Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

By: Brad Hoefs

Have you ever been intently focused on writing something when someone comes up behind you to ask you a question? Slightly startled, you answer the question and try to return to what you were writing, and because your train of thought was interrupted you can’t get your creative writing juices going again!  Staying focused is a necessary attribute when attempting to do many different types of things. And when our train of thought is interrupted, it is hard to continue to come back to that same focus.

 

Think about it, It would be next to impossible as a parent of small children if you were attempting to read the instructions and put together your latest purchase from Ikea.  Picture it, you’re sitting in the middle of the room with all of the latest parts laid out for a new dresser, and the kids are consistently asking you questions about what you were doing and demanding your attention!  It would try your patience. Chances are that you would give up because you wouldn’t be able to focus on the task. Most likely you would come to the conclusion that the assembly process would be a lot easier if you weren’t getting distracted by the kids.  

 

Being focused is essential for getting a lot of different types of tasks done in this life.  However, sometimes being intensely focused or “stuck” in our thinking about something is not good and we end up needing to be distracted from it.  We need to be interrupted! There are times we can become intensely focused, ruminating over and over on something negative. It’s at that point that we need to interrupt and distract our thinking.  Mastering the art of self-distraction is key to overcoming overthinking and negative ruminating. Lest our brain begins to get stuck like the needle of a record player within one of the groves of a vinyl record.  (For those of you who might be too young to know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to “Google-it.” 🙂 )

So, how does self-distraction work?  

The most important thing to do is to make a list of at least five to seven things that you like to do and refresh you, that requires you to focus on them that restores you.  For example, one of these things for me is to do artwork. I like to paint or make things out of mixed mediums. So, whenever I do that, my mind resets. It’s like a fresh reboot of my brain.  The same thing happens if I get up and take a walk or a drive. It’s these sorts of things you need to put on your list. What makes you happy? Baking? Art? Sports? A good movie? Reading? A walk? Helping someone else? Time with a friend? Crafts?

As part of your list, include three friends that you enjoy being with that you could call and ask to do any one of these activities along with you.

Then,

  1. When you recognize the need to interrupt your thinking, first make the decision that you need to interrupt your thinking, that you need to self-distract.
  2. Choose one of the things to do from your already established list of “brain reboots.”  (By the way, even if the activity doesn’t require you to change your location or space, think about doing that anyway.  A different room of the house, changing your physical space or position certainly helps disrupt your ruminating.)
  3. If the first one you choose to do, doesn’t do the trick, pick another one.
  4. If that does not work, then call a friend and ask them to do one of them with you.  If the first of the three friends aren’t home, then move to the next one on the list. Hopefully at least one of the three of them will be available. Don’t give up easily.  Keep trying to get ahold of them until one of them can do something with you. And in the meantime, do something that absolutely needs to be done that you don’t like to do. Maybe it’s laundry?  Yardwork?

 

What if what the thinking that you are focused on is painful but necessary to do?  Sometimes there is thinking that feels worse than ruminating, yet we need to process to move on in life.  An example of this might be the work of grief. If this is the case, then you might need to tell yourself you are going to focus on working on it for the next 45 minutes, set a timer and then when the timer goes off set a time to come back to it later in the day or the next day.  And then go to your list and refresh yourself with something you like to do that will reset your thinking.

By nature, I’m a ruminator.  I tend to over think, over process things and get my “stinkin’ thinkin'” stuck in deep ruts.  So, learning the art of self-distraction has been one of the most helpful recovery tools that I have mastered.  How about you? Do you know how to self-distract? Do you have a list of your favorite distractors? What would you add to those I’ve mentioned above?

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

By Pastor Rick Qualls

You knew something was wrong.

Maybe you were self aware. You recognized you weren’t enjoying anything any more. Your energy was at low ebb. You had become an angry person.

You blame your family. Their expectations of you are too high. They have drained your energy. All you are is a paycheck. They become the focus of your anger. You distance yourself physically and emotionally. There are fights and arguments.

Gradually it dawns on you they are not the problem. You are suffering. Is it depression? Burnout? Mid-life crisis?

On the other hand your friends and family may be the ones to point out that you are always angry. You don’t participate in activities any more. You stare off into space and when asked what you are thinking about you say, “Nothing” and it is the truth.

They point out that you have changed, and not for the better. In a moment of clarity you admit they are right.

