Every caregiver sometimes has negative thoughts -- at least everyone who's human! Unfortunately, negative thinking can darken your mood and send your emotions spiraling downward. And since the stress of caregiving already raises your risk of depression, it's best to break a negative-thinking cycle quickly.
Here are seven ways to catch and reorient yourself when you find yourself saying or thinking things like, "Nothing is going right," "I'm never able to . . . ," or "It's hopeless."
Remember that "always" and "never" sentences are almost never true!
Try to banish these words from your vocabulary. They're satisfyingly dramatic but unnecessary downers.
Look hard at the truth of your negative statement.
Is it completely accurate? Is it fair? Things are seldom entirely grim.
Flip your statement to its positive side:
"What's going right is . . . " or, "At least I'm able to . . . "
Play the "glad game."
Make like Pollyanna, the girl who vowed to find one thing to be glad about no matter how bad things were. Corny, but effective.
Get a reality check.
Ask the doctor, a sibling, or friend to go over a situation (or aspect of a situation) that has you feeling down or upset and review the facts. What else might be considered? How bad is it really? What does he or she suggest?
Ask yourself, "Where do I go from here?"
Think of one positive step you can take -- even if it's a baby step -- that will shift your reality to a slightly better one. There may still be plenty to be glum about, but this act shifts you toward a sense of positive momentum.
Remind yourself that you're doing the best you can in a hard situation.
As the saying goes, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."