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Sometimes, when life turns dark, the only thing to do is sit it out

‘And then all the lights went out’ says Sarah. ‘The power cut in Amersham last week really made us sit up.’ Her husband was made redundant from the City last November. ‘He got a redundancy payment and we both said he’d take the rest of 2008 off, and work out what to do in the New Year, but it’s been very difficult. His sister gave him a book on positive psychology for Christmas but he can hardly bare to look at it, it seems rather unrealistic. How is he supposed to feel upbeat when he’s lost his job and there’s not much sign of work? We’re not sure what happens next really. We haven’t got a tracker mortgage so we’ve missed out on those savings. We both made resolutions to get fitter and John has started running, he goes out two or three times a week. I sometimes worry he will run away.’

We often do ourselves a disservice if we try to kid ourselves into thinking that everything is fine when it isn’t. Losing your job can make you feel very exposed and ashamed. Being confronted by uncertainty day-after-day is difficult.
Sarah says they were in the middle of their umpteenth gloomy conversation about the future, when suddenly the lights went out. ‘Actually’ says Sarah ‘we both laughed, it was funny, we could hardly see each other. It was the first time we’d laughed together in ages. It seemed to really make us relax – at least before it got horribly cold’
There are times when there really isn’t very much we can do to change things. We might try to be upbeat and so on but sometimes we have to just be realistic and endure difficult things as best we can. We can’t change things which are beyond our control. We can’t make a power cut end, but we can try to be adaptable. It does seem that there is a link between adapting to circumstances and improved morale.
And it seems true that people who keep their morale up tend to be more adaptable. It’s probably the case that laughing lifts morale and that may have the effect of chasing the New Year blues away, even if you do end up sitting in the dark.

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Written by Toby Ingham MA UKCP BAPPS

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