They say, “Snap out of it.” They don’t know how hard you have been trying

But you are the one in charge. You take care of others. You are in control and so you tackle this problem head on.brian-mann-16600.jpg

You researched books on depression and burnout. You sought answers in podcasts. Though you do not have interest you throw yourself back into the things you once in enjoyed.

“If only you are thankful you will pull out of it.” So you made a list of your blessings. “Think good thoughts.” You tried but negative thoughts revolved around your head. You swatted them like flies but they never really go away.

“Throw yourself into your work and you will be better in no time.” So you spend more hours at work but your productivity fell off. You worry you might be fired.

Someone says, “Perhaps you are depressed.” You fight those words. Depression is for the weak. You are strong. Everyone counts on you. You have never let anyone down. You’ve got this.

You run. You meditate. You find a different job.

But you continue to suffer. Your marriage is strained. Work is more difficult than ever before. Friends are gone. You don’t know how long you can hold it together.

And then you take the first step. It has been long in coming. You ask for help.

Getting better on your own may work. But it is likely it won’t. You need help and it is the hardest thing you have ever done. Asking for help makes you feel like a failure. You feel useless. You feel helpless.

But in time you will learn these are the lies of depression. Depression is like a shroud that has covered your eyes keeping you from seeing things as they are.

You are never stronger than when you ask for help. Depression is an illness and we need compassionate helpers who can help us on a healing journey.

Where to begin? A good beginning is with your physician for a diagnosis. There are screening tests for depression and your doctor will know the symptoms for diagnosing depression.

If your physician is not comfortable treating you he can give you references to other physicians more knowledgeable about the subject. He may refer you to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a physician that treats mental health issues.

Find a therapist or a counselor who is well trained in depression.  A therapist can help you learn coping and managing skills.

But asking for help means you will be honest and real. Hiding information or memories because you are embarrassed will keep your helpers from doing their job. Their job? To help you get better.

It is a paradox that strength comes when we are ready to admit that we are unable to do save things alone. It does not make us weak it makes us smart.

In the beatitudes Jesus taught the very first spiritual principle:  Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble, those who acknowledge their need. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. “

Take that first long step.

Quails-bio-slide

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

By: Brad Hoefs

Have you ever been intently focused on writing something when someone comes up behind you to ask you a question? Slightly startled, you answer the question and try to return to what you were writing, and because your train of thought was interrupted you can’t get your creative writing juices going again!  Staying focused is a necessary attribute when attempting to do many different types of things. And when our train of thought is interrupted, it is hard to continue to come back to that same focus.

 

Think about it, It would be next to impossible as a parent of small children if you were attempting to read the instructions and put together your latest purchase from Ikea.  Picture it, you’re sitting in the middle of the room with all of the latest parts laid out for a new dresser, and the kids are consistently asking you questions about what you were doing and demanding your attention!  It would try your patience. Chances are that you would give up because you wouldn’t be able to focus on the task. Most likely you would come to the conclusion that the assembly process would be a lot easier if you weren’t getting distracted by the kids.  

 

Being focused is essential for getting a lot of different types of tasks done in this life.  However, sometimes being intensely focused or “stuck” in our thinking about something is not good and we end up needing to be distracted from it.  We need to be interrupted! There are times we can become intensely focused, ruminating over and over on something negative. It’s at that point that we need to interrupt and distract our thinking.  Mastering the art of self-distraction is key to overcoming overthinking and negative ruminating. Lest our brain begins to get stuck like the needle of a record player within one of the groves of a vinyl record.  (For those of you who might be too young to know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to “Google-it.” 🙂 )

So, how does self-distraction work?  

The most important thing to do is to make a list of at least five to seven things that you like to do and refresh you, that requires you to focus on them that restores you.  For example, one of these things for me is to do artwork. I like to paint or make things out of mixed mediums. So, whenever I do that, my mind resets. It’s like a fresh reboot of my brain.  The same thing happens if I get up and take a walk or a drive. It’s these sorts of things you need to put on your list. What makes you happy? Baking? Art? Sports? A good movie? Reading? A walk? Helping someone else? Time with a friend? Crafts?

As part of your list, include three friends that you enjoy being with that you could call and ask to do any one of these activities along with you.

