Today, I had a wobble! That’s what I call it when I wake up and feel a bit rubbish – it’s going to be a bad day! I lay in bed a while and thought about all the things I should be doing instead of lying there, so that I could make myself feel just that bit worse and reinforce the fact that this was definitely going to be a bad day. Later, as I wasted time scrolling through my social media feed, I found only stories that upset and enraged me, and so added a double whammy of negativity to my already down-in-the-dumps mood. Reading the news contributed some righteous anger, and finally, some tears of desperation and hopelessness. By lunch time I was feeling properly down and I still had all the chores to do, the dog to walk, a coaching call to make, and I’d not written a single word of my new book.
Yesterday, I was on cloud nine! I’d had a great week so far – a new venture was panning out beautifully, Laughter Room and Meditation Room had been well attended and appreciated, a coaching client had a breakthrough, writing had been a breeze, and singing with the choir was its usual uplifting and joyful experience. I don’t know why I had awoken so morose this day.
But the thing is, sometimes there is no reason, or at least not one that’s logically apparent at that time. Sometimes, we get moody just because. The good news is you can choose to change it. Of course, while you’re in a grump, actually making the decision to exit the doldrums stage right is a massive undertaking. You are grumpy, and there are plenty of reasons to feel grumpy and to stay grumpy if you just