Though I am not depressed in the clinical sense of the word, at least I don’t think the diagnosis would apply to me, from time to time I feel depressed or should I say – blue. As a woman, I usually feel like crying at least once a month, and as a human being – whenever someone hurts my feeling or the world feels like a very cruel place. The good news is, there are simple things that can alleviate our pain, and I’ve discovered some of them.
Art is Not Just Some Pretty Pointless Pastime
Many people consider art just some ornament in our lives. OK, it can be entertaining, too, but they don’t see it as a necessary ingredient that can sometimes even be life-saving. I know people from different countries who stayed sane after wars in their country only thanks to books they practically devoured, while bombs and shootings roared in the background. I know people whose day becomes bright after they hear a certain song. The moment I hear happy sounds of the music of the 80’s, my soul starts dancing.
Wisdom in the Eternal Words of Art
Whenever bad mood takes a hold of me, I resort to the comforting world of art. Even if I’d rather lie curled up under a blanket and not move, I usually make an effort because I know I won’t regret it. I make myself get up and put on some soothing music, or get a nice book of poetry, watch the latest movie by my favorite director, or sometimes I even get dressed and go to see an art exhibition. Here’s what art can do for us:
From all art forms, music has the most immediate effect on us. It’s considered the most abstract, too. Whether you like to listen to rock’ n’ roll, classical, blues or hip hop, music communicates with our body on an emotional level. It’s a passionate conversation that liberates us. The way I react to music is by singing along, dancing to it (in the kitchen, while I’m cleaning my apartment) or I just close my eyes and let it fall over me.
Have a music player near your bed, and when you wake up in the morning already sad, just hit “play” and you’ll feel better.
Literature educates, entertains, makes us think, teaches us about life and the nature of humankind. Nothing like a good book that really talks to us can point us in the right direction when we need guidance. When we’re down, curling up with a good book is a very good way to empower oneself and return to life with a feeling of being wiser.
Some people prefer self-help books when they’re feeling down. Sometimes they work for me to, but for advice I rather read blogs, magazines and shorter pieces. When it comes to books, it has to be quality stuff that speaks to my mind and my soul.
When I’m sad, I read books that make me laugh, like stories by Lorrie Moore, George Saunders, Woody Allen, or sci-fi plots so removed from our world that I forget about my problems at least for a while. Powerful poetry gives me perspective on things (myself, my relationships, what’s important in life), and so do essays by interesting writers.
3. Movies and the Visual Arts
Visual arts talk to us differently from books and songs. Paintings can soothe us, help us come to terms with some problem in our lives, or they can inspire us to start creating work of art ourselves. When I can’t concentrate on a book, I usually start drawing or painting and that activity can be so stress-relieving.
Movies are usually a more literal form of art, where much is explained directly through dialogue, people’s facial expression, music in the background, etc. Good movies, of course, let us think and wonder about them, and give us an insight into our own soul.
Get Inspired Yourself
These “hobbies”, as some call them, are much more powerful than we are aware. Quality and inspirational works of art have to move us one way or another. They have to change us. They also have a great way of distracting us from our own worries and show us a broader picture of the situation.
To summarize, I think books, movies and music are amazing mood boosters. Need a problem solver? Need a shoulder to cry on? Have a song, or a book. It’s better than almost any shoulder I know.
How about you? What can bring you up from the dead?
About the Author
Allison Moody is the happiest when reading, writing, painting or dancing. Her work currently consists of promoting her online application, Labeley – a free tool for designing beverage labels.