Feeling blue. And why that is OK too

It seems we are made to believe that confidence and feeling happy and contented are things that are or must be part of us. That that is who we are or who we are not. The question “are you happy” is asked so frequently, that it may give the impression that we must strive for continuous happiness.

But this is nonsense of course. No one is always either confident or happy, or content - and neither is anyone always lacking confidence, or always being discontent, or unhappy. These ‘states of being’ are not our characteristics; they are like moods. And as moods, they can come and go.

Let’s examine confidence. Is confidence a bulletproof ‘state’ or can confident people also be unconfident in certain situations and vice versa; can those who lack confidence be confident when doing things they love or are good at?

Very few people are confident in all situations. Often, when people are out of their comfort zones, which may be their family, their group of friends, the sport or subject they are good at, their confidence may be more fragile. Try asking anyone a random – slightly difficult – question (about for example a scientific or historical fact), making clear you yourself know the answer. Not knowing the answer will make most people - temporarily at least - unconfident. This is putting people ‘on the spot’ and it is often used as a technique to detach someone from their comfort/confidence zone.

And happiness and joy. Are these things people always feel? Very likely not. Striving to always feel good and confident and shutting out feelings of doubt, anger, disappointment or unhappiness is definitely not a good idea.

When feeling down and out or upside down, it is important to realise a few things. First of all, accept the emotions you have and ‘allow’ yourself to have them. How you respond to these feeling is your choice and in your power. Secondly, accept that you are not always going to feel this way. That being angry or feeling disappointed or left out are things that pass. Believe there will be ‘another day’; a day you will smile and feel great and not have these negative feelings. We have to trust ourselves with both the good, the bad and the ugly. They are all mostly transitory and come and go.

Blues busters can be simple, from talking to friends (very effective), to going for a jog or walk, playing with your pets or watching funny videos. Multiple studies claim that animals are very helpful in reducing anxiety and stress and for those who don’t have a pet, watching funny animal videos is the next best thing. Silly and effective.

A simple mindfulness exercise which may help counter your inner critic and negative word whisperer, is twofold, i.e. I havefocusing on what you do have, and I can listing the things you can do and/or are good at. It might just clear your mood.

But being blue or feeling down can be draining and self-defeating, so if these feelings persist, it is best not to ‘sit’ on them but take some action and do reach out and ask for help. There are many charities out there specifically tailored to teens! Be well.

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Scrolling through Instagram you may believe the world is having a ton of fun, all smiles

Einstein is alleged to have said “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid”.