Sometimes the blues sneak up on me. Sometimes they’re painfully persistent. In either case, it’s helpful to have on hand–or online–some “get happy” ideas to try to help elevate my mood. Here are my wiser-self’s instructions to my depressed-self when my moodiness depletes my motivation:
– Take some time to unwind by looking at cute pictures. Whether it’s perusing an album I’ve pulled together, or skimming through a slideshow on the net, looking at cute pictures showing faces of joy and peace puts a smile on this face.
– Savor the flavor of something simple & scrumptious. The prospect of eating something delicious (and healthy–to avoid later regret) is often just the thing needed to get me up and out of bed and/or up and out of a bad mood. Remembering with delight some mouth-watering morsel is criticial for those times when I’m stuck in ruminating mode–feeling sad, worried, and/or overwhelmed. So, brainstorm a list of your favorite 5-minute [healthy!] foods and keep it close at hand for those moments when you need a food-induced mood boost. (I’ll start my list now: wassail, cinnamon-hazelnut coffee, ripe peaches in my breakfast cereal, fried egg sandwich (with ketchup!), buttered toast topped with strawberry jam . . . )
-Find the hidden blessing in this sour mood. This is a tough challenge, but oh so worth it! Finding and celebrating the hidden blessing in a moment of depression takes away some of the guilt we may feel about our “pathetic ingratitude.” Go ahead and consider the positive possibilities: ‘Being in this bad mood is helping me . . .’
-Reward your body with exercise. Your internal organs work very hard for you. Reward them with a quick regimen of oxygen-enducing exercise! How important is oxygen to the body? Google “exercise provides oxygen to the”–including the quotation marks–and you’ll be amazed at how beneficial oxygen-enducing exercise is to the body’s systems!
-Do good. Find something to do that serves the greater good, and do it. (Examples: pick up trash along the streets around your neighborhood, scoop up any dog poops at a local children’s playground, write thank you cards to the city’s public servants, contact the library and ask if you could volunteer for an hour re-shelving books, etc.)
-Get some sun and find your inner cat. Even if you’re not up to getting dressed and going outside, find a sunny spot in your house/apartment, sit down with your face toward the sunshine, close your eyes, enjoy the warmth. Life is good when you’re a cat!
-Re-arrange the furniture. Yep: changing around the placement of furnishings in a room gets me pretty happy. The novelty of the new stimulates happy neurons in my brain. Try it!
-Imagine life without them. Envision what it would be like to be without some of the people who have graced your life. Bask in the beauty of beloved friendship.
-Get productive to get positive. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, a great way to stop being cranky is to conquer a small project. Whether it’s filing last month’s receipts or trimming the butterfly bush out front, accomplishing something feels great!
-Let music restore your mojo. Find some upbeat music and dance up a storm. Drum out your weariness. Sing like a star. Let music move you into a better mood. (I highly recommend ABBA’s Greatest Hits. Also, the song “Tomorrow” from the Broadway musical Annie–“Oh, the sun’ll come out tomorrow, so I’ve got to hang on till tomorrow–come what may!”)
-Give nature a try. Even if you can’t drive up into the mountains or out into the countryside, get outside. Lay on your back and look at the sky. Walk in the grass in your bare feet. Listen to the birds or the buzzing of insects. Stop and smell the roses, literally. Enjoy the sensual banquet that nature provides.
–Get out of bed to get out of your head. Stand up, feel the carpet under your feet, do a yoga stretch, take a deep breath, get dressed, etc.
–Pay attention to another person. Smile, watch, listen, call, email, chat, etc. to show another person that you care.
–Relax and read. Fiction, information, biography, personal stories–what is calling you, today?
–Eat foods that elevate mood. Proteins first–such as nuts, salmon, tuna, or chicken; later–oatmeal or whole grain bread; don’t forget–bananas, spinach, and a little dark chocolate!
–Practice “positivity” with personal affirmations. Some possibilities: “I forgive myself. I forgive others. We’re learning as we go!”
“I’m beautiful. I’m powerful. I’m divine!”
“I’ve got friends in high places. They’re helping me in a gazillion ways, every day!”
“There’s a lot to like about me. I’ve come a long way (Baby)!”
“I am creating beauty today–beautiful speech, beautiful kindness, beautiful moments, beautiful space.”
“I’m excited about this chapter in my story. No matter how the plot thickens, I’m committed and excited. Stay tuned as I thrive and help others feel alive! It’s history in the making!”
“There’s never been another me. I’m a modern miracle–empirically unrepeatable!”
“My positive efforts spread loving energy out and about in a domino effect of divine love.”
“I’m not stuck; there’s always a new possibility!”
-Close your eyes and visualize. Imagine the worry, pain, or numbness disappearing–carried off on the wings of an eagle, ascending away in a thousand helium balloons, or being washed down the river as a note in a bottle. Let it go, and breathe!
-More ideas to come!