Remembering the Basics


  When my clients are down, I notice that they often forget the basics. They’re often searching and searching for the ‘reasons why’ they’re not feeling right. And in the search for ‘why’ they overlook some really basic things that help.

First, it often isn’t the ‘why’ that solves the problem. It can sometimes help to know the root cause of things. If you can do something about the cause, that can be useful. If there are dietary changes that need to be made, then you can make them. If there are apologies that need to me made, you can make them.

A lot of times, though, we cannot do something about the cause of why were down. If, for example, we need to forgive someone, but we just cannot get rid of a grudge, we have to find gentleness, for ourselves and others. This is where the 12-step Serenity Prayer can be useful:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The main thing that my clients forget to do that ACTUALLY they can do something about is take simple steps to take care. The most important is sleep. We often forget how rejuvenating 6-8 hours of sleep can be. Rest is another form of rejuvenation. Oh yeah, and then there’s that really, really basic thing that we HAVE to do but often forget, eat. Just sitting down and enjoying 2 or 3 nutritious meals a day can be very healing. Oh, yes, then there’s the bit about meditation or prayer. Whatever that is to you, it’s really helpful to connect inward. Whatever form of meditation or prayer that you use, this can often be the most significant source of healing when we’re down.

Then there are things that are just additive:

  1. Going to a yoga class can be extremely helpful. Moving the body, stretching, and connecting with group support and the support of a good teacher can help a lot.
  2. Getting acupuncture can also be helpful because it increases serotonin and endorphins in the brain. These neurotransmitters are known to boost the mood
  3. Spending time with a good friend who can really listen to you can also be extremely healing. You may have a friend who is a great listener, and if you don’t it can be very helpful to hire a professional, like a coach or a psychologist.
  4. Herbal medicine and homeopathy are very, very useful mood enhancers. Saint John’s Wort, for example has been shown to be just as effective as SSRI’s but without the side effects. You can find it at an health food store. A good herbalist can help find just the right medicine that is specific for your needs.
  5. Connecting with nature is extremely healing. Why that is is a mystery, but it is just a known fact that getting out into nature just FEELS GOOD.

When it really boils down to it, though, good sleep, some relaxation, and solid eating can make a world of difference when we have the blues. Instead of getting lost into trying to figure out why you’re down, when you are, why not just commit to taking care of the basics and see what happens.