What to do when you feel bad

Sazuna6 asks: What do you do when you’re upset? What helps you the most when you’re feeling down?

Hi Sazuna6!



Well when it comes to this, I’m pretty much like any other dog.  I mope around, get listless.  I might howl or whine.  But mainly what you’d notice would be my lack of energy.  I’m normally full of excitement and eager to see what’s around the next corner.  If I’m feeling down, nothing seems all that interesting.  So why bother.


But you humans have other ways to deal with the blues.  Many which I think are great.  Like listening to sad music, or watching sad movies – just so you don’t feel so alone in your misery!


Some people also use substances to help.  Like drinking alcohol, or smoking cigarettes (yucch!), or what makes more sense to me – overeating what they call “comfort food.”  That’s fine, if you do it just a little.  If you do any of them a lot, they’ll mess your life up – often by making what was wrong worse!  Like, let’s say you feel bad because you’ve been messing up at school or work.  And then you start doing something that makes you more tired and groggy during the day – well you’re just going to do even worse at what you were bad at.  Or if you feel unattractive, putting on weight from lots of macaroni and cheese isn’t going to make you happier with what you see in the mirror!


But, again, if it’s in moderation (and I do suggest sticking with what’s legal in your community!!!), a little of that isn’t such a bad thing.


But the best thing you can do, by far, is what I do.  Go to someone who loves you, and lean on them.  For me, that’s literal – I go put my head on Handsome’s lap, and he’ll just cover me in kisses and fill my ears with worried “Hey Knucklehead, why are you so sad tonight?  You know I love you, right?” comments.  And maybe give me a treat or two.


Now as a human, you might do something that has the same effect, but is a bit more… hmm… sophisticated?  Like call a friend and say “Hey are you free tonight?  I could really use an ear!”  And go out with them and tell them all your problems, and maybe have a bite to eat or something to drink, and – if you’re lucky enough to have a great friend – maybe you’ll end up laughing about something together, or they’ll tell you when they went through something similar, or say “Wow I’ve never been through anything like that!” (and either one of those will make you feel more valid and understood and – again – not alone!).


Now if it’s something that is really big, and goes on longer than a few days, you could also do what you humans are best at – and achieve something CREATIVE!  You could write a song about your sadness, or write a poem or story, or put that emotion into a painting.  So much of the greatest art humans have ever made has come from those down emotions.


So in summary – I’m saying that the best things to do when you’re feeling awful are to enjoy great entertainment, eat, spend time with friends, and create art.  Exactly the same things I’d say to do when you’re feeling great!  Although for totally different reasons.


Oh, yes, there is one other thing I can recommend.  In fact, it’s the very best.  Human friends are terrific, but if you can talk to a DOG, you’ll do even better!  Oh, we are so empathic, and we’ll cuddle up to you and lick your tears and whine and howl with you and… yes, that old line about dogs being Man’s Best Friend was probably written by someone who’d felt awful, and whose entire mood was saved by a pooch.  We’re just that good!


Which makes you pretty smart for thinking to write one of us to ask about it!!


All my best,


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