10 Ways to Find the Upside of Feeling Down
Feeling bad about feeling sad makes it worse.
Everyone knows happiness is better than sadness. Happiness prevents the flu, enriches relationships, cures dandruff, and prolongs life.
No one aspires to live a long unhappy life. But, leaders are better off listening when the black dog stirs. Some happiness prolongs problems by masking sadness.
(This article is not about depression.)
Down side of feeling up:
- Less creative.
- More selfish.
- Worse at defending opinions.
- Easier to deceive.
Feeling pain makes you seek a cure. Happiness is a hindrance when tough issues are ignored.
Upside of feeling down:
- Freedom from the need to be right.
- Course adjustment.
- Giving up.
- Prolonged isolation.
- Lost resolve.
- Solve sorrow. Leaders who feel down don’t need medication or escape. Sadness is normal. Leadership isn’t Disneyland.
- Accept easy answers. They’re belittling and condescending.
- Feel sad that you feel sad. Self-pity is helplessness and self-rejection. Find strength to accept your sadness.
The upside of feeling down arrives when dissatisfaction inspires action.
10 ways to find the upside of being down:
- Give yourself a break.
- Clarify what you want. Stick your head above the water and ask, “Where do I really want to go?”
- Explore what isn’t working. Stare down the black dog. Don’t ignore him.
- Develop alternatives. The emphasis is on several. Don’t jump on the first option. Take your time. Mull things over.
- Connect and converse with experienced people. (The pivotal point.)
- Choose a path forward.
- Choose action. Thinking without doing pulls down.
- Evaluate progress. Be brutal. Keep what works. Throw out the rest.
- Celebrate progress.
- Set new goals.
What do you do when you feel down?
How do you come alongside those who feel down?
Cures DANDRUFF Dan? Really!? haha
I’m going to need to google this one! (grins)
I like where you are going with this one Dan. When we can QUIT having to defend or deny when we feel ‘down’ then we can get busy paying attention to WHAT ‘feeling down’ is trying to tell us.
As a culture/society, we have a TON of false beliefs surrounding this subject. Including the belief that if we are unhappy, we have no RIGHT but to endure it. We don’t have the RIGHT to change course. Be it a job change OR a relationship change.
Important note on the latter. I’m NOT advocating mindlessly tossing away relationships at the drop of a hat or the 1st sign of a problem. I’m not that fickle and never have been. (after all, I’m 45 and I’ve only been married once and widowed for a decade now!)
I AM suggesting and have enough experience in life to know that what we don’t change, we allow. We too often settle for dysfunction in our relationships…we settle for things that aren’t working anymore because PEOPLE do change. Or maybe they stay the same but YOU change…and can no longer handle the dysfunction that you once did. etc.
Tons of reasons. So often people cling to the false beliefs like we need to be martyrs instead of being able to have an honest conversation that says…I care but I’m not happy with this. Are YOU happy? If you aren’t happy either, can we fix this? Or is it TIME to move on? Will we thrive better apart at this juncture?
If we aren’t thriving together, it may be time to be apart. And people can do that with a great deal of love and maturity.
This applies to ANY relationship, be they at work, in our friendships, marriages etc.
Anyway, love is the ultimate goal, isn’t’ it? Sometimes love has nothing to do with staying where things aren’t working.
That’s more of a general hypothetical question for myself and the world. Not for you personally Dan. I know it can be too challenging of a question depending on belief systems, etc.
Thanks for inspiring the ‘thought journey’ Dan. : )
Thanks Samantha. “I AM suggesting and have enough experience in life to know that what we don’t change, we allow.” — KaPOW
The Catholic church has a unique view of ‘joy’. Joy is not just happiness or feeling good but being able to see the good or seeing past the bad – even in times of sorrow. Sorrow is part of joy – not separate from it.
Thanks Jon. I’ve read that joy and happiness aren’t the same thing. It’s a challenge to get your head around that.
I will keep this post and use with some groups, some people, and within myself. I often view sadness as a good place to visit, but not a place to live.
Coming along sadness can often just be our presence and acknowledgment that we care.
Thanks Scott. “sadness as a good place to visit, but not a place to live.” Oh YEAH!
I’m with Samantha on the dandruff, Dan.
These are really important thoughts and rather timely. I have had to make several course corrections over the past year and could easily have allowed the “bad sad” in. Your list gives me a few more good tools to use.
I can see it now. New commercial saying…’Don’t get Head and Shoulders….Get HAPPY!’
