‘Yeah ,yeah, so funny!’, I’m looking up and rolling my eyes. I’m just loving the irony. The title for this post has been on my mind for a couple of days. In one of those smart-ass moments from the Universe/God/whoever, I wake ready to write this piece and I’m all storm clouds and sludge. It’s one of those dull overcast days that I loathe. Days that go nowhere. Days that feel like mangrove swamps. Yes, I know mangroves are important for all sorts of ecological reasons but they smell.

So how do I get myself out of this swamp? I think I need to start with this: Is this a brain or body problem? It might be both. Brains sit in a body soup. Did I get here by thinking badly or not looking after my body?

Physical

  • Feeling is physical. Switching mood is physical. Feeling peaceful is physical. Feeling good is physical. Tend to the physical.
  • Get moving. I didn’t exercise yesterday. I sat at a desk fuming in a fairly toxic environment. This is bad body chemistry, much like the swamp I’m thinking of. Foul things are brewing in the sludge. The tides need to wash through. Get moving, get the endorphins flowing.
  • Drink lots of water. Water washes out the swamp.
  • Ground out. Sit on the grass. Walk in the park. Walk barefoot. I’m a bit spacey, a bit airy (ok, more than a bit) I often need to get back down to earth, literally.

Mental

  • Don’t take it too seriously, make fun of it. It’s just a bad mood, a rebellious funk of the soul.
  • Get your brain train on different tracks. If you’re like me, your overactive brain can trick you. ‘Thinking obsessively will be very helpful’, it says. You know it’s a lie. It will just take you downhill fast. Your brain likes this familiar hopeless rant and looks forward to visiting all those old stations.
  • Distract the hell out of your brain. Make it focus on something else; something funny, something pointless, something constructive, anything else. Ask it a red herring question. Get it focused on a real problem that needs a real solution.
  • Make something. Create something. Redirect the energy. Interrupt yourself like a good friend who knows this blah blah is going nowhere. Write about it. Draw cartoons about it. Talk in silly voices. Make your enemies into characters. The Wicked Witch of the West does live in suburbia and she hasn’t had a bath in a while; a glass of water will do the trick.
  • Talk to someone you like. Don’t take the telemarketing call. Do talk to someone you like, preferably someone with a good dark sense of humour.
  • Ask a few good questions. What would I like to do right now? What feels better?

Rest

  • Have a nap. Exhaustion turns us all into crabby overtired three-year-olds. In this state you probably want to throw yourself on the footpath  or whimper and sniff in a corner. A nap will help.
  • Give up. At some point being in a bad mood gets too exhausting, repetitive and plain boring. It will probably run it’s course especially once you stop stoking that steam train with fresh fuel.

Ok, this is embarrassing, I admit it, I suck at this! It’s now been a couple of days of wallowing with all those old trolls and sludge monsters. I’ve been pretty slow to restart my own mood. I’m inching upwards but it’s hard going.

Thanks a lot, great joke’, I say looking upwards, ‘help me out of this.’

‘But you wanted inspiration!’, I hear.

‘Ok, thanks, I’ve had enough now, get me out of here!’

‘Ok, sure, you only had to ask’

Be careful what you ask for.

I do know this: my old thoughts need to be looked at but only once I’m feeling better. Then I can ask: what was that all about? What sludge monster needs a good shower?

So here’s my short list:

  • Get moving – clear out the stress chemicals
  • Distract your brain
  • Ask for help – ask God or a human with a mobile number
  • When you’re out of the swamp, see what you can learn from that flip-out

Look, the sun is coming out. It’s about bloody time. Gratitude is a good too. ‘Yeah, right’, says the sludge monster, ‘what do I have to be grateful for?’ Good question.

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