Take a short break. If you feel very upset or overstressed, take a break. Take several slow, deep breaths, stretch, and relax physically. When your body and mind are calm again, you will be able to think more clearly. Take a walk with your companion, get some food or a drink, or just sit and think for a few minutes.

Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself with the same kind, comforting words you would use with someone else. Everyone gets frustrated or makes mistakes sometimes. Know that the Lord understands. Imagine Him sitting close to you, listening and offering support. Remember, thoughts of helplessness, hopelessness, or harsh condemnation are not from the Lord.

Refocus on gratitude. Notice what is around you. Focus for a few minutes on what is right, good, and positive about yourself and the world. Offer a prayer of gratitude for at least five specific things.

Take one step at a time. Identify the immediate problem, and take one step at a time to solve it. Remind yourself, “All I have to do right now is ____.” For example, “All I have to do right now is make a list.” or “All I have to do right now is get dressed.”

Help someone else. Refocus your energy by serving someone else. Smile at people, help them out, and offer service.

Talk back to negative thinking. Right now, or before bed tonight, list your negative thoughts from today on paper; then rewrite them to be more hopeful, truthful, and encouraging (see three examples below).

Rewrite Negative Thoughts:
Instead of:  “I don’t care what my spouse thinks. I’m doing this my way.”
Rewrite:  I do care; I’m just frustrated. Maybe if I listen better and ask more questions, I’ll understand more why my spouse sees this differently.

Instead of:  “I’m always so disorganized.”
Rewrite:  Sometimes I’m disorganized, and sometimes I’m better organized. I can pick one thing at a time to work on organizing better.

Instead of:  I’ll never make it through this day.
Rewrite: I’ve made it through every day so far, and I’ll make it through today. All I have to do right now is what is in front of me, one step at a time. After this lesson I’ll relax for five minutes to calm down.


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