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What do you do for unhappiness?

I mentioned this in the depression, bipolar, anxiety thread that exists somewhere on this site… I know a lot of people on this forum come from a background of eating disorders, and I know that it can be very hard to stay in any kind of positive mindset. Any kind of thought-pattern like that, when it comes from your own mind, can be hard to ignore. I often find myself, for example, stuck in a negative rut for what seems like far too long- low confidence, lack of motivation, etc. I’m wondering what the rest of you do when those kinds of things come up in your lives- those serious bad moods and bouts of depression. What kinds of things do you guys do to cheer yourselves up? Do you make tea, or read a book? Take a nap? I’m curious, but I’m also in need of advice. Positive thinking just doesn’t quite work for me sometimes. What are your tricks to feeling happier and more positive?


  • MeditatingMeditating Raw Newbie

    I enjoy getting lost in art projects. Making something beautiful allows me to contribute something unique and astounding to the world and no one can take that from me.

    I make jewelery, paint stones, paint glass, make home-made greeting cards, knit, crochet, etc. Making something for someone else is the ultimate way to show them your love.

    I also enjoy growing my vegetables, which is something I started this summer. Physically, I can’t care for an animal and don’t have a yard to put one in either. I have always felt a kinship with plant life such that I do feel like they are companions.

    Since I have a dehydrator and invested in these wonderful heirloom seed (most are around 100 years old) I am going to become a good steward and be a seed saver. I will be making my own seed packets out of beautiful paper this year so I can’t wait to do that.

    I think if you just become passionate about something you let yourself get lost in the joy of it.

    My ability to be so happy with simple things did not start until after I had been meditating regularly for about two months. I suspect there is a link, which has been strengthened by eating natural, raw foods too.

  • I have 3 great things to help.

    1) I immediately think of 5 things for which I’m grateful. It could be the fact that I have legs for walking, eyes for seeing, my awesome dog, food on my table, a warm bed, etc. Being thankful is often the simple first step to happiness. Want something more hard core? Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

    2) And, speaking of dogs… pets are known for greatly helping with depression and for cheering up. Do you have a pet?

    3) Exercise is so empowering and that alone is great for the mind and spirit. But, not only that, exercise is proven to help with mood because of the endorphins released. They’re not called “feel good” for nothing :)

    Cheers, Kristen Suzanne



  • I listen to 80s music and sing along as loud as I can. Singing loudly (and with the wrong words!) is exhilarating and makes me laugh. I also listen to disco music and dance and sing. Music has never let me down.

    Making plans for something is a good picker upper. Organising a meet up with friends or a party.

  • ZoeZoe

    I like to allow myself to feel what I am feeling, to accept these negative feelings when they come up. Close the curtains, get under the duvet and let yourself feel sad, it is ok. We can feel under such pressure not to allow ourselves to feel sad, but sometimes if you just surrender to it for a while and don’t try to suppress it, it can lift off you quicker. I think it can be a very self loving, accepting thing to allow yourself to express and feel sadness and misery when it comes up. Writing it all down is helpful, spend 15 minutes ans write down everything that is in your head – uncensored, it can be a help to dump it all out and take a look at what is going on in there.

    Sometimes, I love to go for a walk on my own, something uplifting usually happens, a funny encounter with a sqirrel or a bird, you know that kind of thing ;)

    Then there is always that youtube video called Christian The Lion, have you seen it? :)

  • I think everyone’s suggestions are really great!

    Personally I think it’s OK to be sad from time to time. I then appreciate the times I feel happy even more.

    When living in SoCal, it was sunny almost all the time. There were times we really missed the change of seasons: a big snowfall, a cold cloudy day, maybe even some rain. I would take all the sunshine for granted sometimes. When we moved back to VT, it was so wonderful to have the change of seasons back. Sometimes the weather here in VT can be very extreme, cold with much precipitation in various forms. But after a few days of dark weather, the sunny days feel so glorious and euphoric. I love the contrasts. If I didn’t have a few dark dreary days once in a while, I might not appreciate the warm sunny days as much. Hope this doesn’t sound too corny or daft :-)

    So my 2 cents would be to allow yourself to experience and embrace any feelings of sadness and know they are only temporary. Happy times are always just around the corner.

