I try not to be a Debbie Downer too much, but this site often ends up being my mind-dump, word vomit therapy. Yesterday, I was in the worst of sorts, but remembered that great writers become great by writing constantly, so I wrote two posts but did not publish them because they were so sad/disheartening/not good for helping anyone but myself. Part of the problem was that I woke up exhausted, and the other part of the problem was that I did not act quickly enough to try and counteract it. So I ended up being a lonely dunghead all day, and for that, I’d like to apologize.
The community I’ve found in WordPress has been astounding and uplifting to me, as well as the friends that follow me via email and text me moments after I post something. I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate your support, and that I would also like to be a part of your support system.
BUT ALSO! When you wake up in a poopy mood and you feel like there’s little to no reason for the day and no possible way it can improve, I want to reassure you that it can. If you’re reading this and you’re sad at the moment, I know it seems easy for me to say and difficult for you to buy into, but you must trust me on this one.
As I said, I didn’t act quickly enough to try and improve my mood, but I did eventually attempt to turn my day around. The problem was that I only turned it around just in time to head back out into the world of poor drivers and bad traffic and attempt my one-hour long trek home. So guess how I felt when I plopped myself on the couch back at home? Yup, long live the lonely dunghead.
That’s why you need to address the issue the moment you realize it’s there. The faster you counteract it, the less of your day you will lose to negativity. It’s easy to pluck a weed from a garden when it first sprouts, but if you let it sit in the sunshine and be watered and take everything away from you, it can be near impossible to remove. True story: I once had a weed in my garden that was the size of a small tree, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t actually a tree until nothing would grow in my garden except for that one plant. I had to dig about eight feet into the ground to remove the roots, and still didn’t get all of it.
What are things you could possibly do to improve your mood if you find yourself waking up like I did? Well, first thing I go to is a cup of coffee. Sure, it’s a bit of a crutch and totally an addiction for me at this point, but there are worse things I could be addicted to, so I bear my cross with pride. The thing about coffee is that, on top of giving you energy, it can also release endorphins (the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy). The taste and aroma can be enough to give you the feel-goods. It’s not proven to, but along with loving the flavor of coffee, I also have a lot of great memories from coffee dates, places I’ve been when I tried new types of coffee, etc. so my brain almost always release them feel-goods. Another thing you can do is take a walk. If you try to focus on beautiful things during your walk, it’ll be even better, but the simple act of light exercise is truly proven to release endorphins. Want more? Go ahead and sprint.
But what if the coffee sucks where you work and you have very regimented breaks so you can’t take a walk? Try words.
Whether it’s typing them out or speaking them out loud, words have power. Why do you think you like writing or reading so much? Why do you think you’ve read this far into my post? You’re either a dear friend of mine, suffering my words to support me, or you have bought into something I’ve said, and are hoping to glean the greatest amount of positivity from this as possible.
Words help us create new worlds, process emotions, invent theories. They can also be used to build you up as quickly as you’d like them to. I say “as you’d like them to” because I know it’s easy to ignore them… for awhile. But words are feathers, and a pound of feathers is just as heavy as a pound of iron. So, the sooner you decide you’ll let them do their magic, the sooner you will be uplifted by them, and usually the less of them you need. If it takes awhile, that’s fine, but just keep piling the words up until you feel them make a difference. And when that happens, keep going. They may be cheap, but again, collecting pennies is still one step to a million dollars.
So what do you write or say? Whatever it takes. I usually start by writing down my complaints, worries, existential crises, etc. This way, I have alleviated my burden by getting it off my chest. The second thing is to think about whether or not you should share that with the general public. Always share what you are going through with someone because you can’t get help if you don’t ask for it. Share it with a friend, family member, psychiatrist, etc. but when you are about to share it with the public, consider the effect your words may have on everyone else. Remember words have power and your existential crisis could trigger someone else’s. They have as much if not more power to tear down as they do to build up. A good way to know whether or not you should share it is if it has a resolution. If it does, then usually that’s enough to pacify others, and therefore good to share.
