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Sillyness — an antidote to moping

Somedays, I’m a moper. As I mentioned before in my post on breaking negative habits, I can be extremely self-critical. It’s tied to some issues of low self-esteem which I haven’t straightened out yet. Back in December, I managed to break off a major episode using a paper wristband which kept track of negative statements.

For the most part, I’ve kept them off since but Friday I was moping again. Micah’s a constructive person to mope to. He recognizes the reality of depression but that also means that he knows ways to handle my moods.

So on Friday he declared a moratorium on moping. If I was going to mope, he said, every negative statement I made had to be preceded and followed by the word “mope.” Basically, I had to use html <mope>I’m so worthless</mope>.

The next time I got negative, I cracked up. It was so silly. You have to imagine the “mope” being in a deep voice, drawn out ridiculously long. “Mmmmoooopppeee I’m a loser mmmoooooppppeee.”

One of the main principles of cognitive behavioral therapy is positive action to break up negative patterns. Sillyness can be a big part of that, if you’ve gotten to the stage where you can recognize that your negative self-estimation isn’t true. It probably doesn’t work as well for those currently in the lower levels of hell, but it’s not too bad up here in the second circle.*

More severe stages most likely require counseling and perhaps a form of antidepressants. But as time goes on and the depression becomes dysthymia, sillyness, particularly sillyness with an understanding person, really helps.

Laughter is a great medicine, especially when it breaks us out of negative patterns.

*Dear literary people, I picked it based on its depth not its sin. However being blown to and fro and not being able to find rest sounds about right anyway.

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Amanda April 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm

πŸ˜€ What a great idea (about the html thing)!

Hope ya’ll are doing well!

cinzea April 26, 2008 at 4:57 pm

I seem to go through a scenario. It goes like this:
First I start moaning “woe is me” then after I deplete all the negativity, I start thinking about all the positive things and then I mumble “grand am I”.

I enjoy watching Jay Leno late at night. He just seems to find humor in all the days happenings and puts a comical spin on everything. Once I start laughing I realize how silly everything really is, go to sleep and wake up to a new day.

StackingPennies April 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm

This brought a smile to my face. thanks for the silliness!

Dad April 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm

You certainly weren’t a loser when you picked Micah! πŸ˜€ Silliness sounds good. Whatever breaks the negative thoughts. Keep it up.

Mark Krusen April 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

I’m a professional moper. I often use sarcasm to break the pattern. My moping is worse when I’m alone. If I have an audience it’s much easier to break out of the down times. No one wants to be a moper when there are other people around.

Meg from FruWiki and All About Appearances April 26, 2008 at 5:57 pm

I love it! I’ll definitely have to try that. I normally don’t mope too much, but once a month I’m awful about it.

fathersez April 26, 2008 at 5:58 pm

I think they have laughter clubs in India, where a bunch of people will get together and laugh.

I don’t think they laugh at a joke or something, they just laugh…a hearty laugh.

Looks like Mr. M and you can start one.

Andrew Stevens April 26, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Second circle? A bit too much information on a personal finance blog, perhaps. We would be neighbors though, since I’m certainly going to the First Circle.

Tanya April 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

Haha! That’s a great idea. I’m going to have to steal that.
Incidentally, one of my favorite books.

Cath Lawson April 27, 2008 at 10:26 am

Mrs M – That was a great idea Micah came up with. I guess it’s difficult to beat yourself up when you’re making yourself laugh afterwards.

Megan April 27, 2008 at 12:40 pm

This post made me laugh the first time I read it, and again when I just re-read it. What a great idea. I don’t have a Micah around to mope to, but maybe I should start a mope journal. And write “MOPE” really big in sparkle crayon before and after each entry. If nothing else, it makes you smile. Brilliant.

Brip Blap April 27, 2008 at 9:28 pm

I sympathize. The whole name of my blog, brip blap, describes the emotional state my parents saw in me as a baby that continued throughout my life until today – high highs and low lows. The biggest thing that keeps me going is focus and discipline – not to get kooky when feeling good and not to get “dark” when feeling bad. It’s a tough battle and I can actually very closely identify with people who are depressed. I don’t think I am – I always manage to wrench myself out – but it’s not easy.

Being silly is key. I was in the dumps today and spending an hour playing “ring around the rosies” with my son, who never ever ever ever gets tired of ‘falling down’, restored me. Nothing like dancing around to “Cotton Eye Joe” all afternoon to put life in perspective πŸ™‚

Shanti @ Antishay April 28, 2008 at 4:46 am

SO lovely! Thank you for sharing πŸ˜€

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