Lifestyle, Mental health

3 Ways to Cope with Discouragement

“I read somewhere… how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.”

Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Dear Readers,

As much as I love writing for others, it is important sometimes to write for myself. All of the topics featured here are an extension of a recent personal struggle, and this is no different.

This week I was struck with a series of blows, but also some small victories. My fluctuating days, though dispairing they may be, then inspired me to investigate the fine line of positive thinking as it relates to mental health. One of the most important things I learned in therapy is the power of negative thinking.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

-Henry Ford

As someone who has lived through a great many heartfelt experiences of pain, it is only natural that I developed a catastrophizing mind along the way. It continues to take daily work to untangle the habit of seeing the danger in everything, including success.

The sensation of discouragement for any living thing can be a harsh blow, but for those of us living with mental health conditions, it can often lead to proufound devastation and a resurfacing of symptoms. This is significant because the role of goal setting is paramount in recovery, and can become fragile when faced with opposition. Therefore, it becomes pertinent in knowing the steps one can take to retrain their brain.

Mental Health America outlines three ways to cope with discouragement in their article, Stay Positive:

Foster Optimism

▪ Write about a positive future

▪ Search for the silver lining

Practice Gratitude

▪ Write a gratitude letter

▪ Keep a gratitude journal

▪ Remind yourself to savor

▪ Share your good news

Avoid Negative Thinking

▪ Avoid dwelling on downers

▪ Change unhealthy self-talk

▪ Ask yourself if your negative thought is really true

▪ Remember any achievements that disprove your insecurity

▪ Imagine what you’d tell a friend

▪ Beware of all-or-nothing thinking

▪ Consider alternative explanations

There you have it, some self work we can all adhere to! If it were up to me, I would add self-compassion, self-care, and worry limitation to this list. The truth is there is so much we can do to reverse our thinking, and it starts with problem solving in the present moment. Like anything skillful, these things take practice.

What do you do to feel strong?

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

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