Fighting sadness is a skill all single people must master

Fighting sadness is something singles need to do every day--and we need to become black-belt experts at it.

For some odd reason, many of us are deliberately doing things that make us feel worse instead of better. How wrong is that?

It's not noble to punish yourself. It's, well, sick. I'm sorry if that sounds cruel, but we need to recognize that sometimes we're our own worst enemy.

There's one thing each of us, and only us, is responsible for, and that's our attitude.

Fighting sadness takes maturity

Depression is a real enemy to singles. It's not imaginary and it has many complex causes. But everyday melancholy can be a state we bring on ourselves, if we wallow in self-pity.

Let's look at it rationally. What's your goal in life, happiness or sadness? I'm afraid you won't find any help on this site if your goal is sadness. And if being sad makes you happy, then you're really in the wrong place.

Okay, then, let's assume you're a smart, normal person who understands that being happy is the way to go.

Rather than making the case for that here (you can find plenty of other articles arguing for happiness throughout this site), let's look at ways of fighting sadness.

Recognize your sadness triggers

When your smoke detector goes off, you don't light a fire to make things worse. You investigate and solve the problem, immediately.

We singles can learn to do that when sadness starts. We're all familiar with the feeling. It may creep up on us, but we're aware when it does. The first sign of the blues should be a warning, your alarm to stop the situation right away.

Learn what makes you sad. These sadness triggers may be old photos, regrets, or the belief life is treating you unfairly.

Don't throw more fuel on the fire by playing sad songs or reading sad poems. Unless you're a masochist, don't call a friend who likes to complain. Sure, sometimes we need to talk to someone we trust, but the goal should be helping the situation, not making it worse.

We each have unique triggers. Learn to recognize yours. Rather than entering into the bad mood, see it as the real threat to your well-being that it is. It starts with just a little sorrow, but unless you stop it early, it will grow into a smothering grief that can overwhelm you.

Fight sadness with your attitude

I'm sure you've heard of the saying, "looking at life through rose-colored glasses." It means having an outlook that sees only the good and ignores the bad. Everything is "rosy."

That has its dangers too, but sorrow is sort of like looking at your life through blue-colored glasses. Everything begins to look bad. Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say, "Life is a bowl of pits."

I'm not advocating that you refuse to recognize the low spots in your life, but it's a question of optimism, a quality all singles need to cultivate. Optimism just makes life so much more inviting. If you're a Christian, you have real, provable reasons for optimism, because God gives us hope.

Changing your glasses means counting your blessings, as corny as that sounds. Yes, you may want a spouse and not have one, and I know the kind of ache that causes in your heart, but until that happens, you have God and all the good things he has provided for you--and that's not small change!

You wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life with a downer person, would you? Well, neither would that spouse who is looking for you right now! So don't let yourself turn into a saddy by dwelling there.

Try my secret weapon

I'm a great believer in hobbies. I think it's essential for singles to have something to look forward to.

For me, it's working on this web site and answering emails from visitors. I also enjoy landscape painting, reading, and taking care of my dog.

Having something to look forward to turns life into an adventure.

It doesn't have to be expensive, like a vacation or eating in some ritzy restaurant. Those things are great for an occasional treat, but your activity should be: a) something you genuinely enjoy; b) something that keeps your mind actively involved; c) something that makes you feel happy after you've done it.

Your hobby or personal treat (eating is not necessarily good) is your fire extinguisher when your sadness alarm goes off. Change to your fun activity and give it all your attention. If you're somewhere where you can't do that, then mentally plan what you're going to do when you have the first opportunity to do your fun thing. Thinking about your favorite activity while trying to get to sleep at night is a great way of fighting sadness.

Know your true Comforter

The difference between Christians and nonbelievers is that we have a Comforter who actually has the power to change things for the better. It's Jesus Christ, and his presence on earth, the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.

There is no comfort in alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, or materialism. They bring only numbness, shame and regret.

It's easy to find comforting Bible verses on the Internet. They're God's love letters to you. Let them remind you that you're cherished by him. He saved you because he wants to spend eternity with you.

When you're fighting sadness, there's no greater ally than Jesus. He brings hope. Turn to him and tell him what's hurting you. He understands. Best of all, he has the power to heal.

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