    PS – we awoke to our first snowfall on the mountain today (Oct 22). Just an inch of snow and it’s even snowing here at work now.

  • swayzeswayze Raw Newbie

    Put the energy you are wasting on being sad into something productive. I’m sure you have some task(s) that you have been meaning to do for a while. Go and do it! I always feel terrific after getting stuff done, no matter how bad I felt before. :)

    Swayze :)

  • yes! feel sad then rejoice in something you enjoy…lately for me its good french wine and chocolate( peommoms raw brownies to be exact…took forever but taste devine!!!) ill get back to excersize and positivethinking in my own time meanwhile ill wallow a bit and indulge as i see fit!

    Joyce H i forwarding your email to my hubby he thinks im nuts for not appreciating the sun( that f*%#ing sun as i have been know to call it)...i honestly love rain and am desperate for it!! we are off to Or soon I hoep it pours down! grin

  • Most importantly don’t beat yourself up for being down, even that state can be and should be embraced. Be thankful for experiencing these feelings that come up, stay there, feel how it takes you down, deep down into the earth and how it grounds you…

    You are right Omshanti, and then get up and do the opposite, do something joyful, embrace your existence… paint, you’ve never painted before? Great! Go ahead and do it! Meditate, get some guided meditations, find your still point and you will experience beautiful things, answers will come to you.

    A wonderful mantra that pulls you very deep is, ‘I am connected to everything on its deepest level.’ Very powerful.

    Bundle up and go for a walk, no matter the weather, feel and hear the nature around you and in you. A firm 30 minute walk can be as effective as some depression drugs. Drink licorice tea and St.John’s wort tea, helps with depressions… 3 times daily one cup.

    What I do personally is meditating, healing and helping others, it also helps to make you feel better, any hot springs to dip into for half the day or a hut tub, riding my horses or just spending time with them or the dogs and cats, giving healing to the animals, very rewarding, painting, writing, write down 10 things you like about yourself, look into the mirror and say ‘I love you (name)’ for a few times per day. Your inner child will rejoice :)) Clean the house, change some furniture, throw things out and feel good about it. Then make a great raw dessert and sit down and indulge.

    Oh well, these I things I do and I just wrote what came to my mind… nurture yourself, get a massage or a different body treatment, write all the good things down in your life, everything you are grateful about, go volunteer, help someone, have a spa day at home and some hot cocoa, talk to a good friend on the phone to hear some lovely things about yourself :))

    Look at yourself and feel the love you have inside, for yourself and everything around you. Plants, yes plants are great too, get in touch with your surroundings on the deepest level, it feels great.

  • This cartoon makes me VERY happy. It’s entitled “Angst”, pretty ironic:) enjoy everyone!


  • Pray and turn the issue over to God, realizing His grace is ultimately what will get me through. Along with that I remind myself of things I am thankful for, I spend time with friends and go rock climbing (my favorite thing to do). I used to turn to comfort foods a lot, but Raw has helped out with that A LOT. I no longer jump in my car and head for the convenient store to grab a snack when things aren’t going well at work or I am bummed out.

  • If you are financially stressed, I’d say praying or saying the rosary can bring you calmness and ultimately lead you back to the right path.

    God created all the wonderful fruits and vegetables to keep your body healthy. A healthy body can help.

    Stay away from depressing situations or people. They will only bring you down.

  • Everybody has answered this, but also is very relaxing and comforting to read a good book.

  • i take off.

