What do you do when you are sad or depressed?
I know what I do. I stay in the muck and mire for awhile. I live in it. And for some twisted reason I trick myself into thinking it's somehow better. I know it's not. But I think it's my human nature to simply go with what I feel in the moment and continue to feel sorry for myself. It's just too much work to climb out of the quicksand.
Ok, before I go any further, let my clarify something. I think it's very ok to experience sadness. That's real life. Even the book of Ecclesiastes - a book from the Bible - expresses there is a time for everything, including mourning and sadness.
I also think depression is a real thing, and it needs to be treated. I'm someone who takes medication for depression. I've been to counseling in the past. I ask my Father in heaven for strength each day. I try to exercise and eat well. And I process life on a deep level with my close friends and my pastor. (Actually, having my close friends who love unconditionally, listen well, ask good questions, pray for me, and challenge me is very key. I call these people my harbor.) All things necessary to keep me moving in the right direction.
With all that said, I think there is one other thing I can do better to move from sadness to greater joy, and ultimately, greater purpose in life.
I need to shift my focus. My focus needs to move off of myself and onto other people.
When I choose to get outside of myself and figure out a way to serve and love other people, it changes my perspective. I'm not focused on my issues as much. I'm focusing on the needs of others and how to bring joy into their lives. This is hard to do because it's human nature to think about ourselves the most.
Let me illustrate with a powerful video story of a little boy. And as you watch, imagine our teens learning to shift their focus each day. How powerful would that be in our schools and communities? Click HERE.
David Roux is an Academic Life Coach for Teens in Fishers, IN. Visit his website at: www.davidrouxcoaching.com.