blogging:
Blogging allows you to outwardly process emotion and thought.
There is power in the pen. Writing out thoughts and feelings allow us more depth in processing. 99% of the time I find new revelations in past situations and ready application I never even considered before. It can emotionally unconstipate us and create huge breakthroughs in areas of our lives where we feel "stuck".
Blogging allows us to grieve publicly and heal
Grief doesn't happen just because of a death in the family. We sometimes need to grieve and heal from lost opportunities, poor choices, hurtful situations and more. There is something so satisfying about being "real" and putting yourself out there. It is like saying "I'm vulnerable and broken but I'm here and this is my story". Truly powerful stuff.
One of the most powerful bi products of blogging online is that you sharing where you are can turn your hurts and hangups into healing for someone else - someone you don't even know! The web is powerfully connected and we all have some social media somewhere. Just sharing your blogging with people in your inner network can have a huge impact on them and their network and so on.
One big stopping point for people is that they feel they don't have millions of people to read it. As we said above, do it for yourself first. But in regards to this thought - would you rather be slightly know by 1 million people or have a life changing impact on 1 person's life and all those they connect with? It is not about the width of our impact - it is about the depth of our impact. Be real and authentic and you'll be surprised how much of a light you can be for others.
Blogging helps us refine our communication skills.
Life is all about communication. We are wired for community and we can't have community without communication. Writing develops our communication skills and cognitive abilities. It help us process things better. Even if you can't "write" writing makes you better.
So what is stopping you? If you are hung up on the technical pieces of setting up a blog, you can review my walkthrough on how to setup a blog on BlueHost (a blog hosting provider). The cost is $4-$5/month (and they have specials). WAAAY worth it.
We've heard the "think yourself rich" stuff for a long time. Gurus have sold us all for decades on how to make it work for us like they did. If you could just think different you could be a millionaire, own a jet and build a huge business. I'm sure most of us check out when we hear that - I know I have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to someone selling hype. BUT (with a big but) I think there is truth in the principle of self perspective when it has to do with the way we think about ourselves- especially when it comes to us thinking about our own value in life.
We are WAY to hard on ourselves. Have you ever had someone belittle themselves convinced of a lie that they believe about themselves that you don't even remotely believe? It manifests itself more when we hear or see people's actions. How could they do that? Why are they always in a funk, in trouble, hurting themselves and others? Lies. They are believing and acting out lies about themselves that they've come to believe that are simply not true. They aren't worth it, they should feel guilty and ashamed, they don't matter, etc.
I was at a luncheon once that was raising resources and awareness to rescue women from sex trafficking. In this horrific practice, the "pimp" that would introduce and keep women in the sex trade would start with a subtle lie about their value. These are women who you would NEVER think in a million years would consider anything like this.Then they'd continue to build the lies until the point where they'd convince these women that their only value is to sell themselves. It is sick and twisted - yet it demonstrates that what we end up believing about ourselves (true or not) will manifest itself into reality. Once we believe it, it is very easy to become it.
Here are the top 3 ways it creeps into our lives and keeps us from all our potential:
We believe other's lies about ourselves.
We live in a harsh world with a lot of broken people. Angry, frustrated, mean and hurting people. In relationships, scenarios and situations we encounter a lot of false information. One person's opinion doesn't define us. When I was in middle school I was a bit of a class clown. I felt that was where I got the most self esteem and people looked at me as someone that was funny but not smart. I played "dumb" a lot and that believe actually impacted all my output in school and many relationships. I remember one scenario where another peer strait asked me - Why are you acting dumb? You're not dumb." It completely shattered me. I thought to myself - he's right what am I doing? Just that pivot changed a ton of things in my life. We have to diligently filter other's input against what we know is true about ourselves.
We internalize these lies and wire them into our reality.
Usually as a second stage of believing the lies other people spin, we internalize their belief. We think, "..they said that so it must be true". STOP. People say a lot of things that aren't true - especially immature, emotional defunct people. Think about bullying. Did you have any bullies when you were growing up? Bullies hurt a lot of people but usually when you dig deeper most are really immature hurting people inside. They are trying to numb the pain in their lives by taking it out on others.
