Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!!

bluesHey everyone. I hope you are all well and that life is good :)

With apologies to the great Blues Man Buddy Guy, but, Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!! And I don’t know why!

I had a great weekend filled with some fun work at the Comedy Nest, some guitar teaching, an enjoyable gig with my classic rock band and I even got to see a screening of a little film I “starred” in a few months ago.

All in all a truly fun filled weekend…so why am I feeling blah!? You would think that with all the fun and intentional things I do, that my life would be an endless stream of happy!

Well, for the most part, it is. I truly love my life and all the things I get to do, but there are times when the blues come in to my life and for a brief moment, could be a few hours, a day, maybe even a few days, I feel down with no apparent reason, apart from the chemical goings-on in my brain.

This has been happening practically my whole life, even as a kid, and while it used to bother me big time, I now know that it is not a permanent feeling and will always go away in time.

When I was younger, I would try and “battle” those blah moments by buying things that I thought would make me happy. This tactic would work for a short period of time, but then the blues would find their way back and I would feel the need to buy something else all over again!

It wasn’t until much later in my life, in my 30′s, that I began to realize that I no longer needed to buy something in order to be happy. I finally realized that I had the power within myself to change my mood if I wanted to…or not!

Now, before I go on writing about how I go about changeing my mood, I’ll tell you all why I sometimes DON’T want to change my mood.

When I began to embrace the simple lifestyle that I have lived for the past twenty-some years, I began to realize that while I was living the life I wanted, that didn’t change the fact that I was still prone to getting the blues. Mind you, the blues came less frequently being my own boss and living life on my terms, but still, they were there none-the-less.

Those blues though, were a good thing. They meant that I was experiencing life in all its wonder – warts and all – not just the selective fun parts. In short, I was experiencing my life most definitely in the moment! And while most of those moments were, and are, filled with happiness and contentment, there are also moments filled with disappointment, rejection, struggle, self-doubt, worry, and even a touch of loneliness every now and then.

Over the years I have gotten a handle on my blues when they hit and I have learned to ride them out. Would I prefer they never surfaced in the first place? YES! But they are there. They are a part of me and my life and to deny them would be silly. Just as it was silly of me to think, all those years ago, that buying a shiny bauble or two would make my blues go away. I wasn’t taking the time to look at the root causes of my sadness but rather hoped that by just tossing an expensive bandage over them, they would go away.

These days however, I approach my sad moments differently. When I feel blue, I may not know where it’s coming from, but I know how to stop it from taking over my life. And while these steps work for me, you may have different approaches.

One of the first things I do when I feel sadness coming on, is to get out of the house. I go for a long walk with my MP3 player and listen to my favorite music or podcast. I take in the air, the sunshine, and the sights and sounds of my neighborhood. If I am not in the mood for a walk, I’ll often take my little netbook and hang out at the coffee shop across from my apartment building. I find that the noise and variety of people act as a mental distraction and that alone usually helps to lift my spirits.

If after my visit outside, the blues are still lingering, I’ll listen to some Frank Zappa and dance around my apartment like an idiot :) While this may seem weird to some – or all – it really helps me get rid of the doldrums and as I have been doing this since my mid teens, it’s a keeper!

If I’m still feeling down after all this, I’ll throw in the towel and spend the rest of the day and/or evening watching a bunch of Buffy The Vampire Slayer episodes while drinking my favorite tea!

Now, I realize that these “methods” – with the exception of the walking – may seem a tad unorthodox, but they are what works for me. If however, you suffer from a constant general malaise or debilitating depression, then you may want to seek medical and/or professional help. In serious situations there’s only so much that spending a few hours or even a couple of days pampering yourself can do!

Try as we might, there’s no escaping the fact that at some point in our lives we will all experience the blues to varying degrees, no matter how happy or content we are. A crappy sleep, an overdrawn bank account, bill payment worries, working at a job we don’t like, being way too busy with unsatisfying results, whatever the issue, we can choose to let the gloominess engulf us, or we can choose to fight back. I choose to fight back, how about you?

So…what are your methods for beating the blues away?

I’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic, so please continue the conversation by commenting below.

Take care and all the best.

Lyle

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