How to survive the blues by not engaging.

We all have those days that are bleak and blue. They hit you inadvertently, for no reason or sometimes with reason, yet you can prepare for those days. Once you know yourself well, and what you tend to do that will only spiral you deeper down into the dark abyss, with practice you can make those bleak days run their course much more smoothly and faster.

My new motto, nowadays, is “don’t engage.” I don’t mean simply to ignore the fact that you are down in the dumps, just don’t engage in thoughts that propel you deeper down. Sometimes you just need to sit and wait it out without engaging by fueling your sadness with even more negative thoughts.

If you are sad, instinctively you may search for even more reasons to be sad, ending up seeing your life as all bad. What could be a sad moment, may bring you to believe that all your life is just a sad mess. It’s not. You can control how far your thoughts go.

I tended to do just that. Turning the blues into a full-fledged “my life sucks completely” feeling in a matter of minutes. I would look for all that was wrong in the present past and what imaginary catastrophes might befall me. Now, I am so aware of this tendency that I have come to find ways to avoid engaging too much in my blue days.

Things to try:

  1. Stop looking beyond what is. Look at what is bothering you and by all means, feel sad about that, but don’t make a mental list of things to add to your already dark tunnel.
  2. Don’t engage. Feel it and distract yourself. Look for something mindless to do. I myself clean and organize. Yep. I find it really hard to feel deeply sad and clean at the same time.
  3. Clear your closet of unwanted stuff. Try things on and throw what you “hate.”
  4. Watch a movie far removed from whatever is bothering you.
  5. Try hard to read that book you have on your waiting list.
  6. Go to a coffee shop where you will feel less isolated and more part of the world. In other words, more human.
  7. Tell a good friend how you feel. Talking things out sheds a different more positive light on things. Just don’t choose a “negative” friend.
  8. Don’t stay in bed. Get showered or bathed. If you look like a mess, you are more likely to hate yourself and keep indulging in how awful you feel.
  9. Run! Exercise! Get out there with all your sadness. It’s hard to feel sad for too long.
  10. If you can, go for a hike, the beach, a park. Nature has a way to put your life into perspective and its beauty never fails to bring us wonder and to forget ourselves.
  11. Write down all your sad thoughts. By the end, you will probably feel much better. Reread what you have written by all means. You will see your problems a little differently.
  12. Buy yourself something nice. Shopping therapy is not always the answer, but sometimes it does the trick. Just don’t do it every time the blues hit.
  13. Don’t listen to sad music. NO, NO, NO!
  14. Do something for someone else. A small act of kindness.
  15. Do whatever you think will help you get over the blue “spell.”

This is what helps me. If any of my tools help you, I will be glad to have been of service. Sharing, as they say, is caring.

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