I remember this guy from highschool that I felt was always picking on me for some reason - acne, weight, you name it. This dude was such a jerk. He hurt me with his words and comments when I was prob most vulnerable and it took me a long time to get over it. Some of the stuff he said I felt just replayed in my head. Lies.
I found out later that he was physically abused pretty badly by his parents all through school. When I heard that, it just broke my heart in a way that I never thought I'd feel for this person. I went from resentment to compassion.
I believed some of the lies that he told me and for a long time because I made them my own. They kept me from seeking my full potential. Just because someone says it, doesn't mean it's true or that it defines who you are.
We build our lives based on other people.
We've all heard the phrase "keep up with the Jones'". It has to do with building our lives and making decisions around what other people think or how we think we look to other people. Facebook feeds this desire. Everyone seems so perfect that we feel like our lives aren't matching up - but behind the scenes everyone is broken and struggling just like the next person.
Why does this destroy our potential? Because it keeps us from being who we really are, making the unique contribution to our world only we can make and it perpetuates this belief system.
Thing about when someone is just real - an unadulterated "what you see is what you get" kind of person. It is almost refreshing. That is because we are drawn to authentic people - they feel "real". Authenticity has become so rare in our world but so attractive.
To sum it up:
Evaluate what lies you might be believing from your past and debunk them. Curate a positive self image and be yourself. The world needs you and what you bring to the table. You are valuable!
I learned this lesson the hard way when I decided to cheat the Cleveland, Ohio 5k race at Thanksgiving about 10 years ago. (It's embarrassing to even tell this story but it was quite a learning lesson for me.)
My father is an avid runner and has been his entire life. As for me I didn't get those genes - I'll run if my life is in danger or the food is ready. So, as a "bonding" experience I opted to run a yearly race he does at Thanksgiving in Cleveland Ohio called the "5k Turkey Trot". I showed up completely out of shape. I hadn't done ANY training for this race - I was overly optimistic and completely unprepared.
I remember staring with my dad and hundreds of others at the starting line. When they said go - we were off. The first half mile was bearable and then it started to get a bit tough. My dad was just cruising and it wasn't long before I couldn't see him. Before I knew it, I was already at the back with all the stragglers. I was a straggler.
Halfway into the race my mind started to give up. I found myself justifying speed walking, then justifying regularly walking and then I had the bright idea of taking a shortcut back to the finish line. Haven't I run enough? Who will know? Who would really care? It's just a dumb race. I'm not even a runner. (It's always amazing to me how willing we are to justify our own lies).
So I did it. I took the next side street and headed up toward the finish line. About halfway up the street I turned around and literally about died. People were following me.
I have to say that in that moment I felt like the worst human being in the world. First I had convinced myself to cheat and then I had unknowingly brought innocent people along with me. Could it get any worse?
Yes. I am not proud of my next action and it's crazy to even think I made this choice as a twenty something "adult". What did I do when I saw I was misleading others? I ran ahead and hid behind a car. Even typing that makes me feel scuzzy. I-hid-behind-a-car. And when the other runners came around the corner I remember peeking and seeing how bewildered they were that I had "vanished". Eventually, they ended up running back the way they came and found the course they should have been on.
I've thought of this story many, many times and there are 3 lessons that stick out so clearly:
Shortcuts don't work. They just waste our time and resources.
Not only did I give up on my goal of finishing the race and let people down - I ended up actually getting lost in Cleveland and going further than I would have if I would have just finished the race out. Shortcuts in life, business, relationships all have some kind of appeal in the beginning but in the end we wind up with wasted time, efforts and resources we will never get back.
Our shortcuts hurt other people even if we don't see it.
We like to think everyone else is isolated from our decisions. It is one of the great lies we spin. It is not true. Everything we do has an impact on the people closest to us - family, friends, etc. EVERYTHING. Positive and negative. When we opt to take a quick route or shortcut we will effect their lives and it rarely in a positive way.
Shortcuts hurt us even if we don't want to admit it.
The emotions I felt from this experience didn't stay in the race. I felt guilty for a long time because I cheated myself. I felt ashamed and embarrassed because I had quit so easily. I wound up lying to others about it, my results, what happened,etc. because I felt so bad. Negative emotions take a serious toll on us and rob of us joy and energy. This internal damage comes out in our attitude and behavior with others. No one wants to feel like that.
