Positive Actions Will Lead to Positive Thinking
I believe that positive actions will lead to positive thinking. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, what you think ultimately determines your actions. With depression, however, sometimes you have to consciously choose actions in order to change your thinking. Positive actions will lead to positive thinking.
Negative Thinking Will Lead to Negative Actions
If your brain is filled with negative thoughts, you may be telling yourself things like, “I’m worthless; my life is terrible.”
This is how I used to think when depression had its strongest hold on me. The result of my negative thinking was that I engaged in behaviors that reinforced my state of mind. I stayed in bed half the day. I withdrew from social activities. I focused on all the things that were wrong in my life. I did want to get better, but my thought processes got in the way. My negative thinking produced negative actions.
Positive Actions Will Lead to Positive Thinking
When you suffer from depression, it is a real challenge to try and change your negative thought processes, but you can change your actions. Engaging in positive actions will lead to positive thinking. There are numerous activities that are scientifically proven to promote subjective wellbeing. These include being in nature, expressing gratitude, meditating, and being socially integrated.
Many studies have shown that spending time in nature has physiological and psychological benefits. Going outside for a walk, sitting in the sun, or beholding the beauty of the great outdoors reduces stress, increases happiness, helps you regulate your emotions, and fosters a sense of connectedness. In short, getting out into nature revitalizes you.
Managing depression with gratitude improves subjective wellbeing according to work by Dr. Robert Emmons. Being grateful decreases feelings of loneliness, increases positive emotions, enhances compassion, and improves quality of life. Giving thanks, even for the small gifts in life, can change your state of mind.
Meditatio, even for beginners, increases positive emotions and helps with emotional regulation. It decreases stress levels and improves symptoms of depression. Whether you focus on your breathing, repeat a positive mantra, or just sit with the emotions you’re feeling, taking that time to be still and present with yourself and your experience can bring you inner peace.
Finally, being involved in healthy social relationships improves health. When you are part of a community, it can reduce feelings of isolation and make you feel happier. Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we are all social beings and connecting with others cultivates positivity.
Positive Actions Will Lead to Bliss
Instead of letting negative thoughts pull you away from the world, make a conscious decision to interact with the world. Do things that are known to bring happiness and wellbeing, like getting out in nature, expressing gratitude, meditating, and being social. If you establish these kinds of practices in your life, you actually can change how you think. Positive actions will lead to positive thinking and, ultimately, to bliss.
- Keniger LE, Gaston KJ, Irvine KN, Fuller RA (2013). What are the benefits of interacting with nature? Int J Environ Res Public Health. Mar 6;10(3):913-35.
- Emmons RA, McCullough ME (2003). Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. J Pers Soc Psychol. 84(2):377-389.
- Frederickson BL, Cohn M, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM (2008). Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources. J Pers Soc Psychol. 95(5):1045-1062.
- Umberson K, Montez JK (2010). Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy J Health Soc Behav. 51(Suppl): S54–S66.
Image from Flickr user thephotographymuse.
Morin, S. (2016, April 19). Positive Actions Will Lead to Positive Thinking, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, December 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2016/04/positive-actions-will-lead-to-positive-thinking
Author: Silke Morin
@Sad Mother I know how horrible it feels to watch a child, even a grown one, suffer. But I don't have anything left to give; my son and I both suffer from Bipolar disorder and I've got a serious physical disability as well. Circumstances have taken my son from me and I can't help him anymore; we aren't even allowed contact, which I know makes us both worse. I hope someday he'll be able to save himself and get away finally from his abuser but he was so close once before and didn't make it that I fear he's given up.
I, too, have given up now. It is good to think there may be people in the world like you who care but I'm way beyond that; I realize I simply do not matter, not to anyone, anywhere, and never will. I'm tired of trying, it leads nowhere but more and more pain, every single time and I certainly do not need that. I think I've endured enough. Now I just want to fade away into the oblivion where thever few left who know me or who are forced to deal with me because they're obliged to (doctors, etc) so desperately wish I'd disappear to. Your daughter is very fortunate; I hope she knows how much you love her and that she appreciates it. But you're wrong about anybody else. Whether or not you want to believe it, there are people - like me - whom nobody cares about. If I died today no one would even find out for at least a couple of weeks; quite likely much longer. Telling people that "somewhere out there someone loves you" only drives the stake in deeper.
Anna, Despite what you are feeling now, like everything else, feelings change. They don't stay the same forever. Please give yourself some time. And whether you want to believe or not, there are people who care about you. I care. Why would I care if I don't even know you? Because I do know how painful and lonely and dark depression can be and I don't want anyone to go through what I went through. This is why I write for this blog and for my own blog - to connect with others, to let people know they are not alone. There is help and there is hope. It may not feel like it right now, but certainly you haven't always felt this way. Surely you have times in your life that were happy. So, hold onto those memories until the dark parts pass. And if you do find yourself in crisis, call 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.