    • hahaha.. when ever i start to have a moment or thought filled with some kind of negative energy, I turn myself off and just go.


      camera, sweater, pen&paper, book, xtra socks = essentials


      most of the time, I end up on some hills, dancing. staring. and forgetting.

  • Sense I am walking along in this body together with the Lord I just ask Him where to go with it. Should I go with saddness for awhile? What is He wanting me to learn and be in it? Is it time to give back to others or nurture myself? If I get in a quiet place with Him the meaning and direction always comes into veiw and then it is all OK. Bless you Beany and I pray that it will turn into joy.

  • When I was in the earliest days of recovery from bulimia, I tried to busy myself, especially on weekends, with household tasks that had gone ignored for ages while I buried myself in my eating disorder. It got me through long stretches without letting myself hear the negative thoughts that I was so accustomed to. If I felt anxiety, frustration, anger, sadness, etc., I’d take a long walk and literally talk it out (in my mind). Many times, I’ve gotten things off my chest that would have otherwise burdened me and sent me into binge mode. Those first few weeks, I often cried because I felt so full after dinner and had such bad indigestion. My boyfriend did his best to listen to my irrational fears and comfort me, but he let me cry, which was helpful. I was embarrassed at the time, but grateful afterward. If something’s truly bothering you, let it out. Write it down, say it out loud (to a friend or to no one at all). When it’s all out of you, seek out the things that bring you enjoyment. Don’t just think about them. Go and do them.

  • ZaZa

    Bean, I used to be diagnosed Bipolar Type I, have been hospitalized, suicidal, the works, but curiously all my symptoms basically stopped when I quit medications and drastically changed my diet several years ago.

    I probably have this in common with most anyone who has mental illness in their past: there is nothing more terrifying to me than the prospect of losing control of my mind again, and that includes plain old, normal-sounding “negative thinking.” I remember how quickly and powerfully things have spun out of control in a terribly negative way and it all started with my just feeling slightly grumpy one day, slightly caustic, slightly cynical, but then fighting against it or else trying to ignore it, which I do not recommend under any circumstance. It helps if you can find something positive about your mindset, I think. It’s especially hard if you’re constantly surrounded by people who are all peace and love (hey not that I’m not!) and allergic to darkness. I got that feeling at the Raw Spirit Fest last year a bit, found it sadly artificial. Nobody has never been angry, sad, hopeless, indignant, jealous, fearful, resentful. It’s called being human. Those who really get to understand these emotions, by exploring their feelings when they feel this way, are more in touch with humanity. As a composer, I strive to write music that understands and explores all aspects of the human emotional spectrum, no matter how taboo or “ugly”, this way, I feel, more people will relate to it and feel validated; and validated-feeling angry people get less angry, and start fewer wars. That’s my contribution plan. But back to self-management:

    The first thing I now do when I’m feeling emotionally sub-par is isolate myself. If I don’t like myself, chances are my friends won’t either, I figure, and I don’t want to put the onus on anyone else whether or not I feel better later. I take a nap, or a bath, or go for a run, take a yoga class. I practically drag myself, like a mother to a spoiled child, since my self-destructive instinct in such times is often to treat myself poorly and ignore my real needs. Excercise is amazing. I’m a musician. I used to do anything to get out of any physical exertion that wasn’t violin-playing. But I have to say, there’s no better anti-depressant.

    Second best for me is immersing myself in some activity, no matter how mundane. Cutting out pictures from newspapers. Knitting. Organizing my closet. Cleaning my computer desktop. Preferably something productive, so afterwards I’ll feel good about having done it, and that will start an upwards spiral of “I can” feelings to counteract the earlier “I can’t” downwards spiral. Talking to animals is nice too, being in nature, going to the zoo, something to get me focused on something outside of myself.

    Third (and this is also in an order of decreasing severity, ie when I’m really depressed, I’ll put myself to sleep, take a bath, etc.) I’ll call a non-judgmental friend and right off the bat say “I’m feeling like crap,”, NOT try to sound normal and talk about the weather because inevitably I will sound like less than my usual exuberant self and they May take it as my having something against them… Sometimes they’ll be comforting, sometimes not, but at least it will have felt good to have told someone.

