Excerpted from Joy's new book When You Need a Lift: But Don't Want to Eat Chocolate, Pay a Shrink, or Drink a Bottle of Gin:
Just reading the front page of the newspaper these days is enough to put even the relentlessly cheerful von Trapp family into a serious state of melancholy. Maybe the world has always been riddled with disasters and misery, but that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a double mocha latte with whipped cream. Too fattening, you say. I agree.
It's getting more and more difficult to eat my way out of my mood swings. When I was a child, my mother would get into a funk over things that I didn't understand, but I noticed that she
could always snap herself out of it by putting on an aria from Madama Butterfly. The next thing I knew, she'd be singing along and having a wonderful time, even though she was crying for poor Butterfly. It was her way of cheering herself up. I realized then that it was up to me to monitor
my ups and downs, and her opera collection.
These days, when the doldrums hit, I head for a department store. I find that loitering near the handbags has a calming effect on me. The smell of a Gucci bag is like a trip to Siena in June.
My second-favorite mood elevator is a manicure and pedicure, with a neck massage thrown in. Lately, I've discovered that the little nail salons that are popping up all over the city where I live offer a reflexology treatment between pedicures. I think I'll just move into one these shops.
If all else fails, I get on the phone with my girlfriends and start marathon blabbing. After two or three hours of nonstop analysis of our issues, I feel completely liberated from any threat of the blues.
In the spirit of group participation, I've asked a hundred and one of my friends, associates, and role models what they do when they're feeling down. I'm happy to say that their responses have been as varied and helpful as they have been interesting and original.
This is not a "how-to" book. I don't like how-to books. Just because Dr. So-and-So does it one way does not mean that I'm going to want to do it that way. I like to get a variety of answers on the big questions in life. Sigmund Freud was smart and probably right about a lot of things, but "penis envy"? I don't think so.
So, when you're in the doldrums and a hot fudge sundae isn't doing it for you, check out this book. Not everyone's ideas will appeal to you. If repeating a mantra makes you anxious, don't meditate. Personally, I find fishing tedious, but if that's your hook, go for it. And by all means, stay away from anything that Sylvia Plath wrote.
Find more mood elevators in Joy Behar's When You Need A Life: But Don't Want To Eat Chocolate, Pay A Shrink, Or Drink A Bottle Of Gin.