To all of you that suffer,I pray that relief will come in ANY From.You are all loved by somebody,and the pain I feel from watching my daughter suffer,must be mild compared to what both she and you experience each day.
From the person watching,I am grateful that I can read your words.It helps me to know how my daughter feels,and makes me glad to know it's not me that causes the pain.
Look after yourselves
Know that you are loved
I cannot imagine how difficult it is to watch someone else suffer. I write more about my history with depression on my personal blog - mymusinglife.com and just posted about suicide prevention (my plea for it anyway). Your daughter is lucky to have you in her life. I'm sure it makes a difference.
As Baby Steps said when one is severely depressed getting out of bed is a massive accomplishment. I have been able to stabilize my mood for the last two years,(no anti depressants) but it was exceptionally difficult. I had to find a reason to re-engage in life and that was hard because I didn't have one. But I decided that I wanted to stick around and find out what living to my fullest potential would be like. It's never worked for me to do something physically first (like go for a walk etc...)to get me out of the funk . For me it was always about correcting my thinking and then the rest would fall into place. And that has worked very well.
Because I have now learnt to understand inner signals: when I start seeing the signs that I am getting depressive I will stop and take things slowly and connect with what I am feeling (I never used to do that), I have set a "bottom level" which means I will never allow my mood to spiral further than what I have set my expectations at. So I know that at my worst I can have a day or two where I feel like doing nothing but then I know what not to do to perpetuate that and that means looking at what I am feeling and most importantly what I am telling myself. Sometimes just doing something simple like reading a book at the park or leaving the house and going to the library to read the book can do wonders.(it's about just getting fresh air really). I am now working on replacing maladaptive coping habits to healthier skills that become a part of who I am and how I choose to live as that is the difference between someone who is likely to get depressed and someone who functions healthily in life.
Shae, I'm so glad that you have been able to stabilize your mood and get out of your depression. It has also taken me about 2 years of solid work to get to this point.
You are so wise to develop greater awareness of your own experience and know "this is my limit" so that you can employ your coping strategies. that really is the key, having an emotionally health toolbox at your disposal.
With regard to positive actions, if I happen to be severely depressed I have absolutely no energy or desire to do anything positive except maybe sleep but when I eventually get around to being sick and tired of living in this state I tend to get a little angry and irritable which I can use as fuel to force myself to get up now and then or do something different no matter how seemingly insignificant that may be to others or despite how poorly I'm feeling or how negative my thoughts may be. By trying to push past all that and at least try to make an effort these tiny positive actions tend to snowball over time which in turn has the potential to create better thoughts and feelings.
Like for instance instead of lying in bed all day, when it's sunshining outside especially on the weekend I try to drag myself over to a nearby beach and lay on a soft blanket in the sand while I take in the warmth of the sun and a refreshing cool breeze washing over my body and deeply breathe in the smell of the salty sea air. It's kinda invigorating yet relaxing at the same time, well sort of. I also have to listen to some relaxing music or meditative tapes to block out the noise of kids playing nearby. (I also have to remember to put on alot of sunscreen so I don't get burned if I happen to fall asleep for too long which often tends to be the case). At least that's something. Also just being around other strangers on the beach sometimes helps to break the sense of isolation which often comes with being depressed. It's certainly a lot healthier than hibernating in my dark, dingy apartment all alone with the drapes pulled shut
Or Instead of being overwhelmed by all the dirty dishes in the sink I force myself to get up off the couch and wash one or two dishes by hand (since I don't have the luxury of a dishwasher) in between the TV commercial, that is of course, when I can at least muster the energy to first get out of bed and make over it to the couch to watch the TV.
Or sometimes even just making up the bed with some clean sheets, putting on a night gown and sleeping under the covers like a normal person instead of constantly flaking out on top of the bedding or bare mattress in my regular clothing (which I did for 2 years) is a start
As Nike commercial says, "Just do it". Do something, do anything.. I find if I don't give up and let the depression totally consume me and try, try, try my very best to keep moving to push past my limititations even if that means I have to stop and start a number of times, I find that any progress is better than no progress at all and it gives me a better chance of getting well sooner than later
I completely agree with you. I remember in one of my worst depressive episodes, I would actually have to remind myself to eat, because I just had no desire and would forget. Like brushing teeth or washing hands, you have to create the habit that will help keep you healthy, in this case mentally healthy, even though you have no desire to do it.
I am glad that you have found the ability to do something, even if it's small (wash a dish, sleeping in a clean nightgown), because taking that first step is crucial.