05/06/2014 09:29 BST | Updated 04/08/2014 06:59 BST

A Touch of the Blues


We all at times get a touch of the blues. A day when we get out of bed the wrong side or snap at our partner before the day has even started. If we were to look at the situation from a witnessing standpoint there would be no specific thing that created these blues - they just seem to descend.

Or do they?

I've just one of those blues days. Everything felt fine when I went to bed last night but today I felt low, blue, cranky and that played out with me snapping at my partner first thing.

So I was sitting at my desk wondering why on earth that all just happened. Why did I shout - about nothing I might add - why did I get caught up in crankiness?

The blues can descend for a few reasons - but there is always, I promise you, a reason. Problem is that it can be hard to define that reason whilst stuck in the blues. However we can either sink slowly into the quagmire or we can do something about it. You see the one thing we have absolute control over, even if it does not feel like it, is our attitude - how we approach any particular situation.

So I thought I'd share my method of dealing with the blues. It might not suit everyone but I find it works.

Step one - distract yourself. I have tried in the past to look at what is making me feel blue when I am deep in it and that never seems to work. I just get more frustrated with myself - "I should know better" runs around my head and then I end up making myself feel even worse.

So now I have learnt that in fact I need to just simply look elsewhere. Today it took 3 episodes of Grey's Anatomy! Some days it takes me going for a walk, or calling a friend and seeing if I can help them in any way. Or cooking something, or cleaning. It actually does not matter what your distraction is as long as you do it.

Now I know that someone of you will be saying at this point that's fine for you but I have to go to work. Well, do something to distract yourself at work. Get busy, offer to help someone, chat to your friends about them (not you and your blues).

The reason for the distraction is that you need to stop thinking about it. Thinking about feeling blue just makes you feel even worse. You build it up in your mind and before you know it your life is awful, it is over, nothing will ever be good again! That's how the mind works.

So by distracting the mind you stop churning it over and over and start thinking about something else. Now this may work quickly or it might take a while - like my three episodes of Grey's Anatomy today. But what is great is that at some point you realise that you are no longer caught up in the blues.

Now you can do step two and look at it. This is the time you can, if you want, explore what you were feeling. As soon as you are no longer in its grip you can safely explore it.

Why bother you may ask? Well the blues are symptom of something out of balance in your life, something not quite right. If you take the time to ask yourself what was going on, why was I feeling like that then you can address it and move on. If you don't - it will just come up again in some way.

These little incidents are for us to learn and see ourselves better. That's what the journey called life is all about. Me? Well I saw that I was feeling like I couldn't solve a problem, didn't have the answers and so felt helpless. Once I looked at it (after my distraction of Grey's Anatomy) I saw that in fact I was not helpless at all, in fact once I was out of the grip of that feeling I discovered quite a few options - and took them.

And now I feel good, the blues are a distant memory, I've solved a problem and life moves on. And I know that had I not distracted myself I could have been in a real black hole right now, my mind would have had a whole day to point out all the negative things. You see it is simply about where we put our focus. Chose to you put yours on things that will uplift you. That's one way to beat the blues.

Jessica McGregor Johnson is an international speaker, guide & mentor and author of "The Right T-Shirt, Write Your Own Rules and Live the Life You Want" and "Remembering Perfection - Everyday Inspiration for Living Your Spiritually". She helps people who are at a crossroads discover themselves anew, identify their true passions, and live them, whether it be in their work or personal life. You can read the first two chapters of her book here

Illustration reproduced with kind permission May The Thoughts Be With You