If there was one thing we'll all do this week (besides open presents, eat lots of food and spend time with family), it will be to…
There’s no getting around the fact that we feel “down” at times. Maybe for good reasons, perhaps for silly reasons, possibly for hormonal reasons, and sometimes, for no reason at all. It just seems to be a part of life.
I bet you would love to know the secret to snapping out of the blues — No one likes being a downer! Unfortunately, I do not know the secret. But, I have experienced “the everyday blues,” and I’ve found a number of things to be helpful….
#1 Be thankful for ANYTHING you can be thankful for.
Depending on why you are down, it may feel like there’s little to be thankful for. But surely there are things around you right now that you appreciate. Whether it be people, stuff, beauty, health, or plans that are coming up – there is something!
No doubt there are also “spiritual realities” to be thankful for: salvation, a God that loves you, a God that hears your prayers, a church, godly friends…As Christians, our list should go on and on.
Try to fill your thoughts with thanksgiving. Don’t linger in the bummer realities you are noticing. Stop those thoughts, and focus on the blessings around you. [If you don’t feel alert to God’s kindness in the little things, consider reading this Thanksgiving post]
#2 Talk to God.
GOD is the giver of every good gift (James 1:17) and he should be the recipient of our gratitude. As you focus on the gifts around you, turn it into an ongoing conversation with God.
When you are down, this is also the time to pour out your heart to God. Often we just want someone to be there and listen to us process life — well, God is there. He is listening. Talk to him about your feelings, your disappointments, your confusion, your trials.
But the best part is, prayer changes things. God can work in these situations we bring before him. And most importantly, he can work in us. Maybe God needs to soften our hearts or give us a bigger perspective. He can give us the patience we need. He can provide the joy we lack. God knows whether it’s better to change our circumstances, or change us — and through our prayers, God will do what’s best.
#3 Gain perspective.
If you are reading this because you are dealing with “daily life blues,” it’s good to remember that life could be a whole lot worse. If you allow your imagination to run freely for merely 20 seconds, you can conceive of a variety of disasters you could be impacted by.
But what adjusts my attitude the most is considering what Christian women have faced in centuries prior. When I think I am sacrificing, I can think of a handful of famous women that put me to shame. When I think I am suffering, I remember that historically speaking, I am a “lightweight.” When I think my daily life is just too much, I remind myself that this is nothing! [If you would like to read a book that helps you gain perspective, read a missionary biography. You can click here for one series that is super helpful.]
The goal is not to belittle our struggles, but to remember that God can help us handle this, and realistically, he could help us handle much worse.
#4 Do something positive.
You may not feel like doing anything, much less anything “positive.” But do it anyway. Just say to yourself, “this is something good, I will do it.” It may mean sitting down with a child to read a book. It could be finishing the chore you’ve been procrastinating. Maybe you should send a few encouraging texts or emails.
Ultimately, the more you can do to get the attention off yourself the better.
When we are stuck in a rut thinking negatively about our day, it takes some work to get out. The best kind of work is not necessarily self-analyzation, but rather evaluating what you can do for others [for a helpful perspective, study or memorize Philippians 2:3-8].
You don’t need to think big, just do something that doesn’t revolve around yourself. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can forget you were ever “down” if you jump in and get busy doing selfless tasks.
#5 Don’t take yourself too serious.
If you are feeling a little bummed, don’t let that spiral you down until you think that life is horrible. Try and think outside of these current moments. Remind yourself that you knew how to laugh yesterday, and you enjoyed some moments the day before, and a few days ago you had some fun… In all likelihood, those moments will come back.
This is especially important advice if you can connect your “blues” to something monthly (if you know what I mean), or to pregnancy, or to sleep deprivation, or some other physical cause that sparks negative emotions. If that’s the case, remind yourself: “these downer lenses I’m perceiving life with, are not in line with reality.”
Just keep plugging away, do what you should, be thankful, talk to God, and things will be looking up soon.
Perfecting The Art
No ONE thing is necessarily “the trick” to snapping out of the “everyday blues,” but every single one of these things will help in some way. Pick one, try it out. See if it doesn’t give you just the boost you need to try another. …and if that works, maybe another. Soon enough, the blues might just be a thing of the past.
The goal is to make these bummer moments be indeed momentary. May our everyday blues be more and more short-lived as we improve the art of fighting for gratitude, godliness, perspective, selflessness and joy. It’s much better on the other side of the blues — don’t linger in them for long!