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Beating the Blues Before They Beat You

Beating the Blues Before They Beat YouHaving a bout of the blues is not uncommon for most people. But one expert feels we don’t do enough to combat the blues, and that can lead to trouble.

“I think depression is a spectrum, and full-on depression is when you experience things like impaired appetite, disrupted sleep, lack of concentration and ruminative thoughts,” said Diane Tucker, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Feelings of discouragement or the blues are on that continuum, and I think it is important to be attentive to those feelings.”

Tucker said when one is down in the dumps, he or she should look at his or her “life equation” — how time is being spent and what is being done to help nourish self-worth.

“When people feel down, they’re less likely to be doing things that help them feel centered and personally efficacious,” Tucker said.

“One of the first steps to feel better is to reach out to your network of good friends or social contacts. They can help provide a validation of the strongest parts of oneself.”

In addition, Tucker said close friends can provide helpful feedback, including seeing our role in a difficult situation. Good friends let us know that we are not alone and remind us of the best parts of ourselves.

Other ways to beat the blues:

  • Exercise and cook a healthy meal;
  • Do activities that provide internal satisfaction — like arts, reading or gardening;
  • Write down thoughts in a journal regularly.

“With the blues, we lose perspective or it becomes distorted — people go over and over the things they’re unhappy with, and they get psychologically stuck,” Tucker said.

“The challenge is to move beyond where you’re stuck. Things that can help include writing in a journal, doing activities that give you satisfaction, exercising and being with friends.”

According to Tucker, ignoring the blues can be detrimental, leading to subtle issues like poor job performance or compromised relationships.

“People are different in terms of biology and the way our brains work; some people are prone to depression, and others are prone to high blood pressure,” she said. “If it becomes a chronic problem, most cases can be helped by medication or psychotherapy.”

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Beating the Blues Before They Beat You

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Beating the Blues Before They Beat You. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 21 Oct 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.