As y'all know I am a big fan of thinking positive, but sometimes stuff happens that really throws us off.

We are upset by something someone says, or doesn't say. Does, or doesn't do. Something that happens. Or doesn't happen. There is a gap between what we expect or desire, and what we actually get in reality. The bigger the gap, the more upset we are. And that expectation-versus-reality gap brings us down.

Feeling down can actually be a real growth opportunity as long as it's short term and temporary*. Feeling down in the short term? Well, it's a golden opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.

Feeling down tells us very clearly what we DON'T want. That clarity can be really illuminating and valuable. Knowing what we DON'T want gives us access to getting really clear on what we DO want. That's even more valuable information. When we can define what we DO want we are a billion per cent more likely to actually get it.

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Feeling down gives us the opportunity to see if there is another perspective we can take. Can we look at the situation differently? Maybe we don't need to feel quite so down about it? Is there a silver lining we are missing? Can we think about it differently so we can feel differently about it? Feeling down can prompt inspired action that moves us effectively in the direction of what we DO want and out of the downer-making situation. Feeling down can be just the trigger we need to evaluate the only three sensible options we ever have:

1. Do I want to accept this situation? As it is? Accept it and stop fighting it. Put my energy and focus elsewhere.

2. Do I want to change this situation? How can I best change it so it gives me more of what I do what?

3. Do I want to leave this situation? Is feeling down a message that this situation is no longer serving me? I don't want to accept it, I don't feel that I want to change it - my best course of action is to exit it altogether.

Feeling down can act as the impetus to move us confidently towards feeling better. It's a message and indicator to pay more attention. That there is something to be learned or evaluated here, not just that there is an emotion to be avoided because it feels uncomfortable. If we can sit with that feeling of down, just for a few moments without trying to avoid it by drowning it out with TV, wine, food, work and general busyness, it can reveal exactly what we need to know to move ourselves forwards to a much brighter future.

Welcoming a little bit of "down" as a learning opportunity rather than running from it can be the foundation of a whole heap of happiness, if we let it.

* Feeling down ongoing and long-term is not good. You may have depression. Please see your GP and get the support you need
Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
The Word
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.