"A Cure for the 'Blahs': Curiosity"

by Al Siebert, PhD

THRIVEnet Story of the Month - September, 1996

After several weeks of late night work, long airplane rides, and dealing with school-age children at the end of summer, Hal Lancaster felt very tired. His energy was depleted. He was unable to do even simple tasks. When he tried to write his weekly column for the Wall Street Journal his mind wandered.

"To shake off my case of the blahs," he says, "I eliminated extraneous issues that were contributing to my feeling overwhelmed-the kids, household chores. I concentrated only on the immediate problems that needed to be solved."

Hal had to write his column. He asked himself "What should I write about this week?" and "How the heck do I get myself out of this funk?"

The answer came to him immediately. He would write his column about how to overcome the blahs. "I started calling executives and others," he says. "I asked them for their techniques for chasing away the blahs."

When he called me I told him it is useful to feel okay about not being strong and in charge. "When your energy is low," I said, "tell your friends and/or family that you need to ride on their energy for awhile. Give yourself permission to ask friends to make decisions about what you do and where you go on the weekend. Also, give yourself permission to tell co-workers and others to stay away from you while you enjoy your funk."

As we talked he said he felt better already. His column was taking shape and he felt energized from talking with effective people about how they get through periods of low energy.

Hal's way of handling his challenge let him regain his usual enthusiasm. His curiosity about how people cure themselves of the "blahs" had given him material for his column and lifted his spirits as well. (His column on "How to Chase Away the Blahs" appeared in the August 20, 1996, Wall Street Journal.)

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