Reality Check: Blue Day Defenses

Ever had a blue day? No? You can skip this column, then. However, if “blue day” is sadly recognizable for you, read on.

Our actions affect our feelings, so if you are feeling down and you don’t like that feeling, then a choice theory suggestion is to take action.

It can require some creative thinking to come up with positive actions that will help you feel happier. And when you are feeling blue, the reality is that creativity can be hard to muster.

So, if you know that you have blue days, try planning ahead by making the following lists. They will be easier to create when you are happy rather than blue. But any time is better than never.

The first list to make is of people you can count on. Why? When you feel down, you might also feel isolated. In your worst hours, you may feel more isolated than you truly are. Who could you go to in times of real trouble? Who can you fully trust? These folks may not be your closest friends or even people you socialize with. But just having a list of the practical, dependable people in your life can really help when you are feeling alone.

Another list to make is of phrases or quotes that are meaningful for you. You may find Bible verses or other spiritual sources helpful, or you may prefer to write your own inspirations. Or choose writings from people you respect and admire.

Music can be a great mood-changer. What music brings a smile? “Happy” by Pharrell Williams does for a lot of folks, and there are lots of internet videos to go along with it. Make a list, or even better, create a CD or playlist of whatever music lifts you up. Have that music easily available for your day of need.

Finally, start building your atta-boy/atta-girl list. What’s that? Whenever you get a positive recognition, compliment, appreciation, write it down. Keep your compliments together; a nice notebook from the dollar store will work. If your neighbour tells you he really appreciated your help and no one else could have done as good a job as you, write that down.

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to lose perspective. Instead of beating yourself up with, “I always do this, I always screw up, stupid me, why am I like this,” etc. take a look at your “atta” list. It can be worth a lot to have a reminder that there are times when you’ve been competent, recognized, and appreciated.

What actions are less effective for those “down in the dumps” days?

Spending your afternoon watching TV or lingering on social media may not be your most effective choices. Dwelling on how your life compares with the seemingly delightful lives of friends, acquaintances, or celebrities seldom contributes positively to one’s state of mind!

Tread cautiously if you decide that now’s the time to sort and discard. Flinging old photos in the trash or dropping off sentimental knick-knacks to a charity could be helpful. Or not. It’s more prudent to put questionable stuff into a temporary holding area (you could call it purgatory). When you feel happier, take another look. If you still want to unload it, then that’s the time.

So when you are feeling blue, look at your lists—people you trust, words that inspire, music that cheers, and records of appreciation. Those reminders may help you take control of your blue mood effectively.

Of course, going to the animal shelter for another cat could work, too. And it would be completely understandable. You just might want to hold off for a bit.

What strategies do you recommend for blue days?

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