Then,

  1. When you recognize the need to interrupt your thinking, first make the decision that you need to interrupt your thinking, that you need to self-distract.
  2. Choose one of the things to do from your already established list of “brain reboots.”  (By the way, even if the activity doesn’t require you to change your location or space, think about doing that anyway.  A different room of the house, changing your physical space or position certainly helps disrupt your ruminating.)
  3. If the first one you choose to do, doesn’t do the trick, pick another one.
  4. If that does not work, then call a friend and ask them to do one of them with you.  If the first of the three friends aren’t home, then move to the next one on the list. Hopefully at least one of the three of them will be available. Don’t give up easily.  Keep trying to get ahold of them until one of them can do something with you. And in the meantime, do something that absolutely needs to be done that you don’t like to do. Maybe it’s laundry?  Yardwork?

 

What if what the thinking that you are focused on is painful but necessary to do?  Sometimes there is thinking that feels worse than ruminating, yet we need to process to move on in life.  An example of this might be the work of grief. If this is the case, then you might need to tell yourself you are going to focus on working on it for the next 45 minutes, set a timer and then when the timer goes off set a time to come back to it later in the day or the next day.  And then go to your list and refresh yourself with something you like to do that will reset your thinking.

By nature, I’m a ruminator.  I tend to over think, over process things and get my “stinkin’ thinkin'” stuck in deep ruts.  So, learning the art of self-distraction has been one of the most helpful recovery tools that I have mastered.  How about you? Do you know how to self-distract? Do you have a list of your favorite distractors? What would you add to those I’ve mentioned above?

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

By: Brad Hoefs

Have you ever been intently focused on writing something when someone comes up behind you to ask you a question? Slightly startled, you answer the question and try to return to what you were writing, and because your train of thought was interrupted you can’t get your creative writing juices going again!  Staying focused is a necessary attribute when attempting to do many different types of things. And when our train of thought is interrupted, it is hard to continue to come back to that same focus.

 

Think about it, It would be next to impossible as a parent of small children if you were attempting to read the instructions and put together your latest purchase from Ikea.  Picture it, you’re sitting in the middle of the room with all of the latest parts laid out for a new dresser, and the kids are consistently asking you questions about what you were doing and demanding your attention!  It would try your patience. Chances are that you would give up because you wouldn’t be able to focus on the task. Most likely you would come to the conclusion that the assembly process would be a lot easier if you weren’t getting distracted by the kids.  

 

Being focused is essential for getting a lot of different types of tasks done in this life.  However, sometimes being intensely focused or “stuck” in our thinking about something is not good and we end up needing to be distracted from it.  We need to be interrupted! There are times we can become intensely focused, ruminating over and over on something negative. It’s at that point that we need to interrupt and distract our thinking.  Mastering the art of self-distraction is key to overcoming overthinking and negative ruminating. Lest our brain begins to get stuck like the needle of a record player within one of the groves of a vinyl record.  (For those of you who might be too young to know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to “Google-it.” 🙂 )

So, how does self-distraction work?  

The most important thing to do is to make a list of at least five to seven things that you like to do and refresh you, that requires you to focus on them that restores you.  For example, one of these things for me is to do artwork. I like to paint or make things out of mixed mediums. So, whenever I do that, my mind resets. It’s like a fresh reboot of my brain.  The same thing happens if I get up and take a walk or a drive. It’s these sorts of things you need to put on your list. What makes you happy? Baking? Art? Sports? A good movie? Reading? A walk? Helping someone else? Time with a friend? Crafts?

As part of your list, include three friends that you enjoy being with that you could call and ask to do any one of these activities along with you.

Then,

  1. When you recognize the need to interrupt your thinking, first make the decision that you need to interrupt your thinking, that you need to self-distract.
  2. Choose one of the things to do from your already established list of “brain reboots.”  (By the way, even if the activity doesn’t require you to change your location or space, think about doing that anyway.  A different room of the house, changing your physical space or position certainly helps disrupt your ruminating.)
  3. If the first one you choose to do, doesn’t do the trick, pick another one.
  4. If that does not work, then call a friend and ask them to do one of them with you.  If the first of the three friends aren’t home, then move to the next one on the list. Hopefully at least one of the three of them will be available. Don’t give up easily.  Keep trying to get ahold of them until one of them can do something with you. And in the meantime, do something that absolutely needs to be done that you don’t like to do. Maybe it’s laundry?  Yardwork?

 

What if what the thinking that you are focused on is painful but necessary to do?  Sometimes there is thinking that feels worse than ruminating, yet we need to process to move on in life.  An example of this might be the work of grief. If this is the case, then you might need to tell yourself you are going to focus on working on it for the next 45 minutes, set a timer and then when the timer goes off set a time to come back to it later in the day or the next day.  And then go to your list and refresh yourself with something you like to do that will reset your thinking.

