I love being at home. Perhaps sometimes I love it too much. I’ll get invited somewhere and I’ll think “but…couch!” While it’s very safe in my cocoon, it is easy to get stuck in whatever mood I’m in. This is all good if it’s an upbeat one which sees me giggling to myself, bouncing on the mini-tramp and seeking out comedy shows to watch. But if I’m feeling blah, low, irritated, frustrated or sad, being home alone can escalate this too and I go down, down, down. Scroll through Facebook despondently, lie on the couch staring at the ceiling, wonder ‘why me?!’ and eat everything in sight.
For these kind of moods, it is especially important that I get out of the house. I need to give myself a push into my sneakers and out the door regardless of the state of my hair before I get swallowed up into wallow-ville. Once I’m out, I take in the air and either head down to the park for a nature fix and to see the doggies chasing balls (joy personified) or down the High street to see people chasing coffee (hipsters personified). Even just a short trip to the 7-11 for the paper can shift my state and put things in perspective-the world isn’t ending because here there are sausage rolls and slurpies and people doing things and going places.
Surely we’ve all heard people say, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” and it’s taken me a long time to realise that the wallow track needs to be remixed with a scene change (remix!), not put on repeat indefinitely. Alan Downs, therapist and author, suggests we start noticing joy and then repeating it, to snap us out of our funk. I‘ve noticed that watching dogs run brings me joy (dogs swimming is even better), walking brings me joy and listening to funny podcasts and upbeat music brings me joy. So these I will seek to repeat. So strap on those sneakers, put in those ear buds and ‘walk yourself out of distress’.
Love and light and chase joy like a doggo chases a ball xxx Yvette
Alan Downs’ Book “The Velvet Rage” has lots of helpful gems:
Obsessing about pain creates more pain – The continuous recitation of painful feelings, stories, and memories brings only temporary relief and, in the long term, increases your pain.
Walk your way our of distress – When feeling particularly distressing emotions, the only way to decrease the pain is to force yourself to act contrary to the emotion.
Make yourself vulnerable to joy. Notice when you feel joy. Repeat the behaviours that create joy