We all have those days, weeks and even months where we are enveloped by a dark cloud and low mood kicks in. Life seems to have taken a turn for the worse and all we can see is negativity after negativity. Everyone experiences this at some stage in their life, whether it be on a regular basis or now and again. Everyone experiences ‘the blues’ in diverse ways and everyone will have their own set of habits they revert to when the low mood strikes. One common habit is over-thinking and berating oneself. Suddenly we grind to a halt and exhaust ourselves with mulling over again and again why we are such failures and how everything that has gone wrong for us and the world for that matter, and it is all our fault. Ok, so this sounds rather dramatic, but our minds love a bit of negative drama if we allow it to get hold of it. Why do you think that a sizable percentage of the nation is addicted to soaps!
When we are in the thick of the blues, we are most in need of some comfort and who better to get this comfort from than the person who knows us best: ourselves. Giving ourselves comfort in a low mood can be near on impossible because of our negative mindset (fixed mindset). So, we need to call on ourselves when we are in a positive frame of mind (growth mindset) to offer the comfort that we need during a stage of low mood. The Rainy Day Letter (Dolan, 1998) is a great way to do this.
The Rainy Day Letter:
Write a letter to yourself when you are in a good frame of mind that includes the following:
- A reminder of your strengths, abilities, talents and interests
- A reminder of the things that give you meaning
- A reminder of things that make you happy
- A reminder of your hopes and dreams for the future, and why you can achieve them.
- A list of activities that you enjoy or find comfort in
- A list of supportive friends and family with their contact details
- A special message of advice and comfort for yourself
Keep this letter in a place that you can easily access when the blues strike and you need some consolation. Or if you are already in a state of low mood then write this letter using the pointers above as guidance. It may seem tough, but answering just one or two of the points above will help lighten your mood. A little self-comfort goes a long way!
I must point out at this stage that ‘the blues’ or low mood that I am referring to in this article is more transient than depression. If you are suffering from long-term depression, this exercise will still help, but please do seek advice from your medical professional or therapist. If you are reading this and unsure if you are dealing with long standing depression, then I do advise you to speak with your doctor.
If you would like further help on how to develop a positive and successful mindset, then please do contact me on the contact tab above. I am looking forward to hearing from you.