By nature, I’m a ruminator.  I tend to over think, over process things and get my “stinkin’ thinkin'” stuck in deep ruts.  So, learning the art of self-distraction has been one of the most helpful recovery tools that I have mastered.  How about you? Do you know how to self-distract? Do you have a list of your favorite distractors? What would you add to those I’ve mentioned above?

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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God’s Love Letter to You!

God’s Love Letter to You!

 I offer to you this letter from God your Father.

This is His love letter to YOU!

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you.   Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.   Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.   Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.   Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.   Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.   Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.    Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.   Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.  Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.   Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.   Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.   Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.   Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.   Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.   John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.   1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.   1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.   Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.   Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.   James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.   Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.   Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalm 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.   Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.   Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.   Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.   Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.   Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.   Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.   Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.   2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.   2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.   Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.   Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.   Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.   Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.    John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.    John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.   Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.    Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.   1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.    Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.    1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.   Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.   Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.    Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child?     John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.    Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad.
Almighty God

 

Permission to copy and reprint providing that it is used in its entirety and the following copyright notice is displayed…
Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

By Pastor Rick Qualls

You knew something was wrong.

Maybe you were self aware. You recognized you weren’t enjoying anything any more. Your energy was at low ebb. You had become an angry person.

You blame your family. Their expectations of you are too high. They have drained your energy. All you are is a paycheck. They become the focus of your anger. You distance yourself physically and emotionally. There are fights and arguments.

Gradually it dawns on you they are not the problem. You are suffering. Is it depression? Burnout? Mid-life crisis?

On the other hand your friends and family may be the ones to point out that you are always angry. You don’t participate in activities any more. You stare off into space and when asked what you are thinking about you say, “Nothing” and it is the truth.

They point out that you have changed, and not for the better. In a moment of clarity you admit they are right.

They say, “Snap out of it.” They don’t know how hard you have been trying

But you are the one in charge. You take care of others. You are in control and so you tackle this problem head on.brian-mann-16600.jpg

You researched books on depression and burnout. You sought answers in podcasts. Though you do not have interest you throw yourself back into the things you once in enjoyed.

“If only you are thankful you will pull out of it.” So you made a list of your blessings. “Think good thoughts.” You tried but negative thoughts revolved around your head. You swatted them like flies but they never really go away.

“Throw yourself into your work and you will be better in no time.” So you spend more hours at work but your productivity fell off. You worry you might be fired.

Someone says, “Perhaps you are depressed.” You fight those words. Depression is for the weak. You are strong. Everyone counts on you. You have never let anyone down. You’ve got this.

You run. You meditate. You find a different job.

But you continue to suffer. Your marriage is strained. Work is more difficult than ever before. Friends are gone. You don’t know how long you can hold it together.

And then you take the first step. It has been long in coming. You ask for help.

Getting better on your own may work. But it is likely it won’t. You need help and it is the hardest thing you have ever done. Asking for help makes you feel like a failure. You feel useless. You feel helpless.

But in time you will learn these are the lies of depression. Depression is like a shroud that has covered your eyes keeping you from seeing things as they are.

You are never stronger than when you ask for help. Depression is an illness and we need compassionate helpers who can help us on a healing journey.

Where to begin? A good beginning is with your physician for a diagnosis. There are screening tests for depression and your doctor will know the symptoms for diagnosing depression.

If your physician is not comfortable treating you he can give you references to other physicians more knowledgeable about the subject. He may refer you to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a physician that treats mental health issues.

Find a therapist or a counselor who is well trained in depression.  A therapist can help you learn coping and managing skills.

But asking for help means you will be honest and real. Hiding information or memories because you are embarrassed will keep your helpers from doing their job. Their job? To help you get better.

It is a paradox that strength comes when we are ready to admit that we are unable to do save things alone. It does not make us weak it makes us smart.

In the beatitudes Jesus taught the very first spiritual principle:  Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble, those who acknowledge their need. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. “

Take that first long step.

Quails-bio-slide

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Give Yourself Permission

Give Yourself Permission

By Fresh Hope Blogger: Kathy Turney

Doesn’t that seem like a strange thing to say; give yourself permission?

When we were children, we had to ask our parents for permission to do something or go somewhere.  As adults, we don’t usually have to ask for permission unless it’s time off from our job or from some responsibility.  In general, however, we can eat when we want, stay up as long as we want, etc.

