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What do you do when you get the blues?

Here’s an unusual prescription from the author, D.H. Lawrence:

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”

I like that. There’s so much in life, in the news, and in the world that could get us down—so much we can’t control.

But here’s something we can control! We can take a break once in a while…and just do something with our hands, something constructive, something that puts us back into touch with the rhythms and innate goodness of ordinary, everyday life.

And then, I don’t think it hurts to take just a spoonful of those two timeless antidotes to the blues: mirth and cheerfulness. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell says:

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.”

So here’s a strategy for those times when we find ourselves singing the blues:

  • Putter around in the kitchen (while you’re singing perhaps)
  • Get down and scrub the floor if it helps
  • Look for moments and ways to let mirth and cheerfulness break through the clouds of the day
  • And never, never give up the quest for “a steady and perpetual serenity”