Amelia Earhart once said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.
“The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process, is its own reward.”
Ms. Earhart was one of the bravest people in modern history, and she knew about confronting our fears. Unfortunately, when you’re feeling frozen and trapped by them, it can be difficult to do almost anything.
The truth is, if you believe you can’t do something, it’s your mind playing tricks on you.
You may be suffering from depression, or you may get angry and indignant or just turn your back on an opportunity because internally you feel doing something is too much for you. You may even tend to find problems that are not real.
If you notice these tendencies in yourself, it would be a good idea to get yourself checked out by a mental health professional. Although medical doctors are much better at screening for mental health issues these days, you may need to probe deeper. This is one way to help get unstuck from a life of excuses and the doldrums.
When your moods run your life, you miss opportunities and you may also be hard on yourself, which makes everything harder. When someone gives you advice to go out and experience the world, you may not take it in very well and may be a little resentful, or you may hear the advice but not know how to respond positively. It’s an internal battle. If you want to break free, you have to fight the moods that tell you that you can’t do it.
Even if you don’t circumnavigate the globe, you can still have a full life. Understanding that feelings aren’t facts is a good place to start. Your moods don’t have to control you.
If you are feeling low or not wanting to engage with the world, or even with your dog, something is holding you back. You don’t have to know what it is, but simply taking action — petting the dog or taking a walk or having lunch with a friend — will help immensely. Even though part of you is fighting against feeling good, you have to fight back by allowing yourself to have some fun, feel the love, and take a moment to feel good about life.
Try it for one minute. Seriously, walk outside and look at the sky. That’s all. Just look for one minute. Then try petting an animal and feel the love you are giving and getting for that whole minute. Then maybe call someone you love and tell them about how you feel about them. It only takes a minute.
The next day, do similar things for two minutes, and the next day do them for three minutes, and so on until you create a whole day of more positive actions.
Look for small bits of daily improvement, and soon you will experience more positive moments than negative ones, which are caused by moods that do not serve you. There are numerous paths to improving your emotional headspace. It just takes one step at a time.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Saturdays and Mondays in the News-Press.