Beating the Blues

Beating the Blues: Treatment for Depression, therapy in Center City, Philadelphia

10 Ways To Pick Yourself Up when You Are Feeling Down

So you find yourself in a lousy, down-and-out, drag around the house kind of mood and question if beating the blues is possible. It’s that heavy, sinking feeling where you get up, and you’ve barely gotten your day started before you just want to crawl back in bed. Even the smallest problem seems overwhelming, way too big to tackle but all demanding your immediate attention. You have to do something about it, but it seems to you that there’s nothing you can do. Beating the blues feels like an impossible task. You feel defeatist. You feel hopeless. You feel certain that your current situation is where you will be stuck forever, and that no matter what you do things will never get any better than they are now.

Well, the bad news is that there’s no way to stop from ever being dragged down by these feelings again, because everyone, no matter what their situation or position in life, feels like this sometimes. Maybe you’re in a rough place in your life — between jobs, just out of college and feeling a little lost, new to an area and you don’t know anyone. Maybe you’re worried about the future of your job or your financial situation, or maybe you’re in a relationship that just isn’t working out. Maybe you’re just having one of those days. Whatever the reason, the sad but true fact is it’s just part of life. And in the big scheme of things, sadness isn’t really all that sad. We need to have low places in our lives. These tough spots help us learn how to cope, how to recover from setbacks, and how to face a sometimes uncertain future. They help us keep things in perspective, and give us more appreciation for the good times we go through and the good things we have. After you go through a spell of gray, dreary emotions, it makes everything seem that much fresher, brighter, and more manageable when the funk lifts.

Fortunately, there is good news, too. If you’re feeling blue, there are steps that you can take to feel like your cheerful self once again — because even though sadness is natural and even a little necessary, most of us don’t want to deal with it any longer than we have to! Some of these steps are actions you can take. Some of them are changes in habit. Some of them are simply changes in thinking. But all of them are things that anyone can do. Remember that no matter what is going on around you, sadness is in your head, and it is within your power to control it. Only you are in charge of yourself. While it’s true that you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you react.


There are two keys to beating sadness: the outer world, and the inner self. The first one, the outer world, may seem impossible at first. After all, how can you control everything around you that makes you feel bad? Of course you can’t, none of us can. But what you can do is learn how to pick out the things that make you happy, and how to create a place for yourself where you can always have a positive environment. We can’t make sure that everything is exactly the way we want all the time, but we can create a sense of stable happiness that we can rely on. By making changes to our outer world, we can make sure that those sad spells are fewer and farther between.

The inner self, which seems like it should be easier, is actually a bit more tricky. While dealing with the outer world often just involves changing your habits, stopping that sadness from bubbling up inside in the first place involves changing your thought patterns. It may seem daunting at first, but don’t give up, because it is these inner processes that you can use to shake off a bad day once it starts. The tips below are small, simple changes that can be made a little bit at a time, not an all-at-once life overhaul. By makings these minor adjustments, you can feel happy faster when you’re stuck in a blue mood.

Please note that these tips are designed to shake off sadness, which most people experience once in a while. If you find that you are sad constantly for long periods of time, that you are sad more often than you are happy, that you often feel sad for no reason, or that you have difficulty taking pleasure evening in things you enjoy, please be aware that you may not be experiencing normal sadness — you may be suffering from clinical depression. Clinical depression is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a real medical condition, and not something you can just shake off. It is highly treatable, but only if you take the necessary steps to get help. If you feel you may have depression, please seek professional counseling immediately.


