I don’t care who you are, there are times when a person just feels blue. Down in the dumps. Depressed about life. Completely melancholy. Some people may only encounter those feelings once in a great while, some people may fight them a lot. Life events are often the cause… problems, complications, loss, the down time after something grand and wonderful has happened, you name it. Silently and suddenly feelings can take a turn. Feeling down in and of itself isn’t a problem. It’s when we let the ugly cloud grow, and we choose to become a servant to our feelings that it becomes a problem. One way or the other, we will either have to learn to cope with the problem and conquer the dole drums, or it will conquer us. Telling yourself or someone else “just to get over it” probably isn’t going to help much, but doing something tangible and practical just might. Here are a few ideas along those lines…
1.) Get up and do something. When feeling sad or down, there isn’t a whole lot of motivation to make yourself be productive. Resist the urge to sit and mope. Give yourself one task and an hour to get it done. Set small goals and work towards them until you are feeling more like yourself.
2.) Find something to do for someone else. Constantly brooding over our own problems will do one thing, it will make a very self centered person who’s problems will be even bigger. Chances are, one doesn’t need to look very hard or very far to find someone else with heavier struggles to carry who could use a helping hand or encouraging word. By helping someone else, you will do yourself the bigger favor.
3.) Change the scenery. Sometimes all the black clouds need is jolt of change. Go for a walk outside. Take the kids to the park. Re-arrange the furniture. Go get a hair cut. Meet a girlfriend for coffee. Doing something that feels “fresh”, often has the effect of freshening the spirit too.
4.) Be healthy. I’m not talking about swearing off sugar for the rest of your life and living off of celery sticks here. I just mean eat good stuff, be active, and your mind will feel better than if you didn’t do those things. Bad habits cause health problems which don’t do anything to make anyone better equipped at coping with life.
5.) Try comparing yourself to others. I know, I know, comparing is bad bad bad. But once it in a while, it may be a good thing. Have you ever noticed that other people have problems too? Sometimes the people with heaviest loads to carry are the ones you hear talk about them the least. Observe people once in a while and be grateful you only have the problems you do have. Things could always be worse you know.
6.) Change what you can change. So yes, there are sometimes some irreversible evils we are just going to be stuck with in life. Everybody has them. That doesn’t mean one must completely resign one’s self to be stuck with everything that’s unpleasant. Find ways to improve the things you can.
7.) Get dressed and show up. People all around you depend on you whether you feel like being depended on or not. Whether it’s work, or the kids, or the volunteer group, or whatever, don’t be the rainy cloud that dumps gloom on everyone else. Look your best, and act your best for the sake of other people. Someone needs you to be the coworker, or the mom, or the friend, or the wife, or the neighbor. Resist the lie that says life is all about me, and how I’m feeling right now. It most emphatically is not.
8.) Try prayer. Have you ever read the book of Psalms? David was the guy who wrote it. One minute he’s dancing around in a state of complete joy, and the next he’s in bottomless pits of despair wishing himself dead. Funny thing about him though, he’s called the man after God’s own heart. Even though he was one impulsive and emotional dude, he still had one thing straight. God was the answer, and he knew it. Whether he was happy or whether he was sad, he always comes back to to God to tell Him about it. He made a practice of pouring his heart out, be it complaint or be it praise, to his God. You and I can do everything right and have every right attitude concerning any problem that ever comes up…but if we forget God in the picture, we will still find ourselves with a sense of emptiness in our hearts. The greatest comfort and encouragement is found in God and in His word, the Bible. The next time you are feeling blue, do yourself a favor and have a chat with the One who knows your feelings better than you do. You might find the cure easier than you thought!
Psalms 142:1-2 I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.
1 Samuel 30:6 …but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
P.S. This is our day on the blog to refocus. You can find more Refocus Challenge posts HERE.