In this guide we’ll be discussing a common phenomenon that most people experience after a fun day out or after a positive and happy experience.
We will be discussing what has been called “post-fun depression” and how you can cope with it.
What are some ways you can cope with post-fun depression?
Some steps you can take to cope with post-fun depression include:
- Acknowledging your feelings
- Trying to understand your feelings objectively
- Reflect with gratitude
- Manke small lifestyle changes
- Ease back into regular life
- Be mindful of your patterns next time
Suppose you have had a fun day out at the amusement park with your friends or have gone on a spectacular vacation with your loved ones. You’ve had more fun than you have had in quite some time.
A few hours or days after this spectacular day or week where you have experienced so much unbridled joy, you begin to notice that you’ve become sadder, less motivated to go to school or work. You wonder if you are depressed.
What you might be experiencing is a “post-fun blues’ ‘ or “Happiness hangover”.
Is post-fun depression real?
Post fun blues or happiness hangovers are real and it is not the same as clinical depression. The lows you might be feeling after that exciting week at the beachside town or the moments of joy you have had while camping with your friends is a very common experience.
You experience it in various situations and not just after happy events or vacations. You might notice it happens after getting something you really wanted, joining the college you dreamed of studying in, after your wedding, getting into your dream job, and even after winning the lottery.
The cause of this happiness hangover or post-fun blues is because of what psychology recognises as “Happiness set point”.
Happiness set point is the threshold limit of our general sense of happiness- and it differs from person to person. Some have a high set point meaning that they are likely to be happier in general while others have lower points.
Let us take a closer look at how this set point impacts our emotions after a fun and happy time.
Happiness sets points and post-fun blues.
As mentioned above our happiness set points are fairly subjective and the way it works is that when you experience a positive event, our level of happiness goes up. When it is higher than the set point- you feel a general sense of well-being.
However, after some point, the evil of joy and happiness returns to the set point which is lower than how you felt when the positive event was happening. Comparing the set point level to the excitement of doing new things or winning the lottery, can make you think that you are depressed.
The reason why our levels of happiness return to this set point is explained by the opponent process theory. According to this theory, when the body becomes physiologically excited (e.g., when you get really happy)- feel good chemicals are released like serotonin.
At the same time our body attempts to maintain homeostasis to prevent the body from being too excited or too activated. So a simultaneous process activates to counteract this excitement.
To prevent this over-excitement, the nervous system simultaneously triggers a “deactivating” or depressing process in the body to balance out this “activating” or exciting process.
However, this deactivating process can go a little too far, resulting in a bit of depressed mood rather than the set point. Of course the human mind is fit enough to bring itself back to that point of general happiness but some factors can make it a little challenging.
You might feel like your post-fun blues are getting out of hand and are sustaining much longer if you do not have a positive environment around you which can be a source of more positive experiences.
It could also be that you are not equipped with the mindset to bounce back and see the finer details about your life that makes it good for you. You might have a lot of stress to go back to which makes it almost impossible to feel generally happy about your life.
So, considering all of these issues let us take a look at what you can do to cope
Tips to cope
Here is a list of things you can do to cope with post-fun blues.
The moment you start acknowledging it to be part of your experiences the easier it becomes to accept it.
Acceptance can help you be less judgemental over yourself about why you might be feeling sad. Instead of beating yourself up for yourself, you can look at the various choices you can make to feel better by taking the time to assess your symptoms and come to grips with it.
Try to Understand it.
The next thing you can do after you have acknowledged it as part of how you experience things, take effort to understand it.
One of the best ways you can do that is either to talk to someone you trust to help you make sense of it or start writing or journaling about it.
Write down what happened over the past few days. What was so exciting, and memorable? What do you wish you could continue? Who was part of the reason why you had so much fun?
Helping you understand all of this can help you understand what is important to you and what you can add or remove from your life to make it enjoyable.
Reflect with gratitude
Right along with understanding it comes gratitude for your experience. For the people, the stories, the fun and the excitement.
Write down what you are grateful for, relive it if you want to. Take a moment to take stock of all that you experienced and are experiencing right now after the event. Things that you are grateful for in your normal daily life can help you see the possibilities in your own day to day.
Make small changes
If you notice that the fact that you are feeling so sad after that experience of pure happiness is because of the life you are living- take change and make small, realistic changes.
It can be going out for a walk when you are stressed out instead of wallowing in stress. Or meditating and doing yoga to help relieve that stress.
It could be you changing the way you see the world and yourself, your life. Make the changes you need for you to have a happier life- it could be fixing your diet, getting a new job, changing your social circle, it could even be talking to a counsellor or therapist about changing your life.
Ease Back Into it
Oftentimes when you start experiencing the blues after a fun day out, your immediate response might be that you need to plan the next get together and do the next most exciting thing.
However, resist the urge to do that. None of that excitement is going to help take away that feeling of sadness after. Instead, take a moment to feel comfortable with being alone and doing nothing exciting.
Take a moment, a day, a week, to reconnect with yourself and your personal joys that has nothing to do with the outside world Then reconnect slowly by finding a close friend or significant other.
Be Mindful of the next time
Be aware of the fact that it will happen again. As sure as you’ll spend more time with people you care about, go on vacations, or do something fun you’ll have another happiness hangover.
There is nothing wrong with this. It might be scary at first but remember the things you have learned about yourself over the time you have taken to reflect and understand.
SO next time you go out to do something fun, don’t worry about the aftermath- instead be mindful of your present and believe that you can handle and soothe yourself if you experience the post-fun slump.
In this guide we have discussed the mechanism behind “post-fun blues” by taking a closer look at Happiness set point and the opponent process theory. We have also briefly discussed what you can do to cope with it.
Frequently asked questions related to “Post-Fun depression”
What triggers sadness?
Triggers for sadness can be anything. It can be rejection by a friend or lover. Endings and goodbyes. Sickness or death of a loved one. The loss of some aspect of identity.
Most of these triggers are negative aspects of ourselves and your lives we have unknowing internalized over time.
Why do depressed people like sad stuff?
People with depression often like sad stuff like sad movies, books, and music because they find it comforting and soothing. They might even find comfort in the fact that these mediums give them a place of recognition and even a medium to express the things they also feel.
Is it okay to be sad?
It’s OK to have sad feelings at times. As long as they don’t happen too often or last too long, sad feelings — like all emotions — are just a natural part of life.
You can be sad if you are sad, acknowledge and accept your sadness without judgement. Pay attention to the thoughts that come to you when you experience sadness.
However, be mindful of suicidal thoughts or when sadness persists for too long, it is important that you speak to someone about it.
Is it normal to like to cry?
Crying in response to emotions such as sadness, joy, or frustration is normal and has a number of health benefits. It can be a healthy way to let go of pent up emotions and even be a way to express them.
However, sometimes frequent crying can be a sign of depression.
How do you cure the blues?
Some ways you can cope and manage feeling blue are:
- Nurture Physical Health. Eat and Move. Eat healthy and get some exercise.
- Care for Emotional and Spiritual Health.
- Make Time to Relax.
- Minimize Stress.
- Practice Mindfulness.
- Seek out healthy support from friends, family, and even professional counsellors and therapists.