“April is the cruelest month”, wrote Thomas Eliot. When we have been unhappy or troubled, spring can seem like an affront. Warm weather and flowers can stand point and counterpoint to grief, anxiety, or hurt. It seems as if even Nature just doesn’t get it and is being grossly insensitive. We are supposed to be happy in the Spring, and when we’re not, we can perceive ourselves as being somehow to blame. We are also exposed to media images that are frequently tragic, and we are shocked by senseless violence and saddened by the suffering of others.
Purposeful distractions and bracketing can help. Neither involve denial of our situation or our pain, but both help us to take the edge off as we consider more long-term solutions. I can distract myself with any activity that is safe & healthy. Exercise, being with friends, journaling, music, reading, or hobbies are a few examples. Sometimes reaching out to someone else in need benefits both of us. And bracketing involves making a conscious decision not to think about something, usually temporarily. We might decide to deal with a number of problems in a sequential fashion. Or a particular problem might be so complicated or painful that it is best addressed in component parts. Problem-solving, relationships, and personal growth take time. Part of successful and vibrant living is to always see ourselves as a work-in-progress.