Step 4: Defeat Discouragement
Do you want to douse yourself with discouragement? Just watch the news.
Twenty-four hours a day – bad news at your fingertips. Murder and mayhem. Death and destruction. Natural disasters and pocket-lining politicians. Who wouldn’t be discouraged?
And then you’re supposed to go about with a smile on your face, bubbling over with enthusiasm for your career or business?
I’m a self-employed entrepreneur. Discouragement is a death knell. I’ve got to be self-motivated, a self-starter and surging with enthusiasm. But discouragement is a natural part of life.
Got a bright idea? Ten people will tell you it’s pie in the sky. Dreaming big beyond your current economic or life circumstances? “Be realistic kid. That’ll never happen.”
If you want to get your mood out of the dumps, then you have to consciously make an effort to defeat discouragement.
Here are five tactics you might use:
- Recognize your natural ups and downs. Everyone has a mood cycle and a circadian rhythm. Discover your daily and weekly slumps and do something fun to counteract them. Work with your biorhythms, not against them.
- Limit your news intake. I read the daily paper and several times a week watch the evening news. I listen to a news station in the car. I used to be a journalist, after all. But I don’t have a news feed streaming on my phone. And I try not to watch the news at bedtime. Balance your news intake with some uplifting, positive stories – yes, they exist.
- Hang around upbeat people. Moods are contagious. If all of your friends and coworkers are doom and gloom people, it’ll be hard for you to stay positive. Getting a healthy dose of optimism is like getting enough sunshine to enhance your Vitamin D level. Find some people who like to laugh, who see the glass half-full, not half empty. Soak in their upbeat outlook.
- Take a break. It’s true: All work and no play make Jack (or Jill) a dull and discouraged boy. If 24-7 news is a downer, so is 24-7 work. When you are tired, it’s easier to get discouraged. Build some rest and relaxation into your daily and weekly schedule. A five minute virtual trip every hour to your favorite vacation spot will make you smile; a weekly day of play with friends and family will boost your mood and your health.
- Put things in perspective. We all face challenges. But there are positive things in our lives. Try counting your blessings instead of sheep at night. Help someone else who is facing huge challenges – with an encouraging word, a listening ear, a helping hand or an anonymous donation. Helping others always helps lift your mood.
Yes, discouragement is part of life. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you or paralyze you. With some effort, you can make a habit of being more positive. You can defeat discouragement.
ADDED FEATURE – Want to have access to a free worksheet to keep discouragement at bay? Click here to download it.
Up next – Step 4 in the Stop “Dis-ing” Yourself Series: Reduce the Distance to Your Goals