Why We Get So Serious At The Worst Possible Time

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be a difficult time to let yourself go, but you should resist the urge to let all of that work take over your life.

There’s a saying that goes: “If you have a broken bone you don’t try to beat it. You repair it. I would say that is equally true of your mood. To fix your mood you have to acknowledge the reality of the situation, but not let it take over your day.”

So we get really really stressed and all of our attention is focused on the fact that we “can’t get a break.” Well, let’s take a long break and talk about why your brain may not want you to. I’m going to skip the rest of this post because this isn’t helpful! For you to understand, though, it’s probably best to read the rest yourself.

When we’re really stressed we’re not paying attention to our real priorities in life.  It’s more and more obvious to us that we care about these things so we just do all of these things until we feel better, and then we feel better about it. 

There’s a very simple reason, I’m sure, that all this self-inflicted self-harm and procrastination is so common! To get the things we care about, it’s easier to just do them before we’re ready for them. I have a friend who will go shopping for a new pair of shoes in the middle of the night without ever touching his phone to check on how they feel. If he’s really stressed out, he’ll even sit and “think” about which shoes he should buy for his future self before going through the whole process of getting the shoes.  Then we know that this is his “real” priority and not something like “how to get a job.” (And if he’s stressed out about his lack of a job or doesn’t have the necessary money to make one work, I can tell you that neither is my priority!) 

Now, one could argue, well that’s what I’ve done when I was in my late twenties and early thirties.  It’s true that you’ve talked to me about how much you want to work but for whatever reason it never came up again in our conversation before it became obvious you couldn’t do it.  Then after you finally figured it out you realized you actually have an extra job waiting for you that pays half of what you were originally making, so you decided to take the leap of faith and do the thing.   But there’s a problem, there isn’t enough of a difference.   The first job ended up “working” and now you find yourself back where you started.   If you hadn’t given up on the idea of work you wouldn’t be where you are now, so it’s no longer the “real” first job.  And once you’re back where you started, there’s always the first job, the other job, your mom’s new job.  If you don’t get a raise every few months, I guarantee that your job is the first thing going in your unemployment file.  When you’re depressed and all of your attention is absorbed with your depression (which is perfectly understandable at times), you really just can’t focus on your real life goals because you don’t have enough time!

When you don’t get enough work done, you can’t focus on your real life goals and even if you did, your real life goals tend to have a lot less meaning.   The most important things are the things you would feel bad not doing.