    Note: These days, I generally feel the beginnings of would-be depressions: 1) when I haven’t been getting enough sleep, exercise, and have been stressed out from work/school/life 2) the day after eating any form of cacao, or coffee (I drank some to help make my character super-edgy-angsty in a play last summer…that’s method-acting for you!) 3) 2-10 hours after eating more than 2 dates I have a scary blood-sugar spike then crash, sometimes to the point where I can barely move, then I feel really off-balance for about a day.

    Funny how because of my scary past, I’ve learned to self-manage extremely well to the point where most people say I’m the sanest person they’ve ever met. But no one is immune to upheavals, and this is what makes life as an earthling such a great adventure.

  • Love your answers, rosehebrew and LovefoodLaughter, bless you and thank you for sharing ((((()))))

  • I like what a lot of people have said, especially Kristen, Caleb, and LovefoodLaughter. For me, being happy is all about being grateful, and my gratitude is best expressed in my being helpful to others. Activity is key for me, and if I am feeling down and can immerse myself in an activity, specifically one aimed at helping someone else. For me, it doesn’t have to be something explicit like volunteer work, necessarily, but something as simple as thinking of the people in my life and what I could do to be helpful to them, and then doing it, will with few exceptions get my mind off of myself and into a healthier state. For instance, last weekend when I was bored and feeling down, I thought of a friend I had not talked to or seen in a while and made her a cd and sent her a card—it was a simple activity and did not take much time, but it allowed me to focus my energy toward something productive and gave me the rewarding feeling of doing something nice for someone else. Afterward, my negative feelings were gone, and not in a superficial way, but from their root; I have been told that pain is necessary but misery is optional, and I tend to believe it.

    Also, cleaning my place usually leaves me feeling renewed and acts as a literal clean start for me—I would love to heard what other people do to overcome feelings of unhappiness and self-doubt.

  • Why is that that in our society it is so looked down upon to be sad? I mean, if you were not ever sad would you not ever be happy? I really hate that people make you feel guilty for feeling sad. I mean, isn’t it bad enough you feel sad but now you got to feel bad about feeling sad? Ugh!

    And than they want you to go and “correct it” with medicines and counseling? double ugh! (not that psychiatrists can’t be helpful in certain situations but honestly when you are sad people start thinking you need therapy or something)

    I agree with Zoe – just feel it if you really need too. Sometimes I just really need to just hide under those covers and cry until I can’t cry anymore.

    But you want to be cheered up here are some things that work for me sometimes:

    1. Pets – I love my 3 kitties. Nothing like a warm fuzzball to soothe you. I like the fact that they just sit there with me and don’t try to talk me out of being sad.

    2. Watch something like a movie or show that you know will make you smile and laugh. I like to watch Frasier reruns. :)

    I love that Kitty dance video that you can watch on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQoNkYhnhJ8M

    Maybe you gotta be a cat person to laugh at it but I can’t help it. My bf thinks it is ridiuclous though even though he loves cats. It is just so goofy I can’t help but like it!

    3. Have some good food that you love and don’t feel guilty about eating it.

    4. I read something or watch a program about people who have it SO much worse than me. How can I feel depressed when I am really doing OK and my life isn’t as horrible as some others have it? than I think “Boy my life is paradise compared to that person”.

    Zoe had recommended the Louise Hay book “The Power is within You” to me a while back and it is honestly so helpful. It really helps you with thought changing. I admit I go back and forth and I don’t keep up with my positive thinking but I have years upon years of negativity to fight against.

