So, I thought about it, and I realized the link yesterday might not be "user-friendly" to the "gimme a hug" crowd.
I think it's behavioralist factors that makes things like that cheer me up more than any hug or LOLcat.
I don't have a problem with the "gimme a hug" crowd. (Gonna do it...) Some of my best friends are members of the "gimme a hug" crowd. (Oh! She did it.)
But I was raised to, well, "suck it up." In fact, the "gimme a hug" culture creeps me out. For one thing, it seems like every time I stub my emotional toe people act like it's funeral rather than what it really is: a mood that will pass. (I am a moody person.)
That makes me feel worse because it makes a little thing seem like a huge thing that will never end.
Things I am genuinely freaked about include things like my personal relationships, my future job prospects, and, in general, the way I see my generation and culture evolving.
But a lot of that will either get better with time (such as my future job prospects) or is something I can't help (like changes in culture.)
Now, I've seen what happens to people who get in a mood and don't shake it off. Two big ones are drug addiction and alcoholism, but I've been through three suicides as well. I also don't believe in medication unless it's to cure an immediate problem, such as a sleep disorder. (BTW, Melatonin is great. All natural, used it a few nights ago because I was having trouble sleeping for the last two weeks and it kicked the legs out from under the insomina. Ahhh!)
So, what CAN be done to improve long-term mood? Well, for one thing, hang around happy healthy people. It's catching, it really is. I've been, um, dodging my death penalty group for a little bit because my personal life is making me incapable of hanging out with the Perpetual Victims Club.
(Like I said, if that's what you're into, fine. Everybody's just trying to get from this side of the grave to the next and seeking to find pleasure and avoid pain while they're at it. If the Perpetual Victims Club helps you do that, go for it. Not my thing. Tried Al-Anon - the support group for family of alcoholics - and couldn't handle it because Perpetual Victims Club is not my cup of tea. Church is better: same message, many of the same problems among people, but at church it's about God, not victimhood.)
So, I'm a big fan of the psychological school of "psychodynamics," and I thought, what do they have to offer in the way of advice?
The best advice I found was "sublimation": shaking off the bad in various indirect ways. Some of the best ones are listed here under Level 4 Defense Mechanisms (mature or healthy defense mechanisms), and I try to use them as much as possible:
- Altruism: Constructive service to others that brings pleasure and personal satisfaction.
- Anticipation: Realistic planning for future discomfort.
- Humor: Overt expression of ideas and feelings (especially those that are unpleasant to focus on or too terrible to talk about) that gives pleasure to others. The thoughts retain a portion of their innate distress, but they are "skirted round" by witticism, for example Self-deprecation. (Note: Thank you, Monty Python and The Oatmeal, for existing!!!)
- Identification: The unconscious modelling of one's self upon another person's character and behavior.
- Introjection: Identifying with some idea or object so deeply that it becomes a part of that person.
- Sublimation: Transformation of negative emotions or instincts into positive actions, behavior, or emotion.
- Thought suppression: The conscious process of pushing thoughts into the preconscious; the conscious decision to delay paying attention to an emotion or need in order to cope with the present reality; making it possible to later access uncomfortable or distressing emotions whilst accepting them.