Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Good News About Having " The Blues"
When we feel sad or blue we usually are less perky and have less energy. We feel disinterested in our regular social activities, may retreat from our loved ones and friends for a temporary period of time, and usually our thoughts turn inward. In a nutshell, during these normal periods of "the blues" we slow down physically and tend to focus on our inner mental life. Our culture is consumed with pop psychology books, television shows, and social media giving us advice about how not to be sad and what to do as soon as we begin to feel sad. It takes only a split second to find thousands of internet sites devoted to telling us how to be happy or happier than we already feel. Many of these sites post daily quotes of inspiration with hopes of turning a frown into a smile and we have been conditioned to "treat" our sadness as soon as the first "symptom" appears. We do not recognize the benefits of "working through" our emotions and instead seek out quick fix cures.
This attitude is unfortunate because quick fixes oftentimes miss their target. That is, a quick fix rarely resolves the real issue that was causing your "blues" in the first place. Getting to underlying issues and/or problems that are underneath your sadness or the blues requires reflection and reflection requires time and patience, all of which is the opposite of a quick fix. Working through difficult times and allowing yourself to feel painful emotions can actually lead to positive life changes. It is through suffering that we come to realize what it is that is truly impacting our lives negatively. Expecting to always be happy and feeling compelled to shelve or avoid our emotions of sadness or the "blues" has the potential to stunt our ability to recognize the necessary changes we need to make in order to experience a fuller and more satisfying life. Essentially, having the blues, feeling down in the dumps, or just plain sad gives us time "off" from our hectic lives and time "on" for reflection and re-evaluation. You may even find out that by working through what made you sad in the first place is what leads to your happiness in your future!
This article was written by Paula Durlofsky, Ph.D. I am a practicing psychologist in Bryn Mawr, PA. Email any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit my web page at
www.drpauladurlofsky.com to learn more about me and my practice.