A Powerful Way To Lift Your Mood
by L.A. Strucke
The last thing I wanted to do that Wednesday evening was go out and socialize.
I’d been working hard and had a stressful day. You ever just feel so overwhelmed that you’re holding back tears? That’s exactly what it was like. All I wanted to do was lay on my couch like a zombie, pet a cat and eat chocolate all night. I know- it was that pathetic. Yet my friend insisted.
She listed all the reasons I should go. I didn’t want to. She persisted.
“It will make you feel better.” That did it. I had a hard time believing her, but I decided to go to her event.
I took a deep breath, forced a smile, and walked into the lounge. I could hear the guitarist, singing an upbeat song. My friend came over, gave me a hug and introduced me to her other friends.
Soon I was listening to other people telling me their stories- of struggles they had, illnesses, and problems way bigger than mine.
Another woman asked for my help in an area I had expertise in. I gave her some ideas and it made her night. It made me feel good that I had something to offer to help another person.
I didn’t jump on the dance floor; it’s not my thing. Yet, soon the music lifted me, and there was a sparkle in my step.
By the end of the evening, I’d made a new friend. And the stressed feeling was completely gone. Gone. No sadness at all.
What had caused this major shift? Just hours before I’d felt heaviness so deep it was suffocating. I wanted to curl up in a ball and be left alone. Yet, It wasn’t just going out to socialize that saved me.
It was simple. I’d taken my focus off of my all-consuming problems and placed it on others. I’d let the upbeat music and the beautiful voice of the singer lift my spirit. I listened to other people’s stories, and their hopes and dreams. And by caring about them, it healed something deep inside of me.
I recently viewed a YouTube movie trailer by Rabbi Dov Greenberg called “A Tale of Two Seas” that illustrates this concept perfectly. In Israel there are two seas that couldn’t be more different- both fed by the River Jordan. The Water flows abundantly through the Sea of Galilee, going in on one end and out the other. The Sea of Galilee is filled with life, where animals, plants and fish flourish. The Dead Sea only receives the water that originates from the River Jordan and keeps it to itself. Living things cannot thrive there.
We are like those two seas- if we hold back and only focus on ourselves, our spirits are dying and we become lonely and bitter. Yet if we give of ourselves, we become a positive light in the lives of others, and in turn, it fills our own lives with amazing blessings. For we are all connected. Even one word of encouragement can mean the world to someone.
For those of us with the occasional sad mood, (I’m not talking about people with clinical long lasting depression – who should definitely be under consistent medical care) I believe getting out of ourselves and the negative thoughts buzzing inside our heads, is an effective way to lift our spirits.
Next time you are feeling blue, fight off the urge to lay in the dark alone, gorge on chocolate and drink too much wine. Let go of your past hurts and truly live in the moment. Get out of yourself. Get out the door. Be open to new experiences and let the goodness flow to and from you. Go help someone else.
You will feel better. I promise. And like me, you might even make a new friend.