I remember when my kids were in school.  They worked really hard at homework, school projects, and other activities.  They had this tendency, even at a young age, to pile on things.  We do this as adults all the time.  I told my kids when they needed a break just to let me know and they had my permission to take a day off from school.  I wanted to remind them it was okay to take a break sometimes.

As adults. we have a huge load of responsibility.  We work, go to school, we are married, we volunteer, we go to our children’s functions and help them with homework.  We also have to pay bills, go grocery shopping, and clothes shopping for ourselves and our family.  We go to church or other groups we are involved in.  We have to take care of the house and/or the lawn.  The list never stops.

Have you ever given yourself permission to sit and read a book?  How about permission to skip mowing the lawn until tomorrow night?  Will the world come to an end if we don’t get it done? We need rest to be the best we can be.

What about permission for other things like being sad, happy, silly, or feeling lonely?  It’s  okay to have these feelings as well.  As adults, I believe we push those things aside because we don’t think they are important or we feel we are being selfish.  These things are just as important as the physical things we need to do.  One of the things my counselor told me was to say,  “Sandy, you have my permission to be mad”.  “Sandy, you have my permission to take a 30-minute nap”.  Saying things out loud seems to be more effective.  It’s amazing what this can do for your well-being.  You are giving yourself a gift when you give permission to have or do something you need, and I believe this will help you be a better you!!!

Sandy-Turney-slide

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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God’s Love Letter to YOU!

God’s Love Letter to YOU!

On this Father’s Day, I offer to you this letter from God your Father.

This is His love letter to YOU!

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you.   Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.   Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.   Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.   Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.   Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.   Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.    Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.   Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.  Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.   Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.   Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.   Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.   Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.   Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.   John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.   1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.   1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.   Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.   Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.   James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.   Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.   Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalm 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.   Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.   Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.   Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.   Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.   Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.   Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.   Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.   2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.   2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.   Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.   Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.   Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.   Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.    John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.    John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.   Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.    Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.   1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.    Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.    1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.   Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.   Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.    Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child?     John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.    Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad.
Almighty God

 

Permission to copy and reprint providing that it is used in its entirety and the following copyright notice is displayed…
Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

Mastering the Art of Self-Distraction

By: Brad Hoefs

Have you ever been intently focused on writing something when someone comes up behind you to ask you a question? Slightly startled, you answer the question and try to return to what you were writing, and because your train of thought was interrupted you can’t get your creative writing juices going again!  Staying focused is a necessary attribute when attempting to do many different types of things. And when our train of thought is interrupted, it is hard to continue to come back to that same focus.

 

Think about it, It would be next to impossible as a parent of small children if you were attempting to read the instructions and put together your latest purchase from Ikea.  Picture it, you’re sitting in the middle of the room with all of the latest parts laid out for a new dresser, and the kids are consistently asking you questions about what you were doing and demanding your attention!  It would try your patience. Chances are that you would give up because you wouldn’t be able to focus on the task. Most likely you would come to the conclusion that the assembly process would be a lot easier if you weren’t getting distracted by the kids.  

 

Being focused is essential for getting a lot of different types of tasks done in this life.  However, sometimes being intensely focused or “stuck” in our thinking about something is not good and we end up needing to be distracted from it.  We need to be interrupted! There are times we can become intensely focused, ruminating over and over on something negative. It’s at that point that we need to interrupt and distract our thinking.  Mastering the art of self-distraction is key to overcoming overthinking and negative ruminating. Lest our brain begins to get stuck like the needle of a record player within one of the groves of a vinyl record.  (For those of you who might be too young to know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to “Google-it.” 🙂 )

So, how does self-distraction work?  

The most important thing to do is to make a list of at least five to seven things that you like to do and refresh you, that requires you to focus on them that restores you.  For example, one of these things for me is to do artwork. I like to paint or make things out of mixed mediums. So, whenever I do that, my mind resets. It’s like a fresh reboot of my brain.  The same thing happens if I get up and take a walk or a drive. It’s these sorts of things you need to put on your list. What makes you happy? Baking? Art? Sports? A good movie? Reading? A walk? Helping someone else? Time with a friend? Crafts?

As part of your list, include three friends that you enjoy being with that you could call and ask to do any one of these activities along with you.

