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Feeling a little sad:(

3 Steps and 1 Rule for a Successful Pity Party

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: cap10morgan

Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might-have-been.

— Arthur Ransome

Why do we find it so hard to be happy?

Maybe we know more about what we don’t want rather than knowing what we do want.  If that’s the case, being happy is really about not being unhappy.

How do we know when we’re unhappy?  Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it?  But, it actually can help if we can identify the feeling underneath.  Is it sadness, loneliness, boredom, fear, hopelessness, confusion, fatigue, or something else entirely?  When we can name the feeling, we can at least explore the options for relieving that particular feeling.

I have a friend who thinks the solution for a down day is to go to Downtown Disney.  For her, the lights and noise and people are invigorating.  If she’s tired or lonely, it’s Downtown Disney that’ll cure all her ills.

Just the thought of it makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.

Head It Off at the Pass

For me, I most often feel unhappy when I’m overly tired.  Everything annoys me.  I can’t think clearly and I feel trapped – all because I can’t seem to find the energy to do what needs to be done.  When I get to that point, I can quickly catastrophize myself to never feeling happy again.  The house will stay filthy (notice I don’t say messy or dirty, I say filthy) forever.  I’ll never catch up.  I’ll never be able to have anyone over – all because I’m too tired.

I know that one of my unhappiness triggers is tiredness.  Because of that, I try to avoid getting overly tired, but I am of the age where insomnia can keep me awake or wake me up and then I’m not just tired, I’m frustrated with the ridiculousness of it all.  Tired, but wide awake until it’s time to get up to go to work, then I’m ready to fall asleep again.  Bah, humbug! (It’s not just for Christmas anymore.)

Years ago, I learned a very important lesson.  I learned it when I had my wisdom teeth pulled.  The dental assistant told me to not wait for the pain to get too bad before I took the pain meds.  Taking a preventative Advil is better than letting things get bad and then not being able to get control of the pain without something powerful, expensive, and habit forming.

Negative feelings are the same.  Unless you’ve decided to have a pity party, then being aware that you’re feeling low, figuring out why you’re feeling low, and taking action to counteract it can save you from a lot of pain – much of it self-induced.

Pity Parties Have Their Place

Sometimes the only cure for feeling yucky is a good old fashioned pity party.  If you’re going to do it, do it up big.  Here are the steps for a successful pity party:

Calladas / Shhhhh Confidentiality is the number one rule.  Anyone who participates must take the oath that what happens in the pity party stays at the pity party.
Party Animal Decide if you will party in a group or alone.  There are advantages to both.  If you party alone, you don’t need to share the wine, margaritas, chips, salsa or chocolate.  On the other hand, if your friend makes the great margaritas, maybe you should make it a party for two.
Clock bread Set a beginning and ending time.  At the end of the pity party, self-pity will be banned for the duration.  The idea here is to create a purge.  Get all of the gunk out of your system at once.  Rant, rave, cry, worry – whatever is appropriate to work it out of the system.  When you’re through, you’re through.  Clean up and get ready for tomorrow.
Sunrise Tomorrow is a new day!  If you do it right, you’ll start to feel better as you work through the process.  After your purge, you’ll be exhausted – hopefully, so exhausted that you don’t remember what caused the party to begin with.  Get a good night’s sleep and welcome the new day with a smile and a plan to feel better.

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