Everyone gets sad sometimes, maybe a little blue and not very energetic or joyful about anything. Sometimes you know exactly what’s going on and why you feel that way, but sometimes the blues can set in for no apparent reason. You may have had an incident that directly impacted you, or feel sadness and grief by an event that doesn’t directly affect you at all. Or, you may be experiencing hormone issues (menopause, menstruation) that can make you feel off kilter and not yourself.
Whether you know for sure what’s causing the blue mood or not, here are some things you can do to try to help yourself feel better.
Write about a few things or people that you’re grateful for and why. Focus on the positive and be specific. A grateful heart helps open your eyes to what you have and takes the focus off of what you don’t have. Journaling can help clarify your emotions.
Listen to uplifting music.
Whatever does it for you: upbeat tempo, uplifting message, love the artist, oldie but goodie. If you can dance around while you listen or sing along, that’s a bonus. Really.
Have a good cry.
I’m not a scientist, but something must really happen in the body when you have a good cry. It can provide such a sense of release, especially if lots of energy has been spent to keep it in. Hormonal changes, like what happens during adolescence and menopause, can make crying more reflexive, like crying during a Hallmark or Subaru commercial or tearing up when some one asks you if you had a chance to check the mail. Just let it out. You’ll feel better.
Pray or meditate.
The basic difference is that prayer is connecting to God or the higher power in whom you believe and meditation is connecting to your self or your spirit, which some would say is where God resides within you. Focus your breathing and deeply inhale and exhale to help calm your spirit and give you a greater sense of well-being.
Get your heart rate up and move your body. Go up a few flights of stairs, go for a run or a brisk walk, dance, do calisthenics…whatever. Our bodies were built to move and exercise helps keep us chemically balanced, like releasing endorphins, the “feel good” hormone. You may be able to think of lots of reasons why you can’t exercise, but do what you can. Even a short walk can help clear your head and change your disposition.
Nourish your body.
Nutritious food helps you feel better than not-nutritious food. Unfortunately, when you’re feeling down you may crave more sugar, salt, or fatty foods. Cravings are your body telling you what it needs and reaching for sugary, salty, or fatty food is a quick fix that may send you in a spike and crash cycle that can be hard to shake. Keep nutritious food handy and the not-so-nutritious food as unavailable and minimal as possible.
Connect with people.
Invite a friend or neighbor for coffee or a meal, visit a relative, meet up with a workout group, or volunteer. It seems that the more connected we get with technology, the less connected we seem to be with each other. Avoid isolating yourself.
Listen to motivational messages.
Just to hear some one say, “You can do it. Keep going,” is sometimes very reassuring. The trick is being open to receive the message, instead of arguing with some one you don’t know and may never meet and saying, “But what about this stupid thing I do or that stupid thing I do.” One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Why not think you can?
These are a few things that work for me. The most important thing is don’t beat yourself up. Take baby steps. Keep going. You can’t re-do the past. Move on and take care of yourself so that you’re able to do all the things that are important to you.
If you’ve tried these things, given it some time, and can’t shake the blues, it may be time to talk to a Health Care Professional for additional assistance. Living life to the fullest requires that we feel well and strong in body, mind, and spirit and sometimes we need a little extra help.
What’s your remedy for shaking the blues? Share in the comments below.