Happy Haven with Brandi-Ann Uyemura

{flickr photo by: Tavallai}

When you’re in a good mood, you can almost be around anyone. Tackling your negative aunt or your pessimistic brother doesn’t seem that much of a feat. When you’re feeling good, you can shrug your shoulders, wave away their sour puss attitude and easily go on with your life.

But that’s on a good day.

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, the energy it takes to combat energy draining loved ones can pull you down further into depression. It can steal away any hope of crawling out of that deep, dark hell of a hole. And it can take you that much longer to heal yourself.

If you’re feeling blue, having a bad day, or just don’t feel like yourself, make sure to avoid the following people at all costs.

  1. The attention seeker. The attention seeker thrives on your admiration and attention. Maybe they didn’t get their needs met as a kid so they spend their entire lives making up for that. On a good day, you may be able to serve up compliments and validation on a platter. But when you’re feeling down yourself, giving anyone oodles of attention is draining and near impossible.
  2. The pessimist. If you’re already on the edge of feeling depressed, stay away from a pessimist at all costs. They’ll only drive you in deeper. They’ll remind you why there really is nothing to live for, why life is truly hopeless and nothing will ever get better. And they’ll be certain of it.
  3. The narcissist. If you need empathy, compassion or a sympathetic ear, don’t turn to a narcissist. They’ll find your rant threatening. After all if you’re feeling down, who will listen to them?

We all have people in our lives like the three above. The point isn’t to be angry or blame them for our current mood. The truth is we all exhibit some traits of the three above.

But when you’re feeling low, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Kindly give them a hug, tell them you’ll call when you’re feeling better and then contact your other friends-the ones that will cheer you up, but who will also support you and be there with you when you’re down.

There are all kinds of people in this life. And we’re all far from perfect. But when we’re not feeling our best, we’re not serving others or ourselves. And while you might feel selfish in doing so, know that minimizing your time with the people above at least until you’re feeling better is not just good for you, it’s better for them.

There have been many times in my life when I was surrounded by a multitude of friendships. And equally times when I have felt alone. What I realized is that it’s often not the quantity of friendships you have that support and lift you up. But the quality ones. The people that genuinely care about your health, your well-being, your sanity. The more time you spend with positive people, the more you begin to feel positive about yourself.

But what do you do if you’re at a place in your life where you don’t have a lot of support? Maybe you recently moved or your 2012 goal was to remake your life and in doing so you’ve had to let go of those who previously weighed you down. It may feel scary to venture out alone. But there are things you can do now while you’re working to rebuild your social network.


Go On a Positivity Fest
Once I fall into the pit of “woe is me,” it is very difficult to climb out. Instead I’ve learned ways to keep the good feelings flowing by celebrating with a positivity fest. Since I was a child, I’ve kept a journal. As I got older, I used it to catalog my fears, dislikes and joyful moments and also uplifting quotes of people I admired from things I read or saw on TV. I spent the majority of my adolescence in a library glued to the self-help section. All those quotes were like rays of shine for me during a few of the darkest years of my life. They were my teachers, role models and mentors. Dead or alive, whether I’ve met them or not, their words left an imprint on my soul and all went straight into my book.

Today, I still use a journal to catalog moments of inspiration and hope. Why? Well I know how tempting it is to indulge in a bad mood. Ever watch the evening news or listen to sad moody music? It’s a quick way to fall into a downward spiral of negativity. A lot of people get addicted to the negative emotions garnered by TV and they grasp onto them filling their pot with more negativity. Instead, I choose uplifting music, videos, positive poems, quotes, and biographies of inspiring people to breed hope. It’s all a part of my tool box.

The thing is we can choose how we want to live our lives. And if consistent negative thoughts can breed sadness and depression, then there is potential for positive thoughts to not just influence our mood, but empower our lives.