Guess what? I'm going back at it this year - Thanksgiving 2016. No shortcuts, no gimmicks. I'm going to finish it (run,walk, limp, crawl - whatever) and rewrite this chapter. :)
If you are like me you've seen a lot of headlines online about making money blogging. Who doesn't want to make additional income doing something they enjoy that is time and location independent, right?
But is it for real? Yes. Very real.
What can you do with this extra money you are making on the side?
-Pay off student loans
-Pay off debt
-Save for a home
-Pay for a private school for the kids
-Buy a new car
The opportunities are endless.
Before we go any further I promised proof that I know what I am talking about so below is a screenshot from one of my Adsense accounts in regards to a site I launched in 2014. Below is the launch and 90 day earning summary for one site I launched last year that focused on food:
What would it feel like if you had an extra few hundred per month?
I'll tell you. It feels awesome.
We live in a great time in history. The internet can work for anyone.
If you get a blog setup and are willing to put in the time and effort, it can become some serious income. Many bloggers we work with make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. (Here is another example from SuperMommyClub.com).
Here we go:
To setup a Blog you need a host (where the site lives) and a domain name. Setting up a blog nowadays is super easy and costs very little - especially with the host we use - BlueHost (To help I've put together a more thorough step by step walkthrough here: How to setup Wordpress Blog on Bluehost :) )
For Your Domain Name - Pick something easy and memorable. This doesn't have to be a premium one word dot com but it does have to give people an idea of what you are about when they look at it.
Hosting- There are a lot of hosts out there but I'm a big fan of BlueHost. They are super affordable (like $3.95/month) and have great support. A host is where you website and content will "live". It's where the actual files are located that people will access - articles to read, images,etc.
With Bluehost you are going to be able to install Wordpress ( a blogging platform) at no additional cost. The reason I recommend Wordpress is because it is so easy to learn and there is a lot of documentation online and on YouTube if you get stuck or need training. Plus you can find amazing themes already prebuilt for around $50 on ThemeForest.net instead of spending $2,500 to have someone build it from scratch.
(To help here is a technical link I put together to help you step by step the entire way: How to setup Wordpress on Bluehost :) )
Adsense can be a gold mine for bloggers because as soon as you get signed up and approved, is starts running advertisers. All you need is a gmail account, personal info and a bank account.
You can sign up here: www.google.com/adsense
The key for Adsense is placement. Remember a lot of people are browsing on their mobile phone and ads on the top or sidebar don't get shown. Make sure you put ads in the middle of your web page like this:
This is a free Google tool (you can signup here )and extremely powerful. It is how you will measure exactly how many people are going to your website. By using this tool you will know how many people are going to your blog, where they are coming from and what they are reading plus a ton more data. Use this to your advantage - if you know people are most interested in your blogs on home improvement, write more home improvement blogs, etc. The more you provide that your readers want the more they will read. Below is a screenshot from one of our sites that has over 1 million visitors per month.
Just a heads up, these tactics are for advanced users. Those who have setup their blog, have content and are ready to go.
A lot of websites and individuals write content (blogs, articles,etc.) and publish them but have no idea how to put them in front of people who will actually read them. They just go out online and get lost in web space. I've found a lot of success in finding a niche that you understand and can be an authority in - moms with toddlers, car enthusiasts, adults with ADD,etc. and use that as your starting platform.
The next step is to then find people that would most likely be interested in what you are writing. Social media is a perfect tool for finding potential readers. Here are some of my tips for the ones I use:
-Join Facebook groups who have individuals that would be interested in what you are writing about and share your articles there.
-Reach out to Facebook page owners with topics and followers that would be interested in what you are writing about and try to get them to share your content across their pages.
-Start a Facebook page and start running "like" ads to build up your followers. (Great info from AdEspresso here). We believe in this - we currently have 100 Facebook pages we run with over 15 M fans! (Link to pages).
-Look for group boards you can join that have followers that you can pin your content too.
-Create a Pinterest profile and pin high quality content that will attract the type of people that would love to read your blog. We have over 200k followers for our site LifeAsMama.com that caters to moms and I currently have over 996k followers on my personal profile of people that are into the stuff I am.
What are you waiting for? It's your time.