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The Only Tip You Need to Beat the Blues

Updated on May 28, 2012

Not Happy!

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.

Beat the blues
Beat the blues

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...


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.”

From this...
From this... this this


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
  • traditions
  • 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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    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I can totally relate with the books. I think since becoming a parent, for me, it's more about surviving the moment (laughing)...seriously though. lately I've been reading more Dr. Seuss books (due to kids) than books for me personally but I enjoy seeing my daughter do things that I remember doing as a kid- I suppose that's technically not in the moment if I'm reliving past memories, but it's pretty golden nonetheless.

    • Elefanza profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain

      Books and walking outside helps me focus on the moment. I love looking at the trees and the sky. Also, when I'm reading a really good book, it's like nothing else exists. There's just enjoyment of the activity and being completely immersed in it. Good times!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Elefanza- good point. I have to work on that in-the-moment thing too. I get it with animals and kids- somehow they bring out being in the moment. What does it for you?

    • Elefanza profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain

      Yeah! Good advice! I think my problem is that I'm always looking forward to something and sometimes I forget to live in the present. But when you are deeply depressed, it is important to have goals to look forward to! Excellent article!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thank you so much Au fait

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      9 years ago from North Texas

      Well written and very good points. Voting you up, interesting, and will share with my followers!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THanks Tom! Good to keep busy. Sometimes I wish I could do more and feel a little guilty with my kids when I can't, but cross my fingers for three days now I've tried some new tricks that have helped with little fussy guy (Emmit). I have to feed him a bottle strapped in his carseat and put him to sleep in a different position besides cradling- he's a baby but he hates and fights the cradle position. Hoping I'm starting to speak his language lol. Have a good summer!

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      9 years ago from home

      Im ok...i do sruff try to be active, are home so they keep us rollin- baseball games summer concerts swiming and freinds coming over birthday parties and a garage sale and work on the house...hope all is well with Jr...Mr Fussy...

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      TH~ yes I was taking my chances on having an easier baby than my daughter was- I didn't have arthritis when she was born. BUT he is fussier and harder than she was. So now I'm in deep. But a mother's love...blah blah blah. In other word, and it literally pains me to say, I will do everything for spite of the pain.

      And thank you Tom for the congrats. (25/8) lol.

      How have you been?

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      9 years ago from home


      congrats on the new baby Im sure she/he will be keepin you goin 25/8 enjoy it all

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Billie~ thanks. sounds good and hope you have fun on the trip for hubby's b-day.

    • Billie Pagliolo profile image

      Billie Pagliolo 

      9 years ago from Laguna Hills, California

      Love the build-up - love the neat succinct suggestion. That's what stays with people, I think, and I know that's what will stay with me. I'm going to start right now. A trip for my husband's birthday in November? I'll sell some stuff on craigslist and start saving. How's that?

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Accepting the ups and downs is part of this ride we call life. I'd rather be real and authentic than happy 24/7.

      Love your description of the place you live- I'm going to have to look it up.

      You bring up a wonderful point about how the definition of happiness changes throughout life and with age. I see some seriously unhappy people who are trying to live and define happiness based on their 20's and they're now in their 40's. Time to revise! I'd have to say that less makes me happier as I get older.

      Thanks for your comment! Appreciated and glad to make a new friend on here. I enjoy your hubs so far too.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 

      9 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up, useful and interesting. I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis that there is a segment of society that runs to a doctor, pharmacy or nearest Barnes & Noble to find the cure all for sadness. I also liked your comment regarding a "cookie cutter" approach to sandwiching everyone into the same happy box. We are all human and with that come ups and downs on our emotional roller coasters of life.

      Some people, no matter what treatment or counseling they receive just can't seem to pull themselves up from the depths of despair. While I have had my personal ups and downs, I try to look at my glass as half full rather than half empty, yet, there are days my tumbler is empty. That's life and tomorrow will be better is the motto I use.

      Believe me, I can really relate to the seasonal blues syndrome. For you see, I live the the snow belt of the northeastern U.S. in a county called Broome, which we lovingly nicknamed "Broome the county of doom."

      Finally, I agree that the definition of happiness changes as we age and mature. For instance, things and events that made me happy when I was younger are no longer significant. Now I'm happy to be playing in my garden, planting flowers, planting vegetables, writing, exchanging healthy dialogue, etc. This was a super, thought provoking article and I enjoyed it immensely.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Tom~ wassup buddy! I was off hubpages for a little while and finding my footing again but super busy because I have a new baby boy...well he's 3 months now and of course because of my health issues I had a tough pregnancy but I'm much better now. Getting back to normal.

      As I said in my hub I don't think we need to be happy all the time...and yes I have found confidence despite my health issues...and yes I honestly just don't care what others think anymore. My dad the other day told me he couldn never read my feelings when I was younger and that I was always a steady even- not too happy, not too down. And now I've found that serves me well with all the sh*t I've been through. I don't cover up my feelings on things, I have occasional feeling sorry for myself moments, but even hubpages got me out of that as I look forward to writing and discussing things with people on here. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      ktbanks~ thank you for your support and yes I've often wondered about aging. 80+ is very impressive and at that time I hope to be happy just to be alive. I think honesty is good and she seems to be honest about aging being difficult. Thats us always trying to be happy, but honesty about milestones in life makes it a lot less difficult when we experience them for ourselves. You hear people saying they love being older (and wiser) but I would always hear mothers saying how great it is to be a mother and I swear its about 50/50. I love it but some days....and you don't hear many mothers being honest about it so when you feel miserable as a mother on some days you feel guilty like why am i not always happy about being a mom? I think the same goes for aging too.

      Dolphan5~ so right about the control we have over how we react or what we think about events in our life. I love that outlook.

      FIS~ yes I agree about tv shows and for me its that and ooks that I look forward to but find myself only consciously aware of looking forward to them when I am feeling a bit down in general. I hope to one day find time for meditation.

      drbj~ HOPE is so important. I wrote something on that somewhere...hmm. but yes it's a key ingredient for those in reall bad situations that last a long time. Hope is also something nobody can steal from you and I believe it's the one thing that causes humans to be so resilient and readily able to dive into survival mode when necessary.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      graceomalley~ you and I are alike on being home and being isolated from a majority of the world out there at times because we have health issues but you are a great example of the quote you gave- you enjoy looking at your kids or simple changes you and I never did that until I was really at home and couldn't walk or do much for a couple of months at the beginning of my arthritis. I felt guilt concerning my kids and I read an article on my illness that explained kids whose parents have health issues or disabilities will have sympathy, understanding, and awareness that isn't usually typical of kids.

      I let myself feel sorry for myself and have a good cry, but having been there, I try not to go back and have found the little things much more enjoyable. Great to hear from you...take care.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Krystal~ thanks so much for your input. I totally you know. There should be no shame in feelnig some paing now and then.

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      9 years ago from home

      Izetti- how have you been baby... oh I read the hubb but you know...ok that...

      Ok getting back... I have to agree that your idea about switching /tricking your mind to lose the thing your upset about- I sorta follow that idea but I have taken it to the "next" level- I dont try to brush over or hide it I just stop caring.. If you don't care you cant get upset I call it ADR Appathetic Dis Regard. I admit it-its a bit tougher but Im kinda gettin good at it - no super highs or super lows but a massive dose of mediocrity.


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      I would add one more ingredient, izettle: HOPE! But I think you covered it when you wrote about looking forward to something as one of the ingredients for happiness. Very thoughtful hub. Voted Up.

    • FIS profile image


      9 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      Great Hub... I agree with all of it.. well.. except.. I do think that meditation could help everyone... still.. I remember a time in my life when the only thing that kept me going was that I looked forward to new episodes of my favorite TV show.. that kept me going long enough for more important stuff to kick in again... bravo Laura.

    • Dolphan5 profile image


      9 years ago from Warwick R.I

      Hello Izetti,

      What a powerful topic! Happiness to me is something we all have total control over!

      Let me explain, Frank Sinatra sang (most eloquently) That's Life. We really have little control sometimes, about events that affect us, However we always have control over how we respond to these events.

      In choosing our response we determine how events progress with respect to the situation at hand. I've had some very personal and hurtful tragedy in my life. I can now more fully appreciate how people can give up. Lesson Learned.

      Life is a participation event and the key IS participation, no matter what. The answer is not in a pill, a bottle, food,sex, or what ever your vice may be, To me It's all about attitude. Life is what it is and s--t happens, So will we pick it up and dispose of it or will we let it sit there and smell bad!

      The choice will always be ours, no one and nothing can change that. So what will or can you do? It's all up to you!

      Voted thumbs up! Well written.

    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 

      9 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for writing this. I'm going to print it off and share it with my 81 year old Mother. She tries to maintain a good attitude, but she says that getting old is harder than she ever knew it was going to be.

      Voted it Up and most of everything :)

    • graceomalley profile image


      9 years ago

      Here's my very favorite quote about happiness: "People who have gone through sorrow are more sympathetic than others, not so much because of what they know about sorrow, but because they know more about happiness. They recognize its beauty and fragility, and welcome it whenever it comes." -Freya Stark

      So much for the 'be upbeat no matter what' folks.

      I've also done this little 'find something small to look forward to' trick with myself, though I don't think i realized it was a mood management technique until I read your hub. I'm at home most of the time due to health problems, but one feature of being in your own home is that you have so much control over environment, esp as the mom. A fun new recipe can be an amazing pick-me-up. So can just looking at your kids. I never get tired of that. They're young and beautiful and I am crazy about the. Plus, at this age, they change so quickly (unlike us old folks who are set in our ways at this point)they are a never ending source of entertainment.

      Good hub, really enjoyed it.

    • KrystalD profile image


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      I agree completely about this whole happy all the time stigma! I think each emotion is not only valid, but needed. This is what being human is all about. Peace and joy are wonderful when they come by pain is where we grow.

    • izettl profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from The Great Northwest

      WillStarr~ nice to see you here. contentment sounds like a very reasonable goal. I think its also about life get enough of it and you realize there are lots of ups and downs and that the thing called life. So even in the middle of a storm you can rest assured that it will eventually end.

      emilybee~ i think you have it figured out pretty well. if you can ease your issues without meds, thats great! Knowing that there are ups and downs helps to get through the bad times...most are temporary. I know a few people, and I've had it sometimes too, who get SAD. I tend to get it aftr Christmas when things wind down after holidays but there are still months ahead of dreary weather- luckily I like books and certain tv shows that start at that time of year so it helps. Thanks for stopping by.

    • emilybee profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree, it's important to think about the things you have to look forward to. I think I have SAD, especially this year I was so frustrated with being cold and the dreary weather patterns, it really can drive you nuts. It is so true too how most people run to the docs when they feel sad, I don't go to the doctor even when I'm sick and generally figure out my own remedies. I'm healthy enough :) Great hub :)

    • WillStarr profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I agree that being 'happy' is probably neither reasonable nor the true goal. I think what we actually desire is a feeling of peace and be the calm in the midst of the be tranquil when in the middle of chaos.

      We can get it from alcohol and drugs, but it’s temporary and comes at a great price. We can also get it by turning our lives over to a greater power, and it costs us nothing.

      Great Hub!


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