Thought Habits Can Be Beat

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2016 Nancy Virden

Digital eyeYou walk into your place of work and sigh. Suddenly you feel tired when only a moment ago you were energized.

You enter your bedroom alone and the emotional build-up of the day carries your thoughts to self-doubt and loneliness.

In your car, music swells as you observe your emotions rising and falling with the rhythm. The song ends in a minor key and you find yourself thinking about old hurts and sorrows.

We can develop thought habits. Specific places, life circumstances, and sensory experiences all influence our moods because how we feel about what is around us is guided by our thoughts. Simply put, if you think a song is sad, you will experience some measure of dropped mood while listening to it.

Achieving and maintaining good mental health is more complicated than changing your music choices. However, why not do that? Creating an upbeat playlist gives you the option of listening to it. Then if you do not like how you are feeling, you can try hearing something new.

Exchanging negative or uncomfortable thought habits for more positive, productive ones is a matter of choice and hard work. Begin by asking, “What specific environment/circumstance/sensation typically brings me down (or worse, triggers self-destructive behaviors)?”

What if you committed to arriving at work ten minutes early, reClose up image of man placing hot water bag on his shoulder against white backgroundlaxing with a glass of water (ok, coffee), and connecting with a positive and supportive friend before starting each day?  Isn’t it possible your attitude could change to anticipation instead of dread?

What if, while you feel lonely and worn out by the day, you enter a bedroom that’s been dedicated to serenity? No TV, no vices, just physical and spiritual health and positive thought choices.  On one wall hangs a list of affirmations you can choose to read. There are lotions to give yourself a foot rub.

This morning I named my room the Forgiving Room because all self-defeating negative self-talk is no longer allowed there. The room is dedicated to prayer, and practicing gratitude and self-care. Outside the doorway is where I leave everything else.One day, this exchange will have become automatic and permanent.

So you see, thought habits can be challenged and replaced if we want to change how we feel.

Compassionate Love is for ourselves too.

**********Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*pictures from

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