A good friend from high school recently sent me a FaceBook post about someone, Kerri Grote, who died of brain cancer and left a note for her surviving family and friends. Kerri had lots of wisdom worth sharing, so I’ll quote from her note in the next few posts and use it as a jumping off point.
What fuels your life: fear or engagement?
A wise person she spoke with after her second brain surgery asked, “Are you running towards life or running away from death?” Great question! And one that really speaks to the importance and pleasure of being fully engaged in life, rather than using fear to fuel your life choices.
Active or passive
Running toward life, engaging in life, is a satisfying approach to life because it’s proactive. It’s not waiting to see what life’s going to bring you. It’s taking the time to decide what’s important to you and making a plan to work toward that. It’s not about wishing, hoping, and waiting for what you want, but actively going for it.
Passivity fuels depression
Along those lines, do you think people are passive because they’re depressed? Or depressed because they’re passive? It may sound like a chicken-egg question, but it’s not. Passivity feeds depression! This means that running toward life, really engaging in life, will feel better than pulling the covers over your head and waiting for things to get better. Taking productive action will help lessen any depressive tendencies you may have.
Ways to feel better
Instead of procrastinating, take productive action now!
What’s productive action, you ask? Productive action may be something fun, like calling a good friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile, taking a walk, putting on some music you love and having your own private dance party while you tackle the dishes in the sink, or planning your next vacation. Or it may be something that doesn’t feel good while you’re doing it, but leads to a sense of accomplishment when you’re done, such as updating your résumé, doing your taxes, paying your bills, or tallying your expense report or billable hours.
Build in rewards
Many people find that for the more onerous tasks they face, setting up a reward afterward makes the work feel better. That way there’s a double pleasure: the reward and the sense of accomplishment.
Manage your self-esteem by handling yourself well
Procrastination gets in the way of engaging in your life. And it leads to lowered self-esteem. Not convinced? Think about something you’ve been putting off. Imagine continuing to put it off for another day, week, month. How do you feel about yourself? Now imagine completing that task. How do you feel about yourself? It’s obviously not enough to just imagine it! Get started doing it and see how you feel about yourself!
Prioritize your mental health
In addition to these simple ways of changing your thinking and actions, you may benefit from talking with a trained therapist to explore the roots of your problematic thoughts and learn about what gets in the way of living a more engaged and satisfying life.
Kerri Grote has some words of wisdom about mental health: “Honor your mental health and seek out a good therapist with the same vigor you’d search for a romantic partner.” Read about depression treatment and my background. Let’s connect soon to help you more fully enjoy your life.