Thanks Steven. By the look of your profile picture, dandruff is the least of your concerns. 🙂
Best for the journey
Important post, Dan. Most good coaches of sports teams, for example, can lead winning teams. Great coaches can take their teams when they are “down” and bring them “up” to win. It’s human for all of us to get emotionally down, to feel blue, and to experience sadness. The quick answer is that we are either anchored by thoughts of the past (as in depression), or stymied by thoughts about the future (as in anxiety). When we focus on the present, we free ourselves to
believe we can win today…and we usually can and do.
Thanks Books. I really enjoy your directional approach … looking to the past … the future… or the present. Life is simpler when we stick with today.
“Don’t feel sad about feeling sad”. This is easy to forget and a blurry line. When I was in early college days (you know those sit around with your friends and solve the mysteries of the world days) a friend and I coined the term “Oscar Meyeroia” to describe this exact sensation. The reason being you’ve gone from being sad to being a “weiner head” or “full of bologna”. Sadness can be beautiful in it’s purist form. Thanks for the reminder Dan. 🙂
Thanks Steven… got me laughing on that one. “Wiener head” == golden!!
there’s lots of reasons to do a job, and lots of reasons to leave – sometimes those feelings are an internal signal that it’s time to change.
Thanks Billgncs. Sadness usually signals a need for change.
Like that Samantha
I understand that sadness is a normal part of life. But I would like to caution that our careers should not be one long string of sad times. If you can’t take joy from your success, the success of your people and the success of your initiatives, you are probably in the wrong role.
Sadness does come, and when it comes along I whole-heartedly agree with your blog. But I am also a firm believer that people who can’t eventually deal with their sadness and experience some degree of joy will continue to struggle.
Thanks Dan. I was hoping someone would jump in to remind us all that persistent sadness is a problem, not a good thing. Cheers
I believe leadership is not walking blindly. It is sacrificing your pride and going before those who believe in you to discover or create a path of success. This does include having a balance of priorities. What I have found about myself is that with my ambitions i seek to accomplish my goals or goal for the day and then include everything else throughout the day as an accessory. After talking with my family and some self assessment what has helped me is sectioning off time to do what my goal is for the day. Be it posting a new video to my website or writing a new blog. It is all about giving it a time and then writing it down on a calendar so I can see how far along my goal as brought me. I recommend to all who read this:
Write down what you want to get done.
Have someone hold you accountable, by simply sharing with them what you want to do.
Set a reminded in you phone or with a note somewhere
After it is done check it off – this is a reward in the long run
Review what you have done and be proud that you’ve done it!
Thanks Dan. I’ve emerged from discouragement many times along the lines you describe. It usually begins by getting my focus off the problem, and myself, going for a walk, talking with others, and getting my eyes back on the central beliefs of my faith. I also benefit from a wife who reminds me “this too will pass.”
Thanks Mark. Rising above often includes stepping out of ourselves.
“Leadership isn’t Disneyland” – another quality quip! This was powerful and fully engaged my attention. Thank you for the points to ponder around ‘the upsides of feeling down’ – they are challenging and thought-provoking. I look forward to sharing with others.
Thanks Jeri. It’s a pleasure to be of service. Best for the journey.
Sadness can be a tool to become creative at work and find more ways on how to handle a situation. Sure, I can’t have what I want from the powers that saddens me but doesn’t dampens the soul. Abraham Lincoln was a great leader with “sadness” problem. I’d say connect and converse with positive people.
Yes we appreciate your service, a one stop shop to open the mind for a journey which we know a s leadership through Life! Cheers
When I feel down, I shove that problem way back into my subconscious and ignore it. But it pops back at the most inconvenient times.
After many happy years of teaching, my class this term has been the hardest ever. In addition to the Ground-Hog Day grind of teaching (plan, teach, assess, repeat – half of which is done at home in my own unpaid time), my class has damaged students and unsupportive parents. Even one more day with them is hard to accept and I have decided it is finally time to hang up my whistle. The depression I have felt has been low enough to push me towards change, and with a baby on the way, now is the perfect time. I absolutely believe that if I was happy, that I would not take this risk – to do what I truly want to do on a daily basis. I’m lucky that having our baby has already led us to put financial plans in place, and my husband is completely supportive in my creative endeavours. I know that not everyone can be as lucky as me – I only have 30 days of misery left- but I have been creating joyfully for almost a year – I guess preparing for this moment when I am brave enough to recognise that happiness is more important than safety. Loved this post – it really connected with me.