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emotional healing mechanisms

blzblack's recent post got me thinking about how I deal with unhappiness. In addition to the things he uses, here some things that work for me:

Processing.
Just get through stuff. It's a tough road, facing things down until I feel wrung out, but at the end it's no longer consuming me. I've found that writing is my best outlet for this, thus my current writing project is a (fictionalized) memoir.

DVDs.
I'll play a movie while doing stuff around the house, occasionally watching but mostly just listening to the pretty sounds and human voices. Radio works, too, though if the wrong (read: depressing) music plays, it's worse.

Getting out.
Doing stuff outside makes a big difference for me. Especially if it's sunny and I do something productive. Just mowing the lawn counts, though the first time I mowed after Kij left was so sad that I cried the whole time. Some kind of symbolism, I think.

Seeing people.
The irony here is that when I'm depressed, I don't feel like seeing people. I have to make myself do it. Thus my weekly gaming with friends: I have to get myself into a place to be social because it's a regular thing. This has really helped.

Physical movement.
It's like blzblack's exercise item, but it needn't be a big deal. I try to bicycle to work when the weather is decent, ride the stationary bicycle (parked in the middle of my living room, near to the TV for watching movies/news), lift weights, do sit-ups and push-ups, and so on every day.

Enough sleep.
Is a biggie for me. As I get depressed, I tend to be unable to sleep. So just doing it makes a big difference. Doing enough of it (9 hours for me) really helps.

Eating.
Yeah, I kind of forget to eat some times when I'm down. Then I'll be starving and non-intelligent, or I'll eat crap because it's all I have around. Trying to do three regular meals a day is to happiness as not eating is to depression.

Just some off the top of the ol' noggin'. What works for you?

Best,
Chris

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
professormass
Mar. 16th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)

RPGs - I kid you not. I get squirrelly when I can't run at least a good session a month. There's nothing as stress-relieving as completely immersing myself in a fictional world to the point where I forget all my troubles.

Sex - I like to screw. 'Nuff said.

Books - Same as RPGs, to a lesser extent, because while I always enjoy a good gaming session, many books kinda suck.

Long walks alone - I often go for long, meandering strolls by myself, wherein I think things through. It's as if my emotional cleaning system is powered by my feet.

Livejournal - Honestly, venting here, reading about other people's lives, and getting the occasional sympathetic ear or good advice does wonders for me.
professormass
Mar. 16th, 2006 03:18 am (UTC)

Oh, yeah. And call me queer, but dressing up nice makes me feel better. As does shopping. I looooooove to shop.
bellanorth
Mar. 16th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
It depends on the depth of the unhappiness, but something to distract my forebrain while I analyze is very helpful. Per fate7 I think too much. I have found that keeping a divided focus by cooking, volunteering, walking/cycling, even housework will allow me to analyze without paralyzing myself. Lighter things can include retail therapy, forcing myself off the beaten track, socializing and reading but those can also push me further into the depths if done incautiously.
astein142
Mar. 16th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
Depends on the circumstance. There are a few certain upbeat songs that will lift my spirits every time (and a few downbeat ones that will reduce me to tears). When I'm introspective, I prefer perfect silence. At other times, Bach helps me focus while I write and/or create.

If my brain is in overdrive when I need to sleep (anxiety and obsessive thoughts), the soothing voices of the NPR morning crew or BBC Overnight crew distracts the analytical part of my brain so the rest of my brain can sleep. (But it only works with public radio... commercial radio and tv sound feeds are jarring and counter-productive.)
kai_
Mar. 16th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
I posted a comment to Kij's journal moments ago that addresses this.
I find that being mindful is one key component. I can make myself feel a whole lot better if I just stop and not just smell the flowers, but commune with them. Appreciating the small joys of everyday life (my cat rubbing his face against my foot in an attempt to get me downstairs to feed him) is never a bad idea.
I also work my ass off. The more time I spend in service to other people, the better I feel overall. I just don't have the time or energy to spend on feeling unhappy.
My worst days are ones with nothing to do, I sit at home, bored and get stuck in negative thinking - it just runs itself if I don't consciously get off my sorry butt and go do something. "Opposite to emotion."
And I also consciously make myself smile - just a little. A half-smile. A "mona Lisa" smile. It actually tricks the brain into thinking that you're feeling happier than you are, it changes the brain chemistry.
Best wishes - Kai
gryphonrose
Mar. 16th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
"What works for you?"
My children. No matter how bad my day has been, going home and seeing them always cheers me up.
Writing. I get grumpy when I haven't written fiction in a while, it really is psychological withdrawal, I think, but once I get to write again I feel better.
Hanging out with friends.
Comfort foods. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, hot chocolate, pastrami on rye, hot and sour soup, fried chicken. Not all together, mind. :)
scarlettina
Mar. 16th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Music music music. I actually have songs that are my healing songs, songs that I know I can get lost in, even if I know every note of the arrangement, every word until I can sing them in my sleep. It's almost like a physical thing for me.

Talking with friends, whether on the phone or in person. Society definitely makes a difference.

Physical activity: the body is happiest when it's being used.
florilegia
Mar. 16th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Laughter causes involuntary cheerfulness
Why has no one mentioned laughing? Sometimes when you feel so sad that nothing is funny, that's the time to pull out your Black Adder/ Monty Python/MST videos (or whatever bits of humor you know by heart and find funny every time). Or read Tom Robbins. Or have a friend act very silly while you have a beer with him. Or listen to a comedy routine by Rollins or Hicks or whoever makes you laugh...

Wish I could say something myself, but I don't know you that well.
starstraf
Mar. 17th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
There are a bunch of stop gaps for me - live music, TV, video games. But the healing won't happen until I process verbally with a trusted friend
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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