Now trust me, I understand not everything has a resolution. The deaths of friends and family, hopelessness, even chronic depression don’t have resolutions. But either leave that out of public space, or acknowledge that it does not have a resolution, because that is a resolution in and of itself. In those cases, try a “but” phrase. Here’s an example:
“I’m depressed and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
“I’m depressed and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, but I can still fight it.”
You’re not coming to what I’d call a “hopeful” conclusion, but you acknowledge that the depression hasn’t won. This is positive simply because now the world gets to keep you around longer, and everyone will be happier knowing that you’re fighting the fight without giving up. It’s a small thing, but in public space, it can be everything.
The final words you can use on yourself or others are words of true positivity. Now you’ve unloaded your Radio Flyer wagon of all the rotten tomatoes, you’ve swept it clean by acknowledged that you’re winning the battle simply because it hasn’t won you, and it’s time to load the wagon with puppies and bubbles and other things that make you smirk and cackle. It sounds cheesy and lame, but I’ve found encouragement by looking at myself on my phone in selfie-mode or in a mirror, and saying things I like about myself or positive things about the day in general. Sometimes I have to tell myself half-truths to get it going, but one positive can remind me of something I genuinely do like about myself or the day. The words start gaining momentum and honesty and weight until BAM! I am saying things I genuinely enjoy, and some of them even come with a smile.
Start with this phrase: I am (insert name here), I am here right now, and that’s a darn good start. I have (color) hair and (color) eyes, and that’s pretty neat. I also have a brain, which is important. (Don’t smile while reading the following phrase) My brain lets me read these sentences and speak these words, which means I’m not a total potato. Today, the weather is (insert weather conditions of your local area) and I am at least observant enough to notice that, which is also proof of the difference between me and a potato.
Next, continue listing differences between you and a potato (I don’t mean to put down potatoes. They’re wonderful and useful, but this proves you are more useful), and steadily transition into something you like about the weather, the month/season, the city you live in, yourself, or anything else that is even slightly better than neutral. Keep doing this until you can smile, even just a little.
Now, those are the final words you have for yourself. If you get that far, I recommend posting whatever you come up with so that people can hear about your struggle, have the opportunity to sympathize, and be uplifted because you are fighting the good fight and recognize you are not a potato. It can also help them realize that they, too, are not potatoes.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
If you have reached a point of contentment or happiness and you have the opportunity to interact with people in real life, try finding one thing to compliment on from each person you come into contact with. It may be awkward at first, but people appreciate it. Some ideas for compliments: color of shoes, color of shirt, color of pants (pretty much notice the color of what they’re wearing), eyebrows (women love to be complimented on their eyebrows, I hear), hair style, cleanliness, pleasant smell (if they smell nice), notice if someone else looks particularly happy (Hey Pete! You sure look chipper today!), use of words if they seem to use dictionary.com’s word of the day, smoothness of skin, voice tone, etc. It literally could be anything. People appreciate when other people notice things because in today’s world, it’s common to have our noses in our phones or to not acknowledge each other’s presence since that takes less effort than saying “hi.”
So far today, I have drank coffee, told myself that I’m stunning (again, sometimes you’ve gotta start with a half-truth), put on my polka-dot socks, and wished the folks on the elevator a good day. Even if my day goes sour from here, I cling to this:
I AM WEARING POLKA-DOT SOCKS TODAY AND I REFUSE TO LET THE WORLD BRING ME DOWN! <— This was actually the first sentence I wrote when I started this post.
Have a great day, guys. Otherwise, have a day. Just remember: Words have power.
P.S. Words have weight like elephants and power like electricity, hence the title of the post. I felt like there could have been questions/accusations of how I treat elephants if I didn’t explain that. I love elephants and would never wish any amount of electricity upon them.