Then,

  1. When you recognize the need to interrupt your thinking, first make the decision that you need to interrupt your thinking, that you need to self-distract.
  2. Choose one of the things to do from your already established list of “brain reboots.”  (By the way, even if the activity doesn’t require you to change your location or space, think about doing that anyway.  A different room of the house, changing your physical space or position certainly helps disrupt your ruminating.)
  3. If the first one you choose to do, doesn’t do the trick, pick another one.
  4. If that does not work, then call a friend and ask them to do one of them with you.  If the first of the three friends aren’t home, then move to the next one on the list. Hopefully at least one of the three of them will be available. Don’t give up easily.  Keep trying to get ahold of them until one of them can do something with you. And in the meantime, do something that absolutely needs to be done that you don’t like to do. Maybe it’s laundry?  Yardwork?

 

What if what the thinking that you are focused on is painful but necessary to do?  Sometimes there is thinking that feels worse than ruminating, yet we need to process to move on in life.  An example of this might be the work of grief. If this is the case, then you might need to tell yourself you are going to focus on working on it for the next 45 minutes, set a timer and then when the timer goes off set a time to come back to it later in the day or the next day.  And then go to your list and refresh yourself with something you like to do that will reset your thinking.

By nature, I’m a ruminator.  I tend to over think, over process things and get my “stinkin’ thinkin'” stuck in deep ruts.  So, learning the art of self-distraction has been one of the most helpful recovery tools that I have mastered.  How about you? Do you know how to self-distract? Do you have a list of your favorite distractors? What would you add to those I’ve mentioned above?

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

The Long First Step: Asking for Help by Pastor Rick Qualls

By Pastor Rick Qualls

You knew something was wrong.

Maybe you were self aware. You recognized you weren’t enjoying anything any more. Your energy was at low ebb. You had become an angry person.

You blame your family. Their expectations of you are too high. They have drained your energy. All you are is a paycheck. They become the focus of your anger. You distance yourself physically and emotionally. There are fights and arguments.

Gradually it dawns on you they are not the problem. You are suffering. Is it depression? Burnout? Mid-life crisis?

On the other hand your friends and family may be the ones to point out that you are always angry. You don’t participate in activities any more. You stare off into space and when asked what you are thinking about you say, “Nothing” and it is the truth.

They point out that you have changed, and not for the better. In a moment of clarity you admit they are right.

They say, “Snap out of it.” They don’t know how hard you have been trying

But you are the one in charge. You take care of others. You are in control and so you tackle this problem head on.brian-mann-16600.jpg

You researched books on depression and burnout. You sought answers in podcasts. Though you do not have interest you throw yourself back into the things you once in enjoyed.

“If only you are thankful you will pull out of it.” So you made a list of your blessings. “Think good thoughts.” You tried but negative thoughts revolved around your head. You swatted them like flies but they never really go away.

“Throw yourself into your work and you will be better in no time.” So you spend more hours at work but your productivity fell off. You worry you might be fired.

Someone says, “Perhaps you are depressed.” You fight those words. Depression is for the weak. You are strong. Everyone counts on you. You have never let anyone down. You’ve got this.

You run. You meditate. You find a different job.

But you continue to suffer. Your marriage is strained. Work is more difficult than ever before. Friends are gone. You don’t know how long you can hold it together.

And then you take the first step. It has been long in coming. You ask for help.

Getting better on your own may work. But it is likely it won’t. You need help and it is the hardest thing you have ever done. Asking for help makes you feel like a failure. You feel useless. You feel helpless.

But in time you will learn these are the lies of depression. Depression is like a shroud that has covered your eyes keeping you from seeing things as they are.

You are never stronger than when you ask for help. Depression is an illness and we need compassionate helpers who can help us on a healing journey.

Where to begin? A good beginning is with your physician for a diagnosis. There are screening tests for depression and your doctor will know the symptoms for diagnosing depression.

If your physician is not comfortable treating you he can give you references to other physicians more knowledgeable about the subject. He may refer you to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a physician that treats mental health issues.

Find a therapist or a counselor who is well trained in depression.  A therapist can help you learn coping and managing skills.

But asking for help means you will be honest and real. Hiding information or memories because you are embarrassed will keep your helpers from doing their job. Their job? To help you get better.

It is a paradox that strength comes when we are ready to admit that we are unable to do save things alone. It does not make us weak it makes us smart.

In the beatitudes Jesus taught the very first spiritual principle:  Blessed are those who are poor in spirit, those who are humble, those who acknowledge their need. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God. “

Take that first long step.

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Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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