I don't really believe in quick fixes, not when it comes to how you feel, but if you've been stressed, depressed and/or down in the dumps for a few days or maybe longer I've got the perfect Mercury-retrograde activity for you to try - memory games.
Memory seems to be the tool we use to identify ourselves, stories, and even personality traits. It builds our perception, our image of ourselves and our reactions to the world around us. The narrative we are constantly relating back to ourselves in our brain defines us, in a way, or at least our actions.
It's so weird, but whenever I'm having a bad time with depression, anxiety or just feeling a bit off, I have serious trouble remembering things. I suddenly lose all worldly (and non-worldly!) attachments and begin to let the pit swallow me.
“It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”- Chuck Palahniuk
I started going through some old journals from the second half of last year in an effort to find some old half-remembered notes, but before long I found myself laughing at lists of weird dreams, ('been dreaming about pies a lot lately', seriously, WTF Ellen?) and the nonsensical ramblings that happen when you write in any kind of semi-inebriated state.
I started remembering little incidents, little moments of happiness and good times from that period, good memories can be a little like soul food, especially considering that we, as humans, tend to grip and focus on the 'bad' or more painful parts of life.
My collected anecdotes and odd musings linked me back up to a part of last year I seemed to have forgotten. There were moments in reading those journals where I was raising my eyebrows, but more often than not I found myself dog-earing things I'd forgotten that I knew would help me to no end today. In linking me back up to that time period, I also felt like my personality was affected a bit - I remembered how good I felt then, and started to apply it to now.
Humans are, I like to say, Homo Narritivus - we're natural storytellers and that's what creates our view of ourselves and the world - it's therefore important to have a healthy idea of who we are, we should do ourselves a kindness when we forget ourselves and take the time to remember and imagine ourselves complexly.
So, here's an idea for when you're feeling sad: Remember things, things like the last funny story your best friend told you, or the taste of cold, cold water when you're desperately thirsty. Remember your own best stories and favorite incidents, the last time you felt really happy with yourself or completed/started a daunting task. It can be too easy to forget the good moments as they fly by. Trauma seems to dictate so much of our behaviour.
Nostalgia has been speculated to make us feel better, Nostalgic thoughts literally give us a warm glow,even to the point of making us warmer and more comfortable.
It's easier to remember bits of your life these days: You can flick through Instagram or Facebook, phone a friend, trawl old diaries and photo albums, etc. Why don't you scroll through your Instagram feed to last year, last month, or a time you knew you felt better than you do right now and try it out. Failing that, you could just listen to this and pretend it's not winter: