Moody Blues

scan020It was a lovely church service. The music was grand. I love the people and many are   my friends. The talk was about Love. Rev. Matti was brilliant, as usual. After that, I talked with someone who requested treatment and then attended Rev. Matti’s workshop on Love Skills. Oh what a beautiful morning!

I was really happy when I left the church. Later, I went to the grocery store and I felt a little sorry for myself as I passed up all the cookies and pies. I’ve still got some weight to lose and I know how to do it after dropping over a hundred pounds, but I wasn’t cheerful about it. Also, I’d forgotten that one should never go grocery shopping hungry.

My week goes better when I go to church but Sunday afternoons often feel empty to me. It’s been that way since school days. I don’t want to work and if I don’t have anything planned, I get bored. Usually, I read and watch a movie and that takes care of the “Sunday blues”.

My afternoon went pretty well considering my Slimfast lunch but at times, my mood slipped into thinking about chores I needed to do or feelings of “not enough”. It reminded me that we all need  reinforcement to keep our spirits up.

Have you ever started out feeling great and then found yourself in the dumps by the time evening comes around? Did you ever wonder what happened? More to the point, did you ever wonder how to keep up your joyful mood?

Most of us do have moods. One time we are up and another time we are down. It is a short trip from knowing that everything is going to be wonderful to worrying about the future or regretting the past. But if we remain vigilant we can avoid the “blues” on Sunday or any other day.

Sometimes moods are associated with special hours, days, months or seasons and we need to be mindful of those times. If Christmas is challenging, you can simplify and prepare in advance. Since Sundays can be a problem for me, I can plan ahead. Next week, I will do something special and organize an Oscar event. Sometimes the anniversary of the death of a loved one is tough. We need to make sure our stress level keeps low and get some extra support for that time of year.

Sometimes mood swings seem random.  There are many ways to lift our spirits. One way is to take a short break and make a conscious decision to change our thinking. Maybe a cup of tea and fifteen minutes with your  favorite inspirational magazine or book is the answer. Or maybe a body stretch or a nap will help us switch gears. Being mindful is key. Then there are many tricks we can use to modify our outlook once we are aware of what we are thinking and feeling.

Sometimes our emotional state and our moods are based on outside events.  Bad news will garner a reaction from even the strongest of minds.We should never fall into blaming ourselves but just take whatever steps seem intelligent and useful to move on with our lives as quickly as possible.

However, our moods are very often  just habits. I know, for instance, that Sunday is my darkest day because I am usually alone and I choose not to work hard. I believe everyone needs a day of rest.  There was a time in my life when I was really struggling just to cope with life and Sundays were the worst. I watched the clock and waited desperately for the 12 Step meeting at 6PM.

Those were very different times. I am not like that woman and when remnants of those dark times   show up on Sundays, I remind myself that my moody blues are just a habit and I can control my thinking and feelings. I can usually avoid the blues but the ghosts of the past can still drift through my mind. It takes a while to completely change but believe me, it is worth the effort.

When we come to Centers For Spiritual Living, we hear, “Change your thinking and change your life” over and over. That  simple instruction is the path to happiness and control of our lives. That is the way it works.

So when our moods drop, we must do something to lift up our thinking quickly, without fuss. Once we recognize that we are “borrowing trouble” by worrying about the future or regretting the past, we simply need to distract ourselves and turn our attention up to more positive things.

Short reading breaks, short body stretches, and a tea break are all good ways to distract ourselves and displace the pattern of negative thinking. It always helps me to sit down and write a short gratitude list. A phone call to a cheerful friend to talk about something light and bright works wonders. You can also stop what you are doing and watch a comedy on TV. A good laugh goes a long way in the dark.

Anything you can find to laugh about and anyone you can find to laugh with, is an excellent treatment for a simple habit of depressed thinking. I make it a point to watch comedies and read books with happy endings just to stay cheery. I certainly stay away from the news on TV if I am  feeling down in the dumps. I also try to only talk with my cheerful friends. Although I know that  helping others can be good for  people, you have to have something to give before you give.

Yesterday, I did a color meditation as I listened to classical music and then drifted off to sleep for about thirty minutes. When I woke up, I was back in the heavenly mood I’d established by attending church in the morning. Of course, it isn’t always that easy, but it gets easier and easier the longer you practice changing your thinking.

Habits are good. They help us maneuver through our days. However, some habits need to be changed. Once we ‘get it” that we are in control of our emotions rather than allowing our emotions to control us, life really is wonderful. I hope that everyone of my readers is aware of how easy it is to manage moods today.

Ask Yourself

How do I lift my moods?

What new techniques would I like to try?

What are my favorite inspirational books?  Meditations?

Do I make cheerful media choices?

Do I make gratitude lists?


6 Comments on “Moody Blues”

  1. Sally Carroll says:

    Dear Dr. Jane,
    Sundays can be long for me- and I practice self care usually read and do some writing. Thank you for your reinforcement… wishing you a delightful day! Love Sally

    • janeclaypool says:

      Thank you for your kind words and your appreciation. I do appreciate your opinion and am happy to have you as a consistent reader.I hope you will tell your friends about my blog because I want to build my readership.

  2. only122much says:

    Dear Dr. Jane, True clinical depression goes way beyond “being in the dumps.” If you want to know how it feels, you can read “Darkness Invisible” by Pulitzer Award winner William Styron. You can read it in one session. I don’t mean to be ever critical of you, of all people, but I really think you are  doing a disservice in terms of educating the public what real, rock bottom depression is – the kind where nothing helps, where you’re given ECT, etc. That is true hell. People should look up NAMI which covers every possible mental illness. There’s a world  of difference between mood swings and clinical depression. I guess I ought to know. I’ve attempted suicide three times and have had over 30 ECT’s. I love you, Caroline

    • janeclaypool says:

      Dear Caroline,
      Thank you for reminding me (and all of us) that there is a difference between clinical depression and mood swings. I know you have a lot of experience and knowledge on this subject and I value your input. Yes, NAMI is a wonderful resource.

  3. Lynn Guilfoyle says:

    What a blessing it is to know that “it is just a mood and it will pass”! I sometimes find myself feeling “testy” and have learned that it is time to spare my family that particular mood. So I politely excuse myself, go read or take a nap and return in much better humor!

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