A shift in thinking is by far the best method of self-correcting a low mood that comes about due to physical illness or disability.
You might agree with this advice, but be at a loss when it comes to knowing how to activate the shift in thinking switch. I struggled with this question for a long time.
A low mood can and does fall upon me at the strangest times.
The last time, for example, was when I went grocery shopping with my partner in the preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. In the store, she zooms from one aisle to another pushing the grocery cart like she’s in a road race. Food items are checked off a list as they drop into the basket. There is a definite task-in-motion momentum.
I starting reflecting back to when I could walk and push a grocery cart.
Funny how we do everyday tasks without being aware of them. It’s not like we stop midstream to reflect on our feelings when doing mundane chores, but the experience of loss has a way of bringing insight forward.
Suddenly, somewhere between the deli meats and frozen food section, I felt incapable and insignificant. As a result, my mood dropped.
The feelings associated with low moods differ for everyone, but for me, just then, it felt as though I had put on an uncomfortably heavy sweater, and an invisible helmet that darkened my view. Ugh.
Twenty minutes or more had passed before it occurred to me that I did not feel this yucky feeling when I first went into the store.
I stopped by the tomatoes to think about what had changed. Upon reflection, I noticed unsolicited thoughts had floated through my mind about my previous abilities.
“Well, the past isn’t happening right now,” I told myself, “so what’s the point in looking backward?”
And just then I was able to effortlessly shift my thinking towards a different and more positive direction.
I realized that, not only, had I completely made up the thought – that not pushing a cart meant I was insignificant, but that this thought alone was the cause of my low mood.
Of course, this low mood would have passed eventually – but by taking the time to look within, I was able to end my unnecessary suffering much sooner.
By the time I rejoined my partner, all was well again.