Spring forward with your life

Spring forward with your life
March 24, 2016 David Shanley, Psy.D.

Spring is here and with it comes the opportunity for new hope, new beginnings, and new activities. Perhaps you have been feeling some seasonal depression from the gloomy winter, or some anxiety about the stress of the holidays or the new year. Or maybe you are just feeling kind of bored or stagnant, or ready for a change.

Whatever the case, the time is now to seize the moment and figure out something new to improve your life. Maybe it’s time for a career change.   Or perhaps you want to get into a new relationship. It could also be that simply starting a new activity, hobby, club, or sport could be the ticket to lifting your mood this season.

Starting new things can be a challenging process. The key to success is to break it down into easy steps so that you can take that first step. Make a commitment to following through with something and stick with it. Your mind is going to give you plenty of reasons why you can’t, or you shouldn’t, or it’s too hard, or you’re not good enough, or it’s never going to work. That’s just what minds do. They generate lots of thoughts, a large portion of which are unhelpful. So let your mind do its thing, and take action instead.

Starting something new is a great way to overcome anxiety or depression. It gives you a sense of mastery and accomplishment, and it forces you to overcome self-defeating thoughts and conquer anxiety-provoking situations. And the benefit to this is that the next time you want to do something, it will be that much easier because you will have practice at going through this process.

So what are you going to try? Something outdoors? A new gym membership? Rock climbing gym? Hiking club? Kayaking? Basketball? Volleyball? Mountain biking? Physical exercise, sunlight, meaningful activity, and social connection are a few of the keys to overcoming depression (and anxiety). Why not knock out all of them at once by doing something fun, engaging, active, and social? Your body and mind will both thank you. Life is too short to be wasted away. There is so much the world, and Colorado in particular, has to offer. Get started now!

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