We all have days when there seems to be a dark cloud gathering over us. There isn’t any big trauma going on in our lives, but for whatever reason, we feel an unsettling gloominess beginning to cast its shadow.
Early in our work together, I advise my Santa Barbara clients to create a “tool box” filled with a list of activities that have lifted their spirits in the past. It doesn’t matter what activities are in this box. It just matters that they think about the types of things they’ve done before, that have made them feel better. Then they can write them down in a journal, or type them out in a document on their computer. They can even decorate them with bright colors, and happy pictures!
When we’re feeling down, we might not have the mental clarity to think of things to do that will brighten our day. It can be a big help if we’ve already come up with some possible options. It can be going for a walk in nature, writing in a journal, listening to a guided meditation, baking cookies, creating funny doodles, calling a friend, visiting a cozy coffee shop, reading a special book, volunteering time to help others, watching some funny animal videos, etc. These are just a few possibilities.
What would your list look like? What has made you smile, or feel joy in your heart — if even for a short time? The important thing is to not give the temporary down mood more power to settle in around us in a longer-lasting way.
Create a list of choices that will help blow that dark cloud away, and return a sense of sturdiness, well-being, and joy to your day. It’s your list, so have fun with it! If you’re skilled at standing on your head, and that makes you smile, put it on your list. If you remember blowing soap bubbles in the sunshine, and loving the rainbow of colors covering them, it belongs on your list. Start thinking, and start creating!
Bring back those smiles by choosing something positive to do, and then get busy living life with a brighter outlook!
Until next time,
* This post is not meant for those suffering from serious trauma, or dealing with a heavy depression. This is for those “off days” which we all have from time to time. *