Question: What can I do to cope with the blues? How do I not get depressed when circumstances are difficult or there seems to be nothing to look forward to except cloudyskies!

Answer:
Dear Friend, It seems that many people suffer from bouts depression or the blues at different times during the year. There are several causes for this such as stress, loss of a loved one or memories of someone who has died or moved away, lack of sunlight or lack of physical exercise, or maybe just a general disappointment with life or friends, etc. I recommend first of all getting closer to God.  You need faith. You need hope for the future and certainty of life after death. I know of no one else who offers the gift of eternal life outside of Christ. His words and life are recorded in the New Testament. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but, by me.” and “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me… has everlasting life.” You can trust in Christ and turn your life over to him. He died on the cross 2,000 years ago to pay the penalty for your sins. As a Christian – you will have the greatest hope and purpose in life to help you overcome discouragement. Begin by fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of your faith. Why? Because our needs can only be met completely by Christ. He is the living water, the bread of life and has said that He has come to not only give eternal life but to give life more abundantly (John 10:10).I believe that when we are constantly growing in our relationship with Christ, we will experience that joy He promised in John 15:9-11 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (NIV)

I know personally that when I am obeying Christ and trusting in His love for me, I have an inner joy that overflows, a zest for living, and a love for other people.

Practically, here are some steps to help you cope and overcome the depression and the blues:
Read your Bible everyday for 15 or 20 minutes. Include the Psalms and the gospels. These scriptures will encourage you, renew your soul and spirit and help you get to know Christ more personally.

Read other inspiring books such as: The Freedom from Depression Workbook by Les Carter, Frank Minirth Keep Believing: God in the Midst of Our Deepest Struggles byRay Pritchard

Pray. Pray about everything. Phillipians 4:6-7 says,”don’t be anxious about anything, but, through prayer and supplication make your requests known to God and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” When you pray, pray specifically. Write down your requests so that you can go back to read them later on and to see how God has answered you!

Do God’s will in your life.
Love others. Think of some ways you can show your care and concern to others every day. That is God’s will. And talk about Christ to others. Talk about how much He means to you. Sharing your faith is God’s will. As you do God’s will, you will feel an inner satisfaction about your life… because you will be fulfilling God’s purpose in your life.

Stay in fellowship with other Christians. You need the encouragement of Christians in your life. They need your encouragement. You can grow spiritually and emotionally as you are encouraged and exhorted by other Christians.

Exercise. You need physical exercise to get your neurochemicals going which will help you feel good about life. It will also relieve stress and anxiety. Get involved. Find something to do in which you can use your gifts, talents and abilities… This will bless others as well

Plan some outings, events or activities
which you really like to do intermittently throughout the year and especially the winter. Plan a short trip… maybe to Lake Geneva (if you reside in the Chicagoland area) or trips to museums, etc. You need things to look forward to.

Counseling: You may find that this case of the blues does not lift and that you cannot shake it.  If that occurs, then, contact AACC for a referral to a counseling professional in your area for further evaluation. God bless you!

© copyright 2007 by Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC