Daylight in the mind

I photographed these sunflowers at San Juan Capistrano in July 2004

I photographed these sunflowers at Mission San Juan Capistrano in July 2004

“Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” —  Joseph Addison

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt angry at the world?  Maybe even for no particular reason?  It’s awful to be caught in that cycle of negativity that seems to just spiral down, down, down.  At such times, perhaps a bit of forced cheerfulness would help.

Easier said than done, of course, but at least there are plenty of ways to deliberately elevate the mood.  Unfortunately, we sometimes choose the wrong refuge when we feel out of sorts.  I think it’s wise to make some premeditated decisions about how to handle– or NOT handle– your next episode of doom, gloom, or discontent.

Bad idea: collapse in front of the TV and zone out on whatever it sends your way: noisy commercials, depressing re-runs, or overly dramatized “tragic news!”

Good idea: choose a funny video to watch, do a word search for “hilarious pet videos” on YouTube, or look at some of the happiest photos you can find.

Bad idea: consume an entire bag of chips, box of donuts, or carton of ice cream (eating directly out of the container, of course)

Good idea: savor a cup of coffee or tea, a piece of fruit, or a single really delicious piece of chocolate

Bad idea: complain, procrastinate, and generally wallow in the muddy mire of your worst circumstances

Good idea: take a walk with some energetic tunes on your portable player, dance to some funky music, or tackle a project you’ve been avoiding and promise yourself a reward when you finish – then DO it!

If it’s a dark and stormy night in your mind, remember that you have the power to switch on the daylight.  It may feel awkward and fake at first, but chances are you really will end up in a happier place than when you started.  Send me a smile!

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Hi Julia.
    You really made my day. Going out for a walk!

    • Hi Waqar, thank you! I am so glad the post was helpful. It is nice to hear from you here in the comments section.

  2. Susan

    Julia, God really does work in mysterious ways. This post could not be better-timed than if you had written it fresh this morning. I hope it will console and encourage all of your friends and readers as it has just done for me. Love to you.

    • Susan, thank you. I’m always cheered to learn my writing has been helpful to someone else. As unprecedented as all our current troubles seem to be, the essentials of discouragement and gloom are remarkably alike over time, even over centuries. And the remedies, while the details may vary, are rooted in the same mental soil. We really aren’t hopeless or helpless, though it often may feel that way.

  3. mike c.

    Funny videos? Mostof the modern Jud Apatou stuff is too much for me. Blazing Saddles is supposed to be one of the funniest videos ever made. I am not sure i have ever watched it.

    • Young Frankenstein is my all time favorite Mel Brooks movie. I didn’t like Blazing Saddles as well. Some of my personal favorite funny movies are What’s Up, Doc? with Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand, The In-Laws with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, and Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. For funny YouTube videos I love J. P. Sears and Key and Peele (look up “The Substitute Teacher” by Key and Peele and you may never pronounce the name “Aaron” the same way ever again).

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