Get OutsideYour Mom was right when she told you to go outside and get some fresh air — being outdoors does wonders for any mood. A fairly natural setting, even if it’s just some flowers or trees outside your office, or a small park, can help you to feel relaxed and refreshed. Even just sitting outside and reading or eating your lunch can make a huge difference as long as you get some nice bright sunshine. It’s even better if you can go out and exercise, as exercise reduces stress and triggers pleasurable feelings in the brain. Just remember that a ten-minute jog in a park is emotionally better for you than and hour under florescent lighting on a treadmill. Eat a Happiness Diet It’s a fact: there are foods that make you feel tired and stressed, and there are foods that make you feel happy. One of the primary substances that puts people in a bad mood is caffeine. Yes, you may think that morning coffee is the only way you can face the day, but in fact it can make you feel stressed, irritable, and give you a tendency to overreact to small problems. Instead of caffeine, try peanut butter or bananas for a natural energy boost — they actually make a great sandwich together! Also, avoid empty sugars such as from soda or candy, which can make it hard to focus and then cause an emotional crash later on. If you crave something sweet, straight dark chocolate is a good choice — it is good for the heart (in moderation of course), and it triggers pleasure hormones that can give you a real pick me up. Adjust Your Sleep Schedule If you feel grumpy in the mornings even after a full night’s sleep, the solution may surprise you. Try getting up earlier. If you are getting enough hours of sleep, you may just not be getting them at the right time. Take a week or two and get up an hour to an hour and a half early, and go to bed that much later. Some people feel awful at eight A.M., but feel great if they get up at six. Getting up early means you won’t be rushed, and you will be able to relax and wake up slowly before you have to start fulfilling the demands of the day. In addition, many people claim that the early morning sunlight for the first two hours after sunrise can give you a good mood that will last all day. Make A Happy Place It sounds childish, but it makes a huge difference. Create a happy environment for yourself, where you feel safe, and fill it with things you enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s old comic books, stuffed animals, or photographs of natural landscapes. Choose a place in your house that is going to be solely your own, somewhere where you can have privacy and where you can stay comfortably for an hour or two. Put in a scented candle or two, a CD player with your favorite CDs, and a good book. Avoid having a TV or computer here — this is a place for you to have time to yourself, with yourself, and media can be a little invasive. Every day, make some time for yourself to spend in your happy place. It will give you a sense of security to have it there, the feeling of a place where you can escape the daily grind, and something to look forward to. Try Something New Sometimes you feel depressed because you are bored with your routine, so try something new. Take a class on cooking, or pottery. Learn to play an instrument. Take a different route to work, or go hiking or camping for a change or scenery. Join a gym, or join a book club. Sometimes just changing your pattern a little can breath a new excitement and sense of interest in your life.


Pick Out the Positives

Learn to find the good things in life, and focus on them instead of the negatives. When you feel bad, force yourself to take a breath, step aside, and find something in your life that makes you happy. Concentrate on it for a few minutes, on how it makes you feel, and remember that it’s never as bad as it seems.

Slip Past Stress

People talk about “fighting” stress, but that’s probably a poor choice of words — the key is let the stressors, factors in your life that make you stressed, just slip past you. When you start to feel stressed, don’t let yourself get all worked up, even if it’s to struggle to push that stress down. Instead, just let it slide past you. Don’t react; don’t fight. You can work this problem out, but getting upset won’t fix anything. Remember that your mind is a place just for you, and you can chose to keep it secure against the things that upset you. Choose not to let it get to you. Since sadness can come from stress and stress can come from sadness, this is a good technique to relieve some of the pressure of a bad day.

Consider Yourself First

Many people feel sad because they are trying to take on the problems of their friends, their family, and everyone around them on top of their own. This is a wonderful intention, but thinking this way will only make you so upset that you can’t help anyone. You have to be able to step back, stay just in your own world, and focus on yourself. Remember that you can be supportive, and be helpful — but just as only you can really combat your own disappointments and frustrations, in the end every has to be responsible for how they react to what life gives them. Take care of your own life, any sadness that you feel on your own part, first. Make sure that you are okay with yourself and your situation before you try to tackle anyone else’s problems.

Keep It In Perspective

When you are sad about something, think of the worst-case scenario. If you’re feeling bad the tendency is to exaggerate, but force yourself to be realistic. In all honesty, what is the worst that can happen? You’re alive today, and it’s pretty likely that you’ll be alive tomorrow to. And that means that anything that’s getting you down is something you’ll have a chance to work on. When you really look at where most sadness is coming from, it’s much more emotional than rational. In reality, most situations just aren’t that bad, and whatever you tell yourself, they are probably going to work out okay.

Indulge in Bad Days

Sometimes, when you feel miserable and you want nothing more than to spend the day in bed, that’s exactly what you should do. Every once in a while, be willing to give yourself a Bad Day Off. Wallow in self-pity. Have a good cry. Stay in bed as long as you like. After a few hours, you’ll work all that sadness out of your system, and you’ll want to get up and do something. Usually after a spell like this, you’ll feel much better once you rejoin the waking world and sometimes, it’s good to just let yourself feel the way you need to feel in the moment.

These ten tips can change your mood, change your day, or even change your life. If you have something else in your life that makes you smile when you feel down, than go for it! Everyone is different, and there are infinite sources of happiness in the world. Yes, everyone has bad days — but by changing what you do and how you think, you can get up and get back to your life that much faster.

If you’ve read hundreds of self-help-tips, and find that you need more (or maybe you simply can’t get enough energy to help yourself) do not hesitate to call. Counseling help at Therapy in Philadelphia / Center for Growth is available. You do not have to go through this alone. Our therapists, located in Center City Philadelphia can help you. All you have to do is call.