    My big worries that depress me right now are financial – I grew up with parents who were negative thinkers and worriers about money so I think about it more that I should (not to mention the fact I am not good with my money which is something I never learned which doesn’t help). But The world is so screwed up right now though that I am honestly to the point where I am just accepting the fact that I may never be at peace with it and so what if I have to declare bankruptcy some day – It won’t kill me will it? :) I can still live OK. As long as I have my kitties and friends – those are the most important things to me. Thinking things like this seems to soothe me to some degree on occassions.

    Sorry I babbled a bit but that just giving an example of how I am trying to change my worrying, depressing ways of thinking – It is a hard habit to overcome. I know from experience. Just keep trying.

    I also agree with Benny about cleaning -I hate it when my place is messy – not that i like to clean but I always feel cozier and better when the place is nice and neat and clean.

    Like lovefoodlaughter was saying – those people who claim they have never been angry, sad, hopeless, indignant, jealous, fearful, resentful – I have a really hard time believing that – there is no way it could be true. EVERYONE has to have felt like that at some point in there lives. I feel that people who say that are covering something up and don’t want others to know that they have ever had a screwed up life. You know honestly, the majority of the raw foodies I meet are people who had really screwed up lives before going raw – people with addictions (particulary drugs that make you feel good) seem to be attract to raw. I met alot of them – they were definately screwed up at one point but yeah, now they seem to be “perfect” – don’t worry their not.

    Make me feel alot better about myself.

  • Oh my gosh… this is amazing. Thank you, everyone who’s posting. I have a hard time uplifting myself once I’ve started the negative thinking, and I have a few tricks, but I’m definitely going to be trying some of these things. 1sweetpea and LovefoodLaughter- thank you for being so honest. I have a bit of an issue admitting thing to myself, and reading about experiences so similar to my own really helps. All of the things you’ve both said are so true. I like hearing about people doing so well for themselves, it motivates me to be the same way. I agree with those of you who’ve said sometimes you just need to be ok with being sad for a bit, but it’s when the “bit” stretches out that it gets scary. queenfluff- no one should be looked down on for being sad, you’re absolutely right. (Hugs should be way more common)... and as for your worries- it’s all anyone can do to keep trying. Sometimes the only thing that works for me is to just keep believing, as stubbornly as I can, that eventually I’ll feel better. It seems like knowing something good is waiting makes the not-good something that you can simply wait out- it’s easier to have patience with something if you know it’ll go away eventually. One thing I have found- has anyone ever heard of the “free hugs” campaign? Incredibly uplifting. I cry when I watch the video, but it’s more like “there really are good people out there” tears of happiness. Here’s the link- we should have those kinds of things everywhere. Can you imagine how much better off everyone would be if people who needed hugs just got them?


  • I had a few years, well actually about 8 years that were just a roller coaster ride of one disaster after another.

    Miscarriage, victim of attempted rape and assult & court cases that followed, newborn death, pulmonary embolism, 6 heart attacks, aneurysm, legal battle (that took 3yrs & cost $70k), had an ex-boyfriend commit suicide a week or so after ringing to see if I would leave Hubby for him.

    I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things here :-)

    I used to be like a cartoon character that had a black cloud over my head, I was very depressed and suicidal and figured I would die any day if not by a heart attack but by my own hand.

    I’m not sure what changed exactly, maybe a combination of diet and attitude but I decided one day that I wasn’t going to let life get me down anymore…I took up playing the fiddle (I used to play as a kid), started gardening, learning the banjo, took up Irish dancing with my daughter, started studying Naturopathy. I am quite determined to live life to the fullest and enjoy every minute I possibly can. I am an ex-christian now agnostic and believe that if this life is all there is then I am going to make the most of it.

    The disasters haven’t stopped happening around me…my daughter broke her back, father had stroke, daughter bitten by snake (we have the worst snakes in Australia), car accident, father died.

    But now I try to make the most of whatever situation I am in rather than letting it all get on top of me.

