That’s all it takes really. Look above. A picture of a blue-eyed kitten is a great way to deal with the doldrums, the blues, the slump, the blockage, the writer’s constipation.
So many names for a low-down mood. So many ways to define sorrows. Why do we do it? Why do we spend so much time defining the things we want to spend less time doing? How does that help anything?
Better to define the things we love doing. Spend more time with the things that bring us joy. Spend more time meditating on what matters, instead of wallowing in the negative. One of the differences between pessimists and optimists is they both can see the muck and the mire but the pessimist sets up camp there. The optimist just grins and pictures…a kitten, for instance.
Personally, I can talk for a mile about mountain biking. I can spin skeins about writing fiction. I could build a rocket from the stacks of science fiction books I have, and I could have plenty left over to create the first library on the moon. I’m sure that would be the best library in the galaxy; for one thing, you wouldn’t have to return the books; and for another, what a great location!
The point here is not necessarily to help others get out of their slumps, though that may be a pleasant consequence of this particular post—I’m mostly just driving myself out of my own slump. I hit an obstacle along life’s busy road. I can’t really say the obstacle was unforeseen. I had an idea it was coming, but it didn’t treat me well whether I knew about it or not. Where I want to go and where I am are far distant. What matters though is that I found a sense of humor that I didn’t know I had. It’s sort of a light and fluffy, whimsical thing. It’s interesting and illogical, but it helped drag me out of the swamp of the pessimist so I wouldn’t start living there. When I started using it, I noticed other people around me had the same kind of humor. Who knew? It’s either contagious or it was always there and I never noticed.
Certain things in life can bring you down. You choose to stay down or not.
You also choose to get back up or not.
Do you look for the solutions to get you back to being happy? Do you seek the people who can boost your confidence? How do you handle the obstacles life sets up for you? What can you do to overcome the obstacles of life? Do you have the skills to manage trials? Do you have the mental, physical, and spiritual strength to carry on? How did you learn those? Who taught you?
Other than cute and cuddly kitten pictures, one of my solutions for pulling out of a slump is to focus on Christ. Even if I only compare my own life to his, I can’t feel down about my situation too long. Do I have it tough? Hardly. Christ had it tougher. Comparison is why Blues songs work to cheer you up. You hear about how tough the Blues singer had it and you feel better. Focusing on Christ has another aspect to cheer you up though. His life may have been full of difficult, even deadly things, but he was able to overcome all of it. He overcame criticism with wit and wisdom. He overcame homelessness by making friends in his travels. He overcame temptation by constantly reminding himself and others who he really is. He even overcame death. And there, right there, is one great defense against the bogs of life—death is not the end. You can look at obstacles in a new way if you know that. The largest obstacles are only temporary. And even if your obstacles are so enormous that they roll over you and crush you until you’re dead, well, that’s temporary too, thanks to Jesus.
Even the pessimist in me can’t stay down too long. He comes up with adjectives for the obstacles: crushingly enormous. The adjectives on the optimistic side are more abundant: charismatic, dynamic, perpetual, limitless, lively, eternal, cute, cuddly, and happy.
So, to sum up for myself, the ways out of a slump are: find kitten pictures, write more, focus on Christ, focus on the things you enjoy, don’t set up camp in the bog, and remember death is not the end.