Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Two Quick and Painless Ways to Deal with the Blues - by Cheri Britton

What do you do when stress in your life has you overwhelmed and over burdened or the darkening days of winter has you blue or depressed? What do you do to combat the incredible and often insane demands on you and your body and your spirit? You start by doing something for yourself.

You're probably thinking, "How can I take care of myself when I can't get my internet to work, my roof is leaking and my in-laws are coming for a visit?" I've found two simple places to start…laughter and movement. Both of these are pretty basic ideas but can be phenomenally healing.

Laughter The quickest way to turn the corner on depression for me is laughter. I begin by looking for little things that make me smile or are absurdly funny. For instance noticing how pets and their owners look alike or laughing at myself when I search for my glasses only to find them on top of my head.

Sometimes I turn to the professionals, people who make people laugh for a living. I like Ellen DeGeneris or Robin Williams, or my favorite, Jon Stewart of the "Daily Show". To me it's impossible to be totally in the dumps while I'm laughing with these people. They are a guaranteed guffaw.

My favorite way to laugh in my sad or chaotic moments is to pretend that I am the star of a TV sitcom…or better yet, my life is being taped for the National Public Radio show "This American Life." Ira Glass narrates with his mono-toned, lilt-on-the-end voice, "…Chapter 3… (pause) A middle age women gains ten pounds… (pause) maxes out her credit card (pause)…and deals with acne and wrinkles at the same time…"

It's liberating to make believe that my troubles are being witnessed by others. I pretend that the viewers are relating to me as I drive down the road in my dirty mini-van, with two children fighting in the back seat, and I'm being forced to listen to "School House Rock" for the hundredth time. Pretending that others are laughing with me as I struggle enables me to come up with pithy comebacks to the kids or lively banter with myself. And sure enough I begin to feel better. Seinfeld was based on this and the producers knew that viewers would return to watch their characters wait too long to be seated in a Chinese restaurant or get their clothes lost at the dry cleaners.

Laughter is a miraculous thing and begins ones healing immediately.

Movement And then there's moving. You can move almost anything and feel better. You can move your body or you can move your furniture or you can move your no-good-brother off of your couch! You can rearrange your purse and get a burst of energy! Just move and the energy will begin to shift!

Think of a stream where the water is pooled up along the bank and is no longer moving. Pretty soon it gets covered with funky blue stuff, becomes stagnant and draws mosquitoes. Yuck! And guess what…so do we. We get covered in a funky haze.

So, things need to move so that things will move. Most people who are depressed or overwhelmed just lie around...many sure as heck don't play music and dance. In reality that's exactly what is needed. So, when the last thing you want to do is dance…put on the Pointer Sisters or Aretha Franklin and do it anyway! You'll feel better instantly.

Here's the deal…getting over the blues (or even depression) is really simple but hard. And for many it can begin by simply moving something and finding the funny. I'm not making light of what can be a debilitating disease for many people. For some people, medication and/or therapy are just the ticket. But whether you have chronic depression or seasonal blues laughter and moving can help.

About the Author

Cheri Britton, Asheville, NC UScheri@boomthinking.comMore Details about changing limiting beliefs here. Cheri Britton, M.Ed. is a professional speaker, consultant, coach and trainer who speaks to and coaches business owners, executives, managers, employees, and entrepreneurs. Through her BOOM Thinking philosophy (Break Out of Old Mindsets), she helps people transform their negative, harmful thoughts to ones that are positive, uplifting, and inspirational.