    Sing, Dance, Play, Laugh, Love and find any excuse to be silly :-) My 13yr old daughter and I can often be seen Irish skipping down a busy street just for fun, laughing and smiling. My daughter asked me only yesterday why other families don’t seem to have as much fun as ours. I believe there are enough miserable people in the world without me joining their ranks.

    I am an eternal pessimist and always happy. An optimist is disappointed everytime something goes wrong. A pessimist expects everything to go wrong and gets a pleasant surprise when things go right and is never disappointed when things go wrong as it was expected all along :-)

    That’s my theory anyway!

  • “Activity is key for me, and if I am feeling down and can immerse myself in an activity, specifically one aimed at helping someone else”

    Benny, I really agree with this. It has been the advice I have been given a lot lately to help get over an ex-gf. It’s good to take the focus off yourself and serve others. I think it’s the best way to overcome being down about loosing somebody because you stop thinking about yourself and focus on others.

  • Feelings are really important sensory signals that let us know when our needs are (or are not) getting met. If you are feeling down, you might find it helps to ask yourself a few questions. Is it fear, anger, sadness, etc? All of those things come from really different places, but they all feel ‘down’. I’m learning to figure out exactly what I’m feeling and then trace it to something I need that I’m not getting.

    For instance, tonight, I feel angry and hurt because a dear friend hasn’t responded to a letter, and I keep telling myself that he is rejecting me. I feel hurt because I need connection and acceptance. So, now I’ve got to figure out how to get those needs met even if I never hear from my friend again….it’s all very useful, if not pleasant-feeling.

    Each emotion on each separate occasion has a different reason, so I can’t prescribe a cure-all other than awareness.

  • Wow, Cares… you must be quite a strong person. That’s a lot of experience for one person to have, and I’m glad you turned out so wonderful! You sound like exactly the kind of person people describe as “unbeatable.” I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the fiddle. Is it hard to learn? (random question, I know!)

    Caleb- absolutely right! I actually find that when I’m deepest in homework (student, still) I’m the least likely to get bummed about anything. I hope you feel better about your ex!

    WailingWoman, it could just be because he needs a bit of time to think. Or possibly the letter went astray somehow? Keep hope, if you don’t know for sure. Worrying would be silly if nothing’s wrong- you don’t deserve to be miserable over a “maybe.”

  • Hi Bean,

    The fiddle isn’t to hard to learn, but be prepared to sound horrible for a while but it is soooo damb exciting to learn your first tune even if it is only Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. When you get a little better it can be somewhat of an addiction…I regularly stay up until 1-2am (when Hubby is away working) learning a new tune, I just can’t put it down it is way to much fun to bother sleeping :-) It is a good thing my kids have learnt to sleep through all the noise…I am guilty of really pumping up the stereo and playing really, really loud. But then my son is learning the bagpipes so I am probably quiet in comparison :-)

  • Lots and lots of s…..sweets! Just kidding, yes even raw food fans can occasionally get sad, even though we don’t eat sad diet, get it? ha ha see raw food jokes funny makes you laugh! Try to laugh a lot then you won’t have time to be sad, prayer does kinda work, lots of Yoga, be so busy you can’t or won’t be sad. Some use maca, some use raw chocolate, be around someone goofy and funny, watch a comedy. Make someone tickle you! Excercise helps, try not to be alone that can bring on moody feelings. I also try to be grateful for all the blessings I have. I try not to make my happiness depend on other people or relationships because that can set you up for dissapointment or people may be fickle, play games, love you want moment and hate you the next. So try to be happy from within and all the time, it becomes a habit. Also I notice sometimes other people who are not too happy or bummed out they will try to make you the same don’t let them, and try not to watch tv or read newspapers that can make people chronically sad or depressed I see that a lot, also try not to use cell phones I see more and more people get more snappy and moody from all that radiation to their mood center= brain and they don’t even know how bad they are affected by it! Eat more fruit that will help, I hope my ideas helped, sometimes I go see a movie that helps too!

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