Health Column: How to tackle that feeling of misery

Changing your thoughts can lift your spirits - it's that simple!

Margaret Ferry


Margaret Ferry


Health column

Misery likes company, so why do we make it a simple resolve with everything else?

Think about it, when we are tired, we rest. When the car is low on fuel, we refill. When we are cold, we wrap up. When the cupboards are empty, we shop.

So why do we not apply the same formula to our mental health?

A client said to me recently that he has no control over his negative thoughts or negative feelings. I agreed with him; he was right. However, we do have control over actions or reactions to our thoughts and feelings. We can choose to change our thoughts, therefore change our feelings or choose not to change.

My client spoke about why he was experiencing the negativity, he was faced with a decision. But while contemplating this decision he was only contemplating on the worst-case scenario. And I can confirm, they were very scary outcomes indeed.

I asked him to outline the best-case scenario, but he resisted as he felt I didn’t understand how big a deal this was.

I asked him again, and I asked him to fantasize and tell me what his life would be like if things worked out well, really well. He used high energy words such as “wonderful” and “brilliant”. He sat forward in his seat and spoke with a smile, his eyes lit up and his cheeks became rosy. He became excited for the future.

I will leave you in suspense as to which decision was made and maybe there was another angle he hadn’t thought about. It is not my job to make decisions for people, my job is to get them to see all possible outcomes and support them on their journey.

But, within that one-hour coaching session, he changed his thoughts. His spirits were lifted. His body language and words changed, and his heart rate increased too. I simply prompted him to change his point of view, and his reactions changed.

The choice formula is relative to any area of our life. When we are feeling hungry, we choose to eat or not, or when we are feeling misery, we choose to find positive influences or not.

You know the formula now, and you can choose to use it….