Here’s what moodiness and depression are like for me:
Hold up your left hand so it’s perpendicular to the ground.
Now take your right hand as a fist and slap it into the palm of your left hand. Keep it stuck there.
Your left hand is the wall of depression.
Your right hand is your brain, getting stuck to the wall.
So, I can stay stuck there, feeling bad and bringing that crappy mood to myself, my body, and everyone around me.
Or, I can get unstuck.
And here’s the weird thing – I’ve found if I can put my mind on something else for a minute or less, I forget all about the moodiness.
It literally goes away and I forget that I was even in a bad mood in the first place. Yes, I just forget.
If you believe this is possible, here are the three strategies I practice for getting unstuck from moodiness and depression.
- Gratitude. Gratitude is often a quick fix for when I’m not feeling to good about myself.
The moment I feel myself slumping into a depressed state of mind, I try to think of one thing I am grateful for. It could be my dog, a friend, or my skill at playing guitar. Sometimes I might be grateful for something silly like the Seinfeld TV series.
It doesn’t matter what I choose, as long as I keep focused on it for about 15-60 seconds. Whatever I’ve chosen to feel grateful about, I stay with it and try to feel it on a deep level.
I’ve found that if I can stay with the thing I’m grateful for for as little as a minute or less, my mind moves to a happier place.
I get unstuck from the wall of depression. I forget all about what I was depressed about in the first place.
2. Be Objective. Gratefulness doesn’t always work and when it doesn’t, I try to be objective to my emotions.
By this, I mean I detach myself from the depressing feeling as if it just a thing that is happening, like a car passing on the street. I see it going by.
I try not to react to the mood, I just notice it. I say to myself, “Oh, I feel like I’m in a bad mood right now. Hmmm.”
Another thing I do is de-personalize the emotion. I say to myself, “The mind is in a bad mood right now.”
With practice, I’ve found that being objective works pretty well for not turning the mood into a big dramatic thing. It’s just an emotion I’m feeling.
I’m aware of it, but I don’t have to react to it.
Experience tells me if I ruminate over a bad mood, it can be like going down a rabbit hole. The more energy I put into whatever’s got me down, the longer the depression lasts.
So, I just notice it, like I’m watching that car go by.
I’m just watching the emotion rise up, like an objective bystander. I accept it and try not to allow the moodiness to effect my actions.
3. Practice Compassion. This is my latest strategy and the idea comes from a good friend.
She told me:
“When I feel like I’m in a bad mood, I think ‘that’s a really selfish thing.’
“I think to myself, ‘I have everything I need. How can I be of service to others?’
“And when I can do that, I feel better.”
I like this and am trying to integrate it into my “Get Out Of Your Bad Mood Repetoire.”
When I go to this place of “I have everything I need,” I really do.
I have the essentials – food, shelter, health, and financial security.
But on top of the that, I have great friends, hobbies I enjoy, and I get to work from home, which means most days an alarm clock doesn’t wake me up. I got a pretty good gig.
When I start feeling that mindset of how lucky I am, it’s pretty easy for me to want to give to others. How can I be of service?
It might be holding the door for someone or a playful conversation. Maybe it’s helping someone with their business or maybe just a smile.
Whatever it is, it comes with no strings attached; no agenda. And that feels pretty good.
What was I depressed about again?!
Moodiness or feelings of depression have taken away from my enjoyment of life.
In the past, I didn’t know how to get shake these bad feelings. I recall thinking as a younger man, “Well, this feels shitty.”
When I got a little older and smarter, I thought, “Well, this feels shitty, but it’ll pass.”
And now that I’ve achieved great wisdom at age 51, I know that, “This feels shitty, but it’s not going to effect me or how I relate to the world.”