What afflicts so many of us now is a vague disease, a generalized anxiety that we can’t quite connect to a cause, or a spiritual ennui that leaves us feeling empty and POINTLESS. There is some comfort in knowing that we aren’t the only ones tormented by that relentless itch. It’s as if worry is an epidemic!
There are causes, sure. There are thousands of reasons to be upset, concerned, fearful, or generally displeased about the state of the world.
First Things First
It’s important to recognize that sadness is real and reasonable. Bad things do happen. There are times when we have good reason to feel sad. There can also be medical reasons behind deep sadness and depression. Before reading any further, ask yourself: Is there a reasonable foundation for the way I feel? Can you point to a specific event or series of events that are directly responsible for your temporary discontent? If not, or perhaps even if that is the case, consider the possibility of a physical cause for the way you feel. Discuss this with your regular doctor or therapist, and be sure to follow through on any suggestions they give you.
And Now the Good Stuff
So you’ve ruled out both of those causes, and you still feel as if you’re trudging in a rut every day. Life holds no joy or meaning. What’s the point of getting out of bed? This is not what you were promised, and the whole world is just a big old bland blah. We’ve all been there, my friend. The thing about that rut is that you can climb out of it. I know that sounds simplistic, but truth often is simple.
Here are a few of the ways that thousands of people have used to get out of the drudge-ditch and back on the smoothly-paved highway to happiness and well-being.
- Clean, declutter, organize. Sometimes we misplace our happy self because it’s hidden behind a pile of dirty laundry. By taking charge of our surroundings, we remind the subconscious mind that we are ready to take charge of our lives.
- Make a change. Change is always scary, so feel free to start small– a new pair of shoes, a shorter hairstyle, or just sit in a different chair while you watch mindless television. Any change can give you a new perspective.
- Learn a new skill, something you’ve never tried before. Take a course at the local college, arts guild, or library. Or take up a new hobby, like skydiving, knitting, or motorcycling. When we focus our minds on something specific, habitual sadness is shoved aside.
- Join a cause. Volunteer with an organization that makes the world a better place. Find your passion and you’ll find your happiness.
- Forgive. It’s been said that depression is anger turned inward. Whether you forgive yourself or someone else, you’ll find the burden you’re carrying gets lighter immediately. Grudges and harsh feelings suck the life out of us, and keep negative energy and thoughts bound up in our minds.
- Let go of how it should be. It isn’t that way and probably never will be. You don’t have to be pleased about a given situation, but you can choose to separate it from your overall happiness.
- Get spiritual. You needn’t be religious to be spiritual. Think about things that are sacred to you – nature, people, a higher power, or an abstract concept like truth or beauty. Develop a ritual to honor that and practice it every day.
- Find your positive posse. Attitude is contagious, so for goodness’ (and happiness’) sake, stop hanging out with the Eeyores and cozy up to the Pollyannas, instead.
- Find a solution. What keeps you from having the happy life you want? What stands in your way? Can you eliminate it? Go around it? Change it or ignore it?
- Socialize! Even introverts – perhaps especially introverts—need the shared energy that only other people can provide.
- Play like a child. Climb a tree, play hopscotch, or swing as high as you can.