Sadness Remedies - Ten Tips to Turn Around the Blues
Over the past few weeks, I have spoken to
many friends and acquaintances who have been having bouts of classic
sadness. I won't call it depression, although I am sure some of them
might be inclined to use that label. I've always been wary in using that
word with my clients since it can easily be misunderstood. Most of the
time what they're suffering from is sub-clinical depression, commonly
known as extreme sadness.
To be diagnosed with clinical depression, a person must experience a
specific number of symptoms every day for at least a two-week period.
Some of these symptoms may be: loss of usual interest or pleasure in
activities; reduced appetite and weight loss ( other than from healthy
dieting ); increased appetite and weight gain; changes in sleeping
pattern; feelings of inappropriate guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness,
or pessimism; inability to concentrate, remember things, or make
decisions; constant fatigue or loss of energy; restlessness or decreased
activity noticed by others; thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at
suicide; and persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to
treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
Most people do not fit into this pattern, and are in fact suffering only
from a serious case of the blues. It may last anywhere from days to
weeks. I don't want to minimize how difficult this is. Once people get
into a funk, they often cannot notice anything positive going on around
them. They are experiencing the world through defective filters. The Law
of Attraction states that you will get more of whatever you put your
energy, focus, and attention on. So people in this state will be drawn
into a negative vortex that is difficult to escape from without some
form of intervention or interruption of pattern.
Whether alone, or with the assistance of a friend, any combination of
the following approaches will contribute to breaking that pattern. They
1. Notice disguised opportunities.
Iacocca once said, "We are all faced with a series of great
opportunities - brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems." When I
trained in customer service skills, I used to tell front line staff that
customer complaints were not to be feared, but rather to be welcomed
with open arms. They were being handed a wonderful gift. Here was their
opportunity to shine. Here was their opportunity to show the customer
just how much we did care for their needs. Most customers are neutral,
but a disgruntled one, once turned around, is usually an activist for
2. Get ye to the countryside!
A research study measured subjects'
cognitive deficits and psychological states after walking in a city
environment compared to a group who walked in an arboretum. Those who
had walked in the city scored considerably less on a test of working
memory and attention, and were also in a worse mood than the other
3. Accentuate the positive.
I love Jim Carey movies. I recently watched,
"Yes Man." Here was a man living an uneventful life until he began
responding positively to every request. Of course this got him into some
unexpected and very funny situations; however there is a great lesson
here. For every event, look for and embrace its positive features.
4. Stay connected.
Maintain and foster your network of friends and
family, even if it is a bit of a chore. Isolating yourself just deepens
the hole you're in.
5. Stay active.
This is probably one of the simplest methods available.
Walk, dance, swim, or do some gardening. Trick your brain into thinking
that everything is just fine.
6. Nurture your body.
Eat well, drink well. At some time or other we all
turn to comfort food - self-medicating to make us feel better with too
much of things like pasta, pop, alcohol - but, though it feels fine in
the short term, it's destructive over time. Keep in mind that
dehydration is a prime cause of fuzzy thinking and convoluted decision
making. For good hydration, choose water over pop and alcohol, and, for
abrupt and dynamic change, switch much of your diet to fresh fruit and
vegetables, their fiber helping regulate your system's pace of
7. Get some sunlight.
During the short days of winter, either get outside
for twenty minutes a day, or buy a full-spectrum light bulb. Exposure to
this light on a daily basis will encourage your body to promote the
generation of the mood-raising vitamin D.
8. Nurture your mind.
Lots of research has shown that what we read,
listen to, or watch will affect our consciousness. Our conscious
thoughts influence our emotions, behaviors, and even our health. None of
us can afford the luxury of a negative thought. Saturate your mind with
positive thoughts. Avoid the news and listen to relaxing music. Spend as
much time out of doors as you can. Develop a habit of laughing and
smiling often. If you want to take it to another level, consider taking
a personal development course or hiring a life coach.
9. Live in the present.
Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future generates and sustains
anxiety. Some people love to mentally reside in the past because that
might be more interesting than their present lives. They can be
selective about which memories are comforting. Of course, in small doses
that’s fine. If this becomes a habit of escapism, that could be
detrimental in the long term. Avoiding the present is
counter-productive. The most beneficial use of memories is to reframe
them as lessons. That’s how we grow.
There is nothing wrong in considering the future, as long as it is for
the purpose of setting goals and contingency plans. If we set our
intentions and follow the principals of the Law of Attraction, then we
are on the right track. Worrying about outcomes is a consummate misuse
of energy. Not only that, it has the potential to lead us into a vortex
of anxiety and depression.
Focusing on the present creates a sense of grounding and wellbeing.
10. Be grateful. Instead of comparing yourself to others, or grieving
over what you once had, be grateful for what you do have, whether it's
health, family, skills, abilities, friends, or a place to live. Many
people keep a daily gratitude journal. This keeps their good fortune at
top of mind.
The last thing I want you to be aware of is that life is full of cycles.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in a natural low, and it takes only a
few negative events to make our life appear very gloomy indeed. Be
assertive. Give some of these approaches a trial run. I am sure you will
notice a difference within days.