The Only Tip You Need to Beat the Blues
I am not happy about society's message that we need to be happy all the time. If we're not feeling happy, we get a diagnosis, a prescription, and a pill...or if we don't tell our Doc then we run out and purchase the latest best-selling self-help book to fix ourselves or perhaps turn to substance abuse to soothe our unwanted unhappiness. After all, something must be wrong if we're not chronically happy.
I've always enjoyed the saying 'to know happiness, one must know sadness'. How can we be happy about anything if that's all we know? Do you ever wonder why those that seem like they have it all, come crashing down by way of substance abuse or criminal activity or even suicide. I've known people who seem to have it all and they usually have a deep dark secret hidden somewhere...usually that they're truly not happy.
Society also likes to cookie cut us into a one-size-fits-all definition of happiness yet everyone is different therefore not one person's definition of happiness should be alike to another. That is why those that have society's standard definition of happiness are still not happy. Some believed they wanted money because this society values money over family- they sacrificed family for money and are miserable. Sometimes it's the other way around. Either way, I'm here to help you beat your blues, not here to define your view of happiness.
Figuring out what makes you happy is important though...and realize it can change with each stage and age of our lives. We often define our happiness early in life then we stick with that definition like a bad habit. One's definition changes and you should always be tweaking it to fit new goals and new events in your life. For me now, family makes me happy, most of the time but not all of the time. I love writing like breathing and using my creative genius. Having said all this, even though I may have set and reached my definition of happiness, I can still succumb to the blues.
I am all for getting deep within your mood and your head and feeling the sadness with a good cry. Soak it up and roll around in the mud if you have to. But once that is done and it's time to get back up again, I have ONLY ONE solution you need. It's simple.
“Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead.” Tennesee Williams
How not to...
Before I give you my ONE and ONLY solution to beat the blues, let me tell you all the ways that don't typically work or perhaps you are unable to do them for some reason. Let me explain...
Reputable sources will all suggest you eat right, exercise, and meditate. This is all beautiful and fanciful but this isn't doable for everyone. Suppose you're in a deep enough rut, you can't even manage to get yourself a microwave dinner let alone cut veggies and toss them together with a healthful meal. Let's even say you're a mother like me and don't always have time to take care of yourself ideally. Or suppose you have a painful condition like I do (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and you can't exercise enough to make a dent (or a spark of serotonin) in the way you feel emotionally.
My solution considers all these reasons why someone may not be able to partake in the typical, and generic, remedy for the blues. This truly works because I've had a lot in life to get through. I have my own saying...'happiness can not be found in a cheeseburger or on a treadmill'. I've over-done it on both of those at some point in my life. I think people can overcome periodical sadness without running on a treadmill or drowning your sorrows in food (or whatever your go-to vice) - there is a happy medium that everyone can do.
My one and only solution is for everybody. Because there are so many people who get down about their lack of physical abilities (either sudden by illness or disability or just getting older), my approach to beat the blues worked during a time when I first got arthritis and could not barely walk for a couple of months. Many have had to deal with some sort of disability or loss of abilities so regular exercise isn't always an option and of course I wouldn't want people to go the opposite direction and overeat or overindulge in foods not good for them.
Here it is!
My solution is to have something to look forward to- the one thing that separates people who actually have depression from those that have the blues or a general funky mood, is depressed people do not feel they have anything to look forward to. All things they used to enjoy don't pep them up or excite them anymore. They've lost interest in life. If you have the blues, you have this...
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!
This even works for those that suffer from grief and SAD (seasonal effects disorder). Grief is short-term and occurs periodically but it is not constant. I've grieved some people in my life I would rather have not ever had to lose, but I knew that my life must go on and we realize that's what the deceased person would want as well. When grieving it helps to start out slow, like looking forward to the small things- for me that was going back to work or resuming my daily routines.
People with SAD- let me tell you, I should be an expert on this by now. I live in the rainiest and greyest state in the country...Washington. If anyone knows about SAD it's me and not because I get it, but I do feel it sometimes- when September rolls around and I know the next 9 months will be mostly grey and rainy. I feel like a squirrel with it's nuts- I gather up all the things, making a list, of what I have to look forward to for each month of that long and grueling fall, winter, and even spring. If changing seasons gets to you, make a list of what you like about each season; perhaps shows you like to watch, seasonal outings, hobbies, and buying yourself a special Christmas present.
“All of life is a journey which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.”
Have you ever noticed that some huge events or occasions or holidays you look forward to don't usually turn out the way you'd hope or you might have had too high of hopes for something big. The more you look forward to something the more it lets you down. And similar to this, the act of looking forward to something is often just as pleasurable as the event or item itself.
As I mentioned in the last section, making a list of what you look forward to, a small something now or tomorrow, is very useful. These are not big items so that's what keeps it simple and they most likely will not let you down! Some of those items can be:
- new sports season
- tv show series
- new book to read
- new recipe to try
- being involved in a hobby
- new place to visit
- new goal to reach
- reading newspaper or magazine
- your morning cup of coffee
“It has been said that we need just three things in life: Something to do, Something to look forward to And someone to love.”
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