Mental Health: How to Pull Yourself Out of a Rut in Five Minutes

There’s nothing quite as healing as a belly laugh. This is not an every day laugh. This isn’t even a weekly laugh. I’m talking sore abdomen, no sound coming out, tears, falling on the floor, and peeing a little. It’s such a gift. Not peeing a little, that sucks. But a laugh that intense is awesome. It’s a treasure you should hang onto.

So, Rick and I have this jar tucked away. Anytime something happens where we laugh uncontrollably, we write it down and shove it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we opened it up and read all of the ridiculous things we’d noted throughout the year and died laughing all over again. We’ve been bad about it this year and last, but 2018 was one for the books, let me tell you. Highly recommend.

This doesn’t have to be a spousal activity at all. My initial idea was for it to be a solo activity to help heal myself when I needed it most, and Rick organically became a part of it because, well, he’s in my house all the time.

So, the types of things to preserve are twofold: stuff that makes you cry laughing, and stuff that people said or did that made you feel good about yourself. For example, my junior year of high school I had an assignment that required us to write positive things about everyone in the class. We gave each other the strips of notebook paper and strung each of our compliment collections together with a piece of yarn. I kept that thing for years. That happened 16 years ago and I still remember it! Somebody liked my hair, and someone else thought I was kind. Someone else thought I was “the most hilarious person in class,” a big deal in a Texas high school where girls are socially bullied to mute their personalities in order to let the boys peacock and shine. But, that’s another post for another day.

Taking a minute or two to put all of these things into one place, whether it be a box, jar, or in the notes or photo section of your phone, is an invaluable use of your time. When you’re in the dumps, you’ll remember the time your family friend told you were exuded a glow both inside and out. You’ll remember the time you forced your husband to go to the ER because you were worried about the pain in their abdomen, and while everything ended up being fine a guy behind the curtain next door was repetitive, demanding, and loud, and when he was told for the millionth time that no, he couldn’t leave the hospital right then, he exclaimed “EVAH?!” in a panicked Long Island accent. Obviously the staff did not mean he couldn’t leave ever. It was just an absurd, bodiless conversation that made us cry laughing. Crying laughing sucks when you’re at the ER for a dull pain in your abdomen, but it was so good it was worth it. It made it into the jar.

When you’re balanced, “okay,” or however you like to describe your mentally average days, it’s great to take steps to help your future self. By presupposing your lows- not a self-fulfilling prophecy, but a familiarity with one’s own body and mind- you can invest in yourself. It’s an emotional reserve of laughter and kindness. Give it a try…

this will be you
Photo by Marcela Rogante


P.S. My piece “Mourning the Living” was published in Volume 14 of Meat for Tea: The Valley Review. To support a writers and an indie publication, buy a copy here.

Wednesday posts cover something that’s top of mind for me that week and are written in a short period of time. This means that editing is not strong. While it’s not my best work, it is my best, unfiltered thought.

More on Bummed Out Bailey:
Mental Health: The Social Toll of Invisible Illness
Mental Health: The Danger of Comparative Suffering
Mental Health: One Good Thing About Depression (A Listicle)

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Here’s a boating golden to look at.

Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom

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