MERRY CHRISTMAS !!
Strategies to Beat the Moody Blues this Festive Season
Part 1 of 2 – Four Steps to Mood Mastery
Yes it is the season for some to be merry! In some parts of the world at least. And yet, for many people the Christmas and New Year period is simply a stress filled time of frenetic activity and over stimulation. That often means swiftly alternating between fast and slow, between emotional highs and emotional lows. And while some party all the way through, others get the moody blues! When the blues come, and in truth they can come at any time, they can lay us into a low state if we let them, and yet, if we struggle with them, they only become worse. While we find it hard to see their source, there is always a cause somewhere within our consciousness. Here are some strategies to help you understand and free your self, if and when the moody blues come to visit this Christmas, or indeed anytime.
1 - Meditate Regularly
A prevailing mood is like a weather front. It can hit the land of your consciousness in gentle waves, descend like a grey mist or arrive as full blown storm. These waves are made of emotion, and emotion is the price we pay today for our attachments yesterday. For example – if you lost someone or something important to you in the past, you would have created sadness and repeated your creation of sadness to such an extent that you may have become comfortable with being sorrowful. Eventually this pattern records itself in your subconscious, waiting for a trigger event to invite it back into your awareness. Long after the memory of your loss has faded, this will become a prevailing mood that moves through you, and you don’t know why. The emotion at the centre of your mood will have a hold over you until you learn to become fully aware of it, detach and withdraw your energy from it. This is what makes meditation such an effective method of mood management.
The practice of meditation begins with the withdrawal of attention from the world around you, then the withdrawal or detachment from the thoughts you are thinking and the emotion you are feeling. Then simply observing the emotion that you are feeling. All emotion dies under observation. If it doesn’t, it means you are still attached to the emotion and giving it life, so the mood will prevail.
Ultimately meditation will help you to create a quiet and stable mind. It will gradually become easier to be in stillness inside, allowing you to watch and see the precise source/cause/reason for the mood. It will reveal itself to you if you are interested and patient. If you prefer not to be a regular meditator here are some other strategies to play with.
2 - Disidentify with your feelings
Don't identify with the emotions you are feeling. That means don't say to your self, "Here we go again, it’s my same old trip. I am a worrier, I am depressed". No you're not. Say instead, "There is worry in here, or there is depression in here, but I am not the worry, I am not the depression". Any emotion that you feel simply comes to pass, and like clouds across the sky, 'these too will pass'.
The more you engage the emotion, which also means the more you resist the emotion, the stronger it will become. We tend to identify with our moods. So we expect them to come. We expect to feel them. And if you expect them, they will come. If you have experienced depression for some time it means you have made depression a deep habit. Perhaps you have been prescribed some form of temporary medication. This may alleviate the mood but it won’t give you the power to change the thinking patterns that originally created and sustained the mood. These thought patterns come from a deeper place within your consciousness. Sometimes, if the habit of depression is deeply embedded, a balance of medication and meditation is best, until meditation restores the power of self-control and the ability to change your thinking patterns, then the medication can be lessened and gradually eliminated.
3 - Self Approval
Resist the temptation to consume something to alleviate the emotional discomfort. Most people seek some sensual stimulation like music or movies, even reading newspapers, to escape the subtle discomfort of their self created negative moods. Or they become needy of others for the drugs of approval and reassurance. If there is already a close relationship with someone i.e. a history of subtle dependency, we will seek relief in that relationship without realizing it is perhaps our attachment to that person that is triggering the waves of uncomfortable feelings in the first place. The solution here is to talk to oneself and give the self the support and acceptance that you may be seeking from others. If you sense you have a personal relationship with God or a Supreme being, take some time to silently talk through your thoughts and feelings with Him/Her. Make it personal!
4 - Remember who you are
The moody blues are also a sign that you have forgotten who you are and why you are here. Remind yourself that you are a spiritual being having a physical experience, not a physical being having a spiritual experience. Remind yourself that you are here to care, share and make a contribution to life in general, and the lives of others in particular, not just get what you can and to survive your own life. Remind yourself that at the heart of your heart there is an unlimited supply of positive energy. Remind yourself that life is not a business, it is a game. It is a fun, creative and joyful process by which you get to create your life, not have it created for you. If you find this hard to swallow then you are most probably taking yourself in particular, and life in general, far too seriously. Proceed at once to the bathroom, look straight in the mirror and start laughing!
The best time to awaken both body and spirit is in the early morning(4am). We are fresh, in solitude, and the vibrations of the world are at their calmest. It is not surprising that you will find all experienced meditators and yogis up with the dawn, inviting the sun of spirit to shine into the heart of their soul. The first half hour of conscious awareness will be the foundation of your day. Make an early start. Meditate, set the switch of your consciousness and calibrate your energy for the day. You'll be surprised the difference it makes.
In the meantime have a merry Christmas, but perhaps not too merry, because if you over stimulate and generate the highs, you will have to suffer the lows. Your choice.