McCray: Just think positive?


People that suffer from depression are constantly told to “Just think positively.” Trying to think positively doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it can cause some to feel even worse and intensify their loneliness.

Have you ever felt like this?

We have all felt this way at one point or another, but it is important to remember we are not alone. Everyone has this little voice in their mind that can drag them down to a very low place. For some, these feelings are amplified. People mean well, and are trying to be supportive, but it can come off as hurtful, leaving the depressed individual to feel that something is wrong with them.

Why is it so challenging to think positively?

“The push toward positivity can feel tyrannical when it implies that only upbeat feelings are acceptable,” Oliver Burkeman said in an article published on Experience Life.

Sometimes being surrounded by others that seem to be happy can cause one to feel more alone. A Huffington Post article “Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Always Work” by Denise Simone shares “The key is that we learn how to get behind the wheel and begin to guide the Ego rather than allowing the Ego to guide us.”

How do we get behind the wheel of our lives and take control?

One suggestion is to try to have positive and healthy outlets that are good for us, and we enjoy. This could take the form of going for a walk, listening to your favorite music, creating or viewing art, getting involved in a sport, reading a book, dancing, gardening, volunteering for a cause you believe in or getting involved in a university club. If you are unsure if the activity you are thinking of is healthy and safe, ask someone that you trust. It is also a good idea to have a support system: close friend(s), family member(s), support group and counselor.

If you have a loved one who faces depression, you may be wondering how to be supportive, but not come across negatively or make them feel worse. In today’s 21st century, the rapid growth of technology is a challenge; we can learn to use it as a tool. Take the time to send a simple text and help remind those who struggle with internal and personal obstacles that they are not alone.

Not sure what to say?

The Mighty suggests, “No matter how dark your days get, I’ll be here for you. I’m just a phone call or a text away” or “I’m here if you ever need someone to talk to.”

This April 14 there will be an “Out of the Darkness” Suicide Prevention walk on the Glassboro Rowan University Main Campus. Please consider raising awareness and supporting those that struggle, by your participation in the walk.

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