You've had another one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
You know the sort -- nothing goes right and everything goes wrong. All you want is to retreat to your bedroom with pajamas and a teddy bear, scarf down a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and not emerge for days.
Before you take the lid off that ice cream, though, stop and consider. Will consuming 60 grams of fat and becoming a social recluse really make you feel better? Most likely not. There are alternatives, however, to help you shake off those bad-day blues.
To start with, do your homework. While this may sound ridiculous (who wants to do homework while they're upset?), being productive can keep your thoughts from centering on your sadness. Your mind will be occupied, you'll be kept from moping, and you'll have fewer things to stress over later.
The same idea applies to doing your chores or volunteering. The latter comes with an added bonus -- not only will you be too busy to think about being sad, but you'll also experience the joy that comes from making someone else's life a little brighter.
Shovel a neighbor's driveway or take cookies to the old lady down the street. Serve food in a homeless shelter or play with children in a hospital. No matter what you do, big or small, putting others before yourself can cheer you up and help you put your life in perspective. After all, is that C in math class really so important when there are people living on the streets? And you may be hurting over that breakup, but is it really the end of your life while there are children who don't have any parents? Volunteering can remind you of the things that you have to be thankful for, and all the reasons you have to be happy.
After you've crossed a few items off your to-do list, spend time with friends who truly care about you. Some people may not like to be around you while you're moody, but true friends will only want to see you happy again. The people who are willing to stick around, no matter your mood, are also the ones who are most likely to know how to cheer you up. Whether it's by patiently listening to you rant about your problems or by joking and having fun, friends are good at chasing away your melancholy.
If you're the kind of person who doesn't like being around others when you're upset, there are several things you can do by yourself as well. Creativity is a great outlet for expressing your feelings. Write a story, a poem or a song. Draw or paint a picture. Take your hurt and sadness and turn it into something beautiful.
If you'd rather not dwell on your emotions, the creations of others can be an escape from reality. Books allow you to slip into the lives of nonexistent characters and leave your own problems behind. Music has an influence on mood; research suggests that when people listen to music they enjoy, there's an increase in positive emotions such as contentment and happiness. Comedic movies and television shows can make you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine; it causes a release of serotonin and endorphins, two hormones that aid in feelings of well-being and stress-relief.
Heading to the gym is another great way to cheer yourself up. Although it can be hard to feel motivated when you're down, once you start moving you'll experience a spike in energy and happiness. Like laughter, exercise causes a release of brain chemicals that contribute to happiness. It's also a productive channel for frustration or anxiety.
And the best part of going to the gym? If you're still unhappy, you've now fully earned that pint of Ben & Jerry's.
Kalli Damschen is a junior at Clearfield High School. She is passionate about reading, writing and her Christian faith. Contact her at email@example.com.