21st February 2012 by Claire Hill
When I was a teenager I sometimes really struggled to be positive. I went through times when I felt consistently low, when I struggled to feel excited or hopeful about my future or when I just generally felt down in the dumps with no obvious reason.
Along the way I discovered that there were some practical things that helped my attitude, mood & outlook stay more positive. Here are 5 of those things:
1. Getting active.
I found that a bike ride, a jog around the block or (even better) some basketball with my brother usually helped improve my headspace.
2. Soaking up some sunshine.
In my experience, sitting for hours indoors surrounded by the TV, laptop & phone is a sure fire way to make me start thinking of the glass as 'half empty'. It brings me right down. For me, darkness and lack of natural night almost always seems to facilitate a low mood and beautiful, natural sunlight pretty much always facilitates a good mood. I love to lie next to the pool or on the beach (with suncream on!) and soak up some vitamin D. For me – the effect on how I feel is quite significant.
3. Helping someone.
There was one period of time when I was particularly low ... for more than a year. My self-esteem was poor and I didn’t feel I had much to offer anyone. I volunteered to take out a lovely young girl whose parents had recently separated. We had dinner and went to TimeZone. We had fun and I loved seeing how happy it made her. We ended up doing it regularly. She and her mum were both so thankful. They thought I was helping them but actually they were helping me. It reminded me that I could be used to brighten someone else’s world.
4. Getting around some loving, positive people.
Sometimes being around people was the absolute last thing I wanted to do on a Friday night. Especially happy, bubbly people! I’d rather just hide at home. But I discovered that for me: isolating myself usually made me feel a lot worse. I started to push myself a bit to go out when invited – or I'd head to church – even when I really didn't feel like it. I think being around positive people who showed me love had a really good effect on me. It also gave the unhelpful, negative thoughts that were swirling around in my mind a rest for the night.
5. Surrounding myself with the truth.
The devil LOVES to fill our minds with lies about who we are, what we're worth, what people think of us, what our future holds. It’s a speciality of his. I find it really important to maximise the truth that is spoken into my heart/mind. When I was a teen, I’d place some Scripture verses on the wall in my bedroom. A key one for me Ephesians 6:14: “Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” I’d try to get to church often so I could hear truth proclaimed. I also tried to get around Christian people who would speak & pray truth over me.
This is not professional advice. It’s just a few practical things that have helped me personally in my own life. I pray that it might help someone out there! :)
Editor’s note: All of us occasionally feel down or experience flatness in our moods. But,
Then you might be suffering from depression. There is help available.
Head to out Get Help section for more information.