March 20, 2014

What’s up Buttercup? 6 Ways to Brighter Days.

Photo: Mohammed Sinardi on Pixoto.

During the last several months, everything seems to have been going south in my life.

Well, not exactly everything. But, I have had relatives on their deathbeds, my injured cat bit me (which led to antibiotics, and then to unpleasant side-effects), I have an unhappy child who lost his computer privileges for two weeks and who wants to argue about his punishment 24-7, and the list goes on.

I hate to complain (although I suppose I just did). I realize that this is life, and I am not immune to it, nor do I truly want to be. I feel lucky to be living each moment while breathing in and out on this amazing planet—problems or not.

Still—we all have bad days, and remembering that we are not alone can help.

“When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always get worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.” ~ Malcolm S Forbes

So what is one to do when they are feeling down and sorry for themselves?

1.  It’s okay to acknowledge that in life, certain things, people and situations will stink.

Downplaying or dismissing these issues can ultimately cause us to deny and dishonor our realities. This is obviously not a nurturing way to treat ourselves.

I have struggled with this myself quite a bit. Comparing my misfortunes to others and so forth is not something I would advise. I have found that this does nothing to make me feel better and it actually just adds guilt to my plethora of already negative feelings.

It is perfectly okay to have a bad day, and as my wise grandmother used to say, “Some days are just the pits!”

So, for one day, take a nice bath, get into your softest jammies, pull the covers up and relax.

And no self judging allowed.

2.  Take stock of what is going in the right direction in your life (make a gratitude list).

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

Some days this is hard to do, but I can always find at least one thing that I am grateful for. Even if that one thing is toilet paper. Yes, some days that is the only thing I have to put on my list, but, if you think about it, toilet paper is actually a pretty big deal.

Of course, once I start thinking about how absurd toilet paper is compared to the other gifts I have in my life, the list will usually start to expand before my very eyes.

I’m thinking of my health, the health of my children and family, having enough to eat, a roof over my head, the ability to enjoy a relationship with the higher being of my choosing. Heck—the ability to have a relationship at all!

These are basics that many of us have to be grateful for. But we often take for granted these true blessings that countless people in our world do not have.

This is not to make one feel ashamed for feeling blue. This is purely an exercise that might possibly help and that has worked for me on numerous occasions.

3.  Get moving.

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” ~ Lee Iacocca

Going to a yoga class, kayaking, dancing or even on a simple a walk, is a privilege. Choosing the exercise (or project) that makes your heart sing is a great way to lift your mood. It is even better if done in the sun and fresh air to absorb some vitamin D and obtain a feeling of rejuvenation from the breeze upon your skin.

My sister once posted a meme about this:

running shoes quoteb

Most all of us have a pair of sneakers. (or a yoga mat, or a bicycle, or a soccer ball, etc.).

Exercise causes your body to release endorphins that can reduce stress and boost your mood—chemicals that give us a natural high.

If you can’t get out of the house, let alone get out of bed, and you have the energy and/or the urge, sex will have the same effect in releasing those precious and much needed endorphins. There are no two ways about it—sex can help cure a bad mood.

4.  Do something (anything) for another person.

It could be the simplest gesture such as a card or a phone call.

Maybe make a home-cooked meal for someone who has been ill, has had a baby or out of appreciation.

Volunteering, doing a favor or giving a gift to another person, can bring joy to that person and can have a positive affect on you as well. Try it out and see!

And remember this:

“Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it.” ~ Unknown

5.  Seek out some company.

“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” ~ Ulysses S. Grant

Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to connect with that sympathetic someone who truly gets you on a deep level. On the other hand, coffee or lunch with a friend can provide a much needed pick-me-up. Hugs are even better.

I almost always feel lifted in spirit after talking to someone close to me. I especially appreciate my friends who have great senses of humor when I can’t seem to find my own.

Fur-babies can also be the ultimate in keeping us company. Our pets will listen all day and never tell us to be quiet or that we are wrong for feeling the way that we do. They are always ready for whatever we need to talk to them about. And don’t forget to snuggle during the chat.

6.  Start your day over.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit

Who ever said that a day had to start perfectly upon awakening? Mine don’t always and I’m sure I’m not alone.

If we are willing, we can choose to restart our day no matter what time it is. Rules were meant to be broken. Be a rebel with a cause!

I suggest taking some deep breaths before attempting this method. Nah—scratch that. Actually take some deep breaths no matter what and the breathing alone may help.

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” ~ Lou Holtz

P.S. If all else fails, get lost in this.


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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Mohammed Sinardi on Pixoto.


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