Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Blues

Have you noticed how many people are feeling down right now? It is amazing how many. Blogs, friends, acquaintances, all talking about how they are just not feeling right this holiday season. I don't feel alone, that's for sure.

But who can blame us for feeling a little blue? Our economy basically quite working in September, our homes are not worth much and falling, our retirements have been gutted. Not to mention global warming, Maddow, stupid Bush, jobs, and the list goes on and on and on.

So what is a person to do? Well, if you want to know what works for me, it is to either do something for someone else .... cook, call a friend that needs me, etc., or practice "cognitive behavior therapy", i.e., stop the sad thought in mid sentence and replace it with a positive thought. Keep practicing it over and over. Your brain loves to get into sad little ruts. If you have enough sad sentences going through your brain - it actually doesn't want to do anything else! That's why it is so important to nip these thoughts and feelings in the bud. Acknowledge that it is a sad day and list all the reasons why. Let it soak in, if you will, then move on. It takes a massive effort sometimes to change your thoughts. But remember, the mind is similar to a computer - it only knows what you put in. It does not know the difference between something that is actually happening , and something that you are only thinking. It merely sends the message on to your brain, that sends it on to your body, to respond appropriately - to release hormones, adrenaline, etc.    -   It can be tricked, however.    -    If you use happy, peaceful, thoughts, and "creative visualization", imagining wonderful scenarios in minute detail, it thinks that is what is happening ... and releases the appropriate information to the autonomic nervous system. It does take practice, however. If you cannot think happy thoughts or scenarios, then start counting your blessings one by one. The mind can only think one thought, in any given moment;
  • I am so blessed to have a warm home. (look around you - feel how warm it is compared to outside)
  • I am so blessed to have this soft sweater. (feel the sweater with your hands - feel how it feels on your skin where it warms you)
  • I am so blessed to have food to eat today. (look at your food, smell it, be thankful for it)
  • I am so blessed to have a sweet child. (look at your children - they are so sad when they think you are sad - what would life be like without them?)
You get the picture.

So you do have control. You may not have control over what is going on in the world. But you DO have control over how you respond to it. Go ahead, try it. Be persistent though, your mind is a cagey little bugger. It always wants to go back to what is easy - it hates to work hard at being happy when it really wants to just WALLOW in it. 

So go ahead and give yourself some time to wallow - and then take control. You are the only one that can make yourself feel better. The only one.


California Girl said...

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Rose said...

For me too, the attitude of gratitude is a better approach to any down in the dumps situation than poor me. I have a notebook I write about things I am thankful for.
There seems to be a long list of things that have upset our idea of what the 'here and now' should look like. It is not exactly how we planned it, is it? Rachel Maddow is not on my list. She will be an influential part of our future and already has quite a following. She is smart. Nuff said, but I do wonder what people don't like about her.
And, yes, black labs are special. Mine has been hovering nearby for days.