Monday, May 21, 2012

What to do when you're feeling a little blue

It's the night before the week begins - this week starts late in Canada. All of the bbqs and family gatherings are over for the moment. There's tons to look forward to as summer begins, and tons of work to do, and exactly 24 hours in each day.  There's a tiny sense of melancholy as the fireworks go off in the night.

What to do when you're feeling a little blue?

It's always a good idea to start by noticing what you're actually feeling. Give it a name, or map it in your body by noticing it's presence in your physiology and senses. If you're just a little blue, allow yourself to be just a little blue.

Now ask yourself: what is this good for?  If a good friend sent you a message you didn't quite understand, you'd work at it a little. The part of you that's feeling blue is a good friend and there's a message there if you pay attention to yourself. There's something you want that seems just out of reach. Noticing it will help you decide what to do next.

Then you have two choices: you can feel a little blue (it's not entirely unpleasant) and ask yourself what tasks you do best when feeling a little down. Or you can shake it off and focus on something that makes you feel more energized or more engaged. Get actively, happily distracted. Notice that in either case, after you notice what you feel, you do something. Action makes a difference.

If the blues don't lighten as you become active, then maybe you need to take another look at what you're feeling. Maybe it's grief or fear or something else masquerading as the blues. If so, give it a new name and start over again.

Either way, naming it, hearing its message, becoming active, and checking back with yourself is a great pattern for moving through a state as if you really did have your own best interests at heart.

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