Appreciation & Gratitude will beat the blues

I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to help get over a bout of general malaise.  There’s a ton of work out there about Depression treatment and there’s a whole slew of modalities that are recommended.  But, what about those moods that aren’t really a depressive episode?  We all have days where we just feel yucky and even if the yuckiness lasts a few days, there’s no other real reason to suspect a depressive episode.  What does the research say about those “down in the dump” moments?

Turns out, not much.  Clinicians tend to work with severe cases; that is, cases in which there is enough evidence of a disorder to warrant external assistance.  Someone who’s just got the proverbial blues may not believe that he or she needs that external assistance.  So, what are some ways to get over the malaise and get back on track?

Well, turns out, the more I think and read about ways that can help, I always return to the idea of appreciation and gratitude.  Life presents every single person with trials and challenges.  No one’s exempt from hard times.  To me, though, on average, people are quite fortunate, here in the U.S.   We may not all be one percenters, but for the most part, there’s good in our lives, even if it can be hard to see anything other that difficulty.

Usually, when I experience yuckiness, it’s because my life isn’t going EXACTLY as I want it to go, WHEN I want it to go a certain way.  I have to step back and remind myself that things aren’t always how we want them to be at the exact time we want them to be that way.  Once I accept that reality, I then look at the moment in which I find myself and I make it a point to find at least one good thing going on in that moment.  Since it can be hard to find good in my own life during a dark mood, I look at someone else who may be experiencing a smile or a laugh or something else that’s sharing positive energy.  Seeing others laughing and enjoying a moment is actually infectious for me.  Really, I feel better and the doldrums tend to dissipate.

Once the dark mood has lifted a bit, I then turn my attention to the blessings of my own life.  Really, I am lucky to be alive in this time of change.  All people in all of time lived in moments of change, it’s the one constant of human existence: Change.  We all live and make history and I feel an immense privilege to be a part of that historical record.  I appreciate all that is good and strong and beautiful and I also appreciate the hard times for forging courage in my heart and for teaching me that time and again: Darkness will pass.

So, to get over a bout of the blues, maybe try to count your blessings. Literally: Take out a sheet of paper and grab a pen and list your blessings.  We all have a lot to appreciate in this life.  we just need to remind ourselves of that, again and again.  How would you feel if you lost the things/people/relationships on that list?


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