People may tell you to “cheer up” while your thoughts and self-judgments dictate fear and hopelessness. Use these fifteen truths to battle both and find a realistic middle ground that works for you.

  1. Time is steady. How we measure time counters illusions that hours fly by out of control or that they have come to an unwelcome stop. Watch the second hands on a clock for a bit to confirm this concept. Later, when you feel overwhelmed, think of this reminder.
  2. Time changes things. Each day is different, depending on what happens and how you decide to react to it. The opportunities for help and hope and change are vast. Do not give up.
  3. Time by itself is not enough. The good news is you do have control over parts of your life and your reactions to circumstances. This control, used wisely, can help you endure, face challenges, and craft a productive and satisfying existence. Seek balance.
  4. Other people understand what you are going through. They can help by offering support. In seeking the aid of professionals or peers, look for those who view themselves (and you) as separate from problems. Research your options carefully.
  5. Positive action defies rumination and negative thoughts. Write in a private journal as you try new things. How do you feel? What are the results? Do some activities or decisions bring feelings of success or actual life changes? Periodically, look back over what you have written to see how you have progressed over time, but do not be concerned about entries that show backward steps. Every journey has delays. Mark these as signs to watch out for in the future. Plan ways to handle similar events or feelings.
  6. Doing the “next right thing” really is powerful. The reason people say this a lot in Alcoholics Anonymous and other types of group support meetings is they have found it works to steer them toward daily success and peace by taking one positive step or action at a time. The journey is what’s important.
  7. Sharing what helps increases your power. In a support group setting or just in conversation or text, let others know if they have helped you and what you have discovered that worked. When you do this, you accomplish two things: reinforce your plan to add positives to your life AND bolster the courage of other people. Whether you realize it or not, you make a difference.
  8. Simple celebrations add joy to life. Do something special that validates your hard work. Reward yourself with a new shirt that makes you look great. Attend a picnic and fireworks with friends. Large or small, these moments of recognition are gratifying. They help you stay on the path you choose.
  9. Daily self-care makes you stronger. You are important. There are many ways to bring comfort and encouragement into your life. Start with setting up a place in your home where you can relax. Visit this spot at the same time daily. What kind of spots work? That rocking chair in the corner. Add a lap blanket and a cup of hot tea. The hammock in the yard or a bench in your garden. Have no garden? Buy a container or two of easy to grow flowers like marigolds. Anywhere that makes you feel peaceful is a good spot.
  10. Helping others has reciprocal benefits. A person who helps someone else often receives the most benefits. Try it. Cook a cake to share, offer to run errands, or cut the grass. You’ll be glad you did. This practice makes it easier to accept help, too.
  11. Every life has blessings. For protection, our brains are wired to remember trauma more easily than good experiences. Keeping a gratitude list or thinking about what you are grateful for activates a part of the brain that stores pleasant memories.
  12. Play is a vital part of living. Call it exercise, connecting with friends, or collecting, but play should not stop in childhood. It serves a useful purpose that helps add balance to a healthy life.
  13. A schedule keeps you focused. Have a general plan for the week, but each night, jot down what you want to get done the next day. Aim for less instead of more by rescheduling or canceling anything that is not a priority to you.
  14. Life will change. Sometimes it seems nothing will make a difference. Change, however, is inevitable. The important thing is being ready to adjust to change.
  15. You matter. You are not your problems. And that is power. If you can separate the things that cause you trouble from who you are, it will be easier to see who you really are.