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December 20, 2016

What, exactly, has you down today?  What is the real cause of the bad mood, the blue funk, the almighty snit in which you find yourself?  Something that you did or didn’t do?  Something someone else did or said or didn’t do or say?  Can you even put it into words, or is it just some sort of vague ill-at-ease feeling that has you on edge? 


If you can put a name to it, are you willing to do so?  Sometimes naming our fears, our upsets helps to take away their power.  Verbalizing is a valuable tool, if we will only use it.  Talking about a problem helps to put it into perspective.  For some reason, we have a need to tell our story, sometimes repeatedly.  Again, doing so helps to give us at least the illusion of control.   


Is it within your power to do anything about your gremlins?  Okay, so you have COPD and your mother thinks that she has several kinds of cancer because she is always watching doctor shows and you’ve just had a horrible argument with your oldest kid and the dog has eaten something disgusting.  You must pick your battles.  The kid and the dog come to mind.  Your mother is never going to change, and there isn’t anything that you can do about the COPD.  Or is there?  We will return to the question in a minute.


For now, what to do about the mood?  Again, it helps a great deal to come to grips with the reason.  Has someone said something that you found offensive or insensitive?  Sit down and write them a letter.  Go into great detail about your feelings.  Don’t hold back.  Let them know how they have hurt you.


Then, put the letter aside and look at again the next morning before you send it.  If you send it.  Actually, sending it is not the important part.


Try taking a few deep breaths, and then a few more.  Relax your shoulders and your hands.  Quiet your mind, meditate if you can, pray if it comforts you, take a leisurely stroll.  Get away from yourself for a little while.


The controlled breathing and slow movements of yoga or tai chi can help to enhance your outlook on life.  There are many web sites that deal with these programs, as well as other movement and balance activities.


If nothing else seems to help, perhaps it is time to talk to your physician or your herbalist or your aroma therapist or whatever about some manner of chemical intervention.  Many of us need a little help to get over the rough spots, but whatever you use, use it under the guidance of a professional.  Self-medicating, be it with scotch or recreational pharmaceuticals or that crap that you bought on the Internet, is never a good idea!


Okay, back to the COPD.  You knew that I would get to exercise sooner or later, so not to disappoint you, here it is!  You know full well that you should be doing something in the way of physical activity to help keep up with the disease.  Now that we are on the subject, is it guilt for not exercising that is bothering you?  Well, if so, do I have a solution for you!


It is pretty firmly established that exercise helps to relieve depression, to make us feel better about ourselves, to improve mood!  What could be simpler?  By doing something that you should be doing, something that you must do if you are to have any hope of living a halfway normal life, you can boost your mood at the same time!  It is certainly worth a try.


Uncle Jim


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