Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Everybody gets discouraged.
Here are some specific steps you can take to deal with discouragement:
Diagnose the cause of your discouragement. Be specific. Are you down because of a person’s actions, because of financial issues, because you’ve missed your goals? The more specific you are in diagnosing the cause, the better able you will be to identify a solution.
Ask someone you trust to help you process whether or not your diagnosis is rooted in reality. Discouragement is highly subjective and sometimes we get down because of what we think is happening rather than what is actually happening. A little outside objectivity can help us discern if our feelings are based on fact or fiction. Is it really time to throw in the towel or is it time to put our heads down and persevere?
Spend some quality time with God. Often the last thing I want to do when I’m down is read my Bible or pray. I slip into a funk and I start thinking religion is irrelevant. But, Scripture has a lot to say to the discouraged. Try starting with Psalm 34.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8, NLT)
Asses your options. Be creative. Come up with at least 10 different solutions to what’s getting you down. Don’t rule out the ones that seem utterly crazy. (Okay, no violence or otherwise breaking the law, please.) This is another place where a thinking partner can be helpful. Recognize that there is hope. The less light we see at the end of the tunnel the more discouraged we’ll feel. There’s always something you can do.
Choose one thing each day to bring change. Even as simple an action as walking around the block can help. It will raise your endorphins, get your heart pumping, and may just help you see things differently.
Thank someone. Find just one thing to be thankful for and express that thanksgiving to someone today. Ultimately, it’s impossible to be thankful and discouraged at the same time. Be it ever so small, find something for which to be thankful.
Discouragement isn’t likely to be permanent, nor are the circumstances that cause it. I think Plutarch put it well when he said, “… many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.”
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