How to Find (Your Own) Encouragement When The Outlook is Bleak

Knowing how to pull yourself out of a slump is one of the most under-hyped, yet necessary skills you can have (at any age). We all have dips in life, but knowing that doesn’t necessarily make the low points any easier. A bad day, sure, but it can be especially difficult to pull yourself together when the foreseeable feature looks cloudy – when you know the difficult experiences you’re having are going to keep rolling in for awhile, anyway. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be a certain experience that’s clouding your outlook – a breakup, divorce, job loss, etc., these are sure to trip you up, but there’s also times you’re just… stuck… and not exactly sure why.

That reason doesn’t matter so much, what matters is that you give these tips a good try:


The very first step is to start small. Don’t even think of it as an entire step if that’s too much. Having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Take it one tiny move at a time. Break it down like this: 1.) I’m going to take the blankets off, 2) I’m going to sit up, 3) I’m going to put my feet on the floor, and so on.

Next, take a few minutes to yourself to think. Don’t deny that you’re in a rut. Don’t deny that you’re having trouble being positive, or that you could use encouraging words. Don’t allow a world where everyone is concerned with proving just how happy, fulfilling, and overall incredible their lives are, make you feel like you need to pretend things are going a way they’re not. You’ll never be able to make a change if you’re too busy faking it. (Seriously – faking it takes so much time and energy, you’ll want to free up this space.)

Now that you’ve been honest with yourself, seek out encouragement. We all know encouragement doesn’t come straight to us when we need it. Here is where you do something that inspires you. It’s where you shift from the negative thoughts to the positive things you’ve been neglecting. Read a book you love. Read a book you haven’t read. Read articles from websites you’re not used to reading. Read something deep and powerful. Get off social media, and really dig into literature, art, or music – something that draws you in rather than alienating you further.

Another way to find inspiration, and ultimately help yourself, is to help someone else. It makes sense – given how fulfilling helping someone else can be. Not only will volunteering for a day, doing something nice for a friend, or taking on an extra project at work, make you feel a bit better, it will make you realize how important it is to just have support. It’ll be fresh in your mind and you’ll have no excuse not to help yourself too.

Although these self-prescribed methods for finding encouragement when the horizon is bleak aren’t replacements for human connection, support from loved ones, or professional help, these are small, simple gestures you can make for YOU – something to bring up whenever needed. There’s nothing like knowing that you’re all you need to make a change or pick yourself up.   I have to say, though… sometimes, the pickup i need comes when I ASK for help, which i never like to do, lol.  Calling or texting a close friend with a simple “feeling blue today- can you shoot me some sunshine?” often helps lift me up just enough to motivate myself.  And prayer often helps me, personally.  Trying to see myself from a loving, outer-perspective.

One last note– looking yourself in the eyes in the mirror and saying something kind.  I noticed the other day how often I allow negative thoughts about myself to pass through my mind, unchecked, when I pass a mirror.  Do yourself the favor or verbalizing things you know (or hope) are great about yourself.


PS – If you haven’t tried these relaxation techniques, they only take ten minutes. Give them a try!

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