Beating the Doldrums

P1050957Put a little wind in your sails…

The dreaded doldrums. We’ve all been there—feeling stagnant or stuck, down and out or depressed.

Did you know that that word doldrums also describes an area of the world just north of the equator where the trade winds meet. It’s a place that can be either very calm or have very severe weather. In the still weather, with no wind, the progress of sailors can be delayed for days or weeks—sending captain and crew into the doldrums.

Whereas those sailors can do little but wait, fortunately we can do something about our own case of the boring doldrums. That’s especially true if you just don’t have a clue why you’re in a slump.

Of course, I’m not saying there is, or should be, a quick fix for the deep problems that throw us into a funk. But sometimes when we’re feeling gloomy or down or uninspired, it’s just a matter of giving ourselves a little self-prescribed kick in the pants. And it’s often completely counterintuitive. Here’s what I mean:

If you have a serious job with lots of responsibilities, push yourself to be playful. Go take a break where there are lots of children. Play some games. Watch a kid’s movie and let yourself laugh.

If you are constantly around a lot of people, schedule a solitude date—with yourself, by yourself—in a quiet place.

If you tend to sit a lot (in front of a desk or the TV), force yourself to move. Take your friend up on their invitation for a free guest pass to their zumba class at the gym. Or just turn on your favorite radio station and dance your heart out.

Lost your taste for life? Tickle your taste buds. Treat yourself to a totally different kind of food than you normally eat. Try some Indian tikka masala or a Thai curry (grocery stores often have jars of premade ethnic sauces, so it’s not hard to do).

If you’re a literature enthusiast, pick up a copy of Popular Science or Field and Stream. Soak your brain in something entirely new—something that is the very opposite of what you are habitually attracted to.

You get the idea.

If you want to sail out of the doldrums—or even to stimulate your creativity during a dry spell—you need to give yourself a jump-start. You have to jump out of the molds you find yourself in day after day, night after night. You have to get yourself into a new groove.

When you’re in the doldrums, you have to be daring.

Put some wind in your sails by choosing to do something completely different today. What will it be?

For your inspiration:
Here’s some advice on getting unstuck from the ever-wise Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nature abhors the old. . . . In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten; the coming only is sacred. Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. . . . People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

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Categories: Daily Challenges, Getting Unstuck, Inspired Living, Working with Paradox

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