Suffering is part of the human experience. Whether with yourself, others, or circumstances, there will be times in your life when you will have to fight through hardship. When dealing with the blues, it is important to remain centred and know that you will get through no matter how troubling of a time you may be experiencing. Here are 10 helpful ways to transform the blues into sunshine and move forward with your life.
1. Stay Grounded
It is important to stay grounded and centred in moments of distress. When the whole world seems to be against you and all is lost, remember your true self. Spend time in meditation and stillness. Give time to yourself in ways that give you peace. In doing so, you will think and act from a place within yourself that is not wrapped up in the sadness of the moment. Get plenty of rest and relax.
2. Don’t Give in to the Emotion
Emotions can be powerful vehicles for your life, creating the background of everything you experience. When you are experiencing the blues, everything may seem negative around you. It’s crucial in these moments to recognise that your feelings are helping to create the despair. If you do not feel empowered to change your emotions, then at the very least, don’t let them control you. Accept that you are going through a dark time and try to continue on in spite of it. Even when this is not easy, the effort is worth it to move forward. Do not stress yourself with too much activity, but also do not let your blues stop you in your tracks. Find the balance and push onward.
3. Spend Time with Positive People
Surrounding yourself with positive people is always a good thing to do, but when you’re going through a rough time, positive people can sometimes be annoying. You may find yourself agitated by their happiness and zest for life, while yours is in such a mess. However, you can use their example and energy as inspiration. The best thing is to not bring your blues to the situation. You do not want to go hang out with your positive friend just to have a crying session about your problems. Unless you’re invited to talk about it, don’t.
Leave your problems at home, and just soak up some good vibes. Listen and just be. It may help to find an activity to do or an event to attend with these friends that takes your mind off of what you’re going through. Also, it can help to read or watch other people’s stories of struggle and perseverance. There are YouTube videos and many other outlets that can provide inspiration and positive belief for you in your time of need.
4. Be Active
Sadness creates a tendency toward apathy and lethargy. In order to turn this around, be active. Within reason, it is okay to force yourself to be active, if necessary. Do something that makes you sweat a little bit—something that can help pull you out of your depressed mood. You don’t necessarily need to do anything competitive or challenging, unless you’re the kind of person who feels better when engaged in competition. Try:
- Taking a walk
- Attending a yoga class
- Going to the gym
- Playing a fun sport
Use the physical activity as therapy. Exercise releases natural endorphins which can help you feel better in the moment, and that is worthwhile. Do not try to use physical activity as an escape, but use those moments to clear your mind. Tune in to the positive feelings that you experience from being active. Try to carry those positive feelings throughout the rest of your day.
5. Appreciate the Simple Joys
It’s always important to appreciate the simple joys of life, like tiny moments of positive interactions with others, a random beam of sunshine through the window, and acts of kindness. These are the small pieces that, when given attention, can brighten even the roughest day. It may seem cliche, but actually give it a try. Appreciate that smile from a stranger on the street, or that pretty flower on your path, as a sign from the universe that everything isn’t all bad.
6. Connect with Nature
Nature has a profound effect on you as a human being. A little time in nature can go a long way if it is fully appreciated. Think of all the great spiritual leaders of the past, and the role that nature played in their journeys. Jesus was baptised by the river and would spend time in prayer in the wilderness; Buddha became enlightened under a tree; and Muhammad received his inspiration in a cave. This is not purely by accident.
During these moments in nature, you are able to tap into your inner being and receive inspiration. When you are depressed or distraught, give it to nature. Go to the park or on a hike, do some of your favourite outdoor activities, or simply sit and observe. The natural world has a way of lifting the veil through which you see your life and bring you back to a place of simplicity. From this perspective, you can gain clarity and acceptance of whatever you’re going through.
Laughter is a useful part of the human experience and a powerful healer. Like physical activity, laughing causes the body to release its own “feel good” chemicals and give you peace. When you’re down in the dumps, try practising laughter meditation, watching your favourite comedian or funny TV show, or spending time with your funny friend who always cracks you up.
Whatever you do, laugh as much as you can; it’s a great cure for the blues. If possible, try to see the humour even in your own situation or how you are feeling. Humour is one of life’s natural medicines, bringing lightness and clarity to even the most unfunny moments.
8. Affirm Yourself
Positive affirmations are useful at any time, but especially when you need a little extra inspiration. Take inspirational quotes or write your own positive thoughts down and post them where you can see them. Simple messages to yourself—like “You are beautiful,” “I love you,” and “Today is your day”—can be an important boost as you face your life.
When experiencing the blues, you don’t necessarily need determined, goal-oriented affirmations, but more so the gentle and loving ones. Post quotes that elicit thoughts of love and commitment to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a loved one who was having a hard time. Leave yourself notes that remind you of how great you are or inspire you toward realising your potential.
9. Witness Your Thoughts
When you are depressed, try to slow down and witness the activity of your mind. Be a silent witness to what you are thinking and feeling. Look at your thought activity objectively and do not engage. The value of this is that you will begin to see the script that is creating your play. If you have negative thoughts about yourself or others, listen to them without considering them as your own. Often this will give you some clarity as you may realise that there are elements of untruth playing into your experiences.
Your mind may tell you, “You’re terrible at ____” when you know otherwise. The mind is often your harshest critic and loves to bully you when you’re depressed. See this within your Self. By understanding the role that your recurring thoughts are playing in your depression, you can take the steps toward rewriting the script.
Don’t take an opposing stance against the mind, because this will only play into the drama. Just edit and correct the negative thoughts by replacing them with more desirable ones. Your mind is just doing its job; it is your emotions that you are allowing to drive your experience. Take charge by witnessing and realising your own truth.
10. Keep Perspective
As with anything in life, including life itself, all things come and go. For some circumstances, it can be comforting to know that they will soon pass if you allow them. A bad day can just be a bad day. A depressing event can be over just as quickly as it began. Even with more serious events, such as death or great loss, you can gain some peace in knowing that the darkness of it will pass and happiness can come back into your life. When a loved one passes away or you have a breakup, it may cause extreme feelings of grief. However, your life isn’t over; it’s just changing.
While it may be hard, understand that your ability to change with life makes the change lighter and more agreeable. All depressing things ultimately serve a purpose, whether you can accept them or not, and as such they don’t have to define who you are. This moment will pass. The next moments of your life can still be joyful if you allow them to be.
Use these tips as a way of working through your blues. If you keep your mind and heart open to the positive aspects of your life, you will come out of virtually anything with growth and inspiration to keep living.