Damn those down days. Days when nothing seems to go right, nobody seems to care and tomorrow looks to be more of the same. Your mind gets scattered, your outlook gets dark and your body gets heavy. Know what I’m talking about? I’ve been there. I’ve had days that I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want to get out of bed for that matter… sure that when I did, the weight of my world would just get heavier.
Call it what you will. Call it moods, call it depression. I call it human. If you’re sensitive like me, you’re going to have days that you’re prone to feeling less positive than little Suzie Sunshine over there. But, if you can recognize it, you can change it.
Did you just roll your eyes? It’s almost annoying how simplistic that seems, isn’t it? But, hang with me here because it’s true. And I’m going to share with you how easy it is to do.
THE SIMPLE TRUTH
When you are feeling down, you’ve got two reasonable choices. (I say reasonable because if you are feeling beyond rational, I encourage you to seek help from a professional.) However, the truth is, most of us have the power to choose how we want to go through our day. Behind door #1 is a brooding, moody, dark and cloudy negative day. Behind door #2 awaits a productive, clear and optimistic day. It’s “Let’s Make A Deal” with yourself. Tell me, which do you most often choose?
I’m writing this because I woke up feeling a little jaded this morning. Yep, still human. It’s a mixture of some personal conflicts I’ve had going on… and the state of the world. Or at least, the state of the world according to CNN.com. And that’s all I know at the moment. So, I find myself in this useless mildly annoyed, slightly detached, highly emotional state. A state that’s good for one thing… beating myself up.
Cue music. Enter Monty Hall. And let’s play… “Let’s Make A Deal”!
I now know how to choose Door #2. No more #1 for me. And I want to share with you ways to choose a positive day when you find yourself having to make your own deal.
Turn off the media
No more news. No more newspapers. No more network websites. Click it all off for today. It will be there tomorrow and your state will be different. When you’re feeling blue or less than optimistic, the media is certainly not going to change your mind for the better. In fact, it’s their JOB to make you feel needy. They depend on it. So, strip them of their power over you. No more media noise. Switch it over to an all music station or just altogether “off” and feel the shift.
I feel better already.
Check your body
Take a minute and look at your own physiology. How is your posture? Are you holding negative energy? My jaw gets so tight that my tone of voice changes. Even my phone personality is different when I’m uptight. So, guess what? Because I give out tension, I get it back… whether I want it or not. What are you putting out with just your body? Sit up straight. Inhale full and deeply. Go for a walk. Get some energy in that body of yours. Changing your physiology will change your mindset.
Focus at the task at hand
Be present and give your energy and focus to one task. Do it fully and to the best of your ability. After you’ve finished one, go to the next one. Focus and give it your full attention. Even if you are doing something that seems menial, pay attention to the details. I remember hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer say once, “If you’re washing the dishes, REALLY wash the dishes.” Sounds simple… even stupid when you’re feeling cynical. Just do it. You’ll feel the shift. Your mind can’t split thoughts. If you’re focused on your task, you can’t indulge in your negativity at the same time. It’s just not possible.
Don’t give in to old negative habits
Don’t you hate when you’re doing so well at quitting something, you haven’t had a cigarette in four days, and then some seemingly bad news knocks you back into yesterday? Don’t let it. Don’t reach for that extra caffeine, go back to biting those nails or skip your workout. It’ll just make you feel worse. The effect is immediate. We all know that the guilt outweighs any instant gratification. Don’t question it. Stay true to the commitments you have made to yourself. And congratulate yourself for your willpower. That’s just positive energy attracting more positive energy.
Ah. When the world around you seems gloomy, there is still a light shining somewhere. Find it. What are you grateful for? If you are reading this, you have your eyesight, you have the access to modern technology, you have BREATH. Take a moment and give thanks. Turn your focus to what’s good in your life. I feel myself resist this when I’m really on a pity roll. “Yes, I have my health BUT…” Force yourself to put it in perspective. Get out a picture of the people that mean something to you. Look in the mirror until you can see the life in your own eyes. Focus on what’s good in your life and you will get more of it.
Take action for someone else
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” -Albert Schweitzer
There is no better cure for the blues than helping someone else. Get your attention off of yourself… and on to someone who is in need. This will give you a break from your own state and things will look different when you get back. It’s hard to find Door #1 when you’ve already walked through Door #2.
This is the real test of self help, actually helping yourself. It’s all well and good to be positive and grateful when you’re winning the lotto or getting a promotion. But, how about when you’ve just lost thousands in the stock market and you’re worried about the security of your job? This is when the challenge is greatest, no doubt. But if you choose to believe in your own power and your own strength to make choices, these techniques are here for you. They will guide you out of the dark and into a brighter and more optimistic world.
Beating Bad News Blues