10 Ways To Chase the Blues Away

Even the most optimistic and seemingly happy among us will experience the blues now and then. A funky mood can hit you by surprise, even first thing when you wake up in the morning. You may feel a weight on your chest or envision a black cloud over your head, and you may lack energy and enthusiasm as you begin your day. Many times, it’s not even apparent what caused the feeling. How to chase the blahs away and get on with life? Here are 10 great ideas:

RECOGNIZE
Recognize the blahs as inevitable from time to time. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings by reminding yourself that you’ve been here before and that it didn’t last forever. “Realize that we humans operate in cycles,” said Bruce Cameron, MS, LPC-S, a licensed counselor and executive coach in Texas. “Thus you can label this as a moment in time.”

DON’T ANALYZE
Don’t try to analyze your mood or think of it as wrong, said Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, psychologist and author of Growing Friendships. “We don’t need to constantly be taking our emotional pulse nor beating ourselves up by thinking a negative mood is evidence of weakness or inadequacy.”

RELATED: Positive Psychology – The Science of Happiness

PRACTICE PATIENCE
Don’t try to solve things with alcohol, binge shopping, or eating. Even though these things may feel good while you’re doing them, you’re bound to feel guilty afterwards rather than uplifted.

GET OUTDOORS
According to Dr. Kennedy-Moore, some research suggests that nature naturally lifts your mood. Combine it with a hike and you’ve got a powerful weapon against the blahs. Be Healthy Take measures to set a good foundation, recommended Cameron. Healthy food choices and getting enough rest is a good place to start.

CONNECT WITH FRIENDS
A positive friend can help to distract you, said Dr. Kennedy-Moore. Social connections can lift your mood, and positivity is contagious!

STOP COMPLAINING
Don’t succumb to rumination about your funk by complaining about it incessantly, especially to a friend who will criticize you or bring you down, advised Dr. Kennedy-Moore. While reaching out to another person to share your blah moment can be helpful, certain people can do more harm than good by “co-ruminating” with you and keeping your focus on the negative feelings.

SAY AHHHHHH
Get out and get pampered. Indulge yourself with a full-body massage or spa day. Or get a pedicure or manicure – or both! Listen To Music Even sad music can help to reduce anxiety and regulate your mood, according to recent research from Durham University in the United Kingdom and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, published in Plos One.

SEIZE THE DAY
Make a plan to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Not only will this help you to move forward by working toward a goal, but it will move your thoughts from negative to positive. By taking these steps, you’ll most likely find that your funk is short-lived. However, cautions Dr. Kennedy-Moore, you should be on the lookout for depression. “If your blah mood lasts for most of the day nearly every day for two weeks or more, consider getting help,” she said.

Related: Feeling Down? Here Are Five Pick-Me-Ups

By Linda Hepler, BSN, RN