On the news this week it was reported that 11% of Americans were on anti-depressants. That’s sad! We were made to be happy, and we wish it for others, saying “Happy Easter, Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas.” Why aren’t so many of us happy? Of course, we can blame the theological reason: original sin that stole heaven’s bliss from us. Still, some modicum of happiness is within reach here on earth. We know the joy that comes from a job well done, a surprise party, a newborn baby, a gorgeous nature scene, and someone loving you. Experiences like those leave us bubbling over with happiness. There are stretches of time when we are content, at peace and enjoy getting up in the morning. Joy evaporates, however, when tragedy strikes, stress builds up, or failure darkens our life. Sometimes we might feel blue for no identifiable reason. At such times we might cry, wish we hadn’t been born, try to drown our sorrows in alcohol, or hate getting out of bed.
Our novice director once told us to avoid the 3 Ds: the doctor, the devil, and the dumps. So, how does a Christian deal with sadness?
First, check to see if your life is out of kilter because you are not right with God. A clever observation is that JOY is the result of putting nothing 0 between Jesus and You.
Third, reflect on all the blessings that are yours today. Recall (and relive) blessings of the past. They will far outweigh your problems, and remembering them will cheer you up.
Fourth, go for a walk in creation and let it fill your heart. This can be rejuvenating. Plus, exercise releases serotonin, our good-feeling hormone. and endorphins, our natural painkillers.
Fifth, remind yourself, “This too will pass.” Life, like a roller coaster, has ups and downs. With hope and confidence, look ahead to the future when you will be on the top of a hill once more.
Sixth, socialize with people who care about you and people who make you laugh. Throw a party.
Seventh, listen to music: upbeat songs and soaring classical pieces.
Ninth, go where there are children and babies and let them lift your spirits.
Tenth, take on a new hobby, learn something new, or have a new experience. Writing a novel for the first time gave oomph to my life.
Eleventh, act as if. Act as though you are happy. This can work like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Smile! It’s said that smiling can help you feel happy…even if just a tad happier.
Twelfth, If all else fails, talk to your doctor to see if there is a physical cause to your sadness.
What do you find helpful when you are in a dark mood?