Wake up early. Eat something healthy. Read something inspiring. Prep for positivity.
There’s plenty of options to set yourself up for a positive day. Yet some days you just won’t be happy.
As someone who loves teaching others tricks to be more positive, I don’t hide that I still have my bad days. I share these days because I know the frustrating trying to learn new behaviors. We badly want to emulate them, yet they seem out of our reach. All the while, it seems the teacher has some “magical power” which we can’t seem to utilize ourselves. So let’s debunk the myth that this has to be hard. Believe it or not, part of this process involves allowing ourselves to be negative.
Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t an excuse to be grumpy all the time. Rather, it’s to emphasize how acknowledging your current feelings can help reach the ones you desire.
For instance, this week I’m visiting friends and family in the Boston area. My friends will all tell you I love opportunities to visit home. My mood always improves when I have a trip coming up. Less than a week to go? Wicked happy. On the train ride to the airport? SO MUCH HAPPINESS.
….except for this trip.
I hopped on the Red Line and was feeling rather tired. When I’m tired, I tend to focus on more negatives: My throat felt scratchy. Am I getting sick? My flight would be getting in late. That won’t help. Will I be too cold this trip? What if my flight will get cancelled? What if I never make it as an actor?
Note: Being sleep deprived is a terrible time to start assuming things.
Clearly I wasn’t feeling very happy. So what did I do about it? I gave in.
I realized I was trying to fight my fatigue. I was wishing and hoping that I would feel more excited. Then I’d get mad at myself for not feeling better. Once I acknowledged how I was feeling, I didn’t have to fight anymore. I wasn’t conjuring up magical feelings that didn’t match how I actually felt.
I switched trains. I got on the Orange Line. Suddenly… I was in a much better mood. I was going home!
…granted, this tends to happen when one departs the Red Line.
I’ll admit this might not work for everyone. We all operate differently. I personally struggle reaching positive emotions by fighting off negatives and pretending they don’t exist. Sure, sometimes you can fake it til you make it. But more often I prefer to check in with myself first. Then I can work on how to best switch my focus – not fight it.
Doesn’t mean you won’t forget to dump your water before going through security though…
Your turn: What do you usually do when you’re struggling to be in a better mood? What tricks do you use to change your focus. I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Before you comment, know this: The concept of “I can’t make myself feel better” is bullshit. You can be happier. You just need to know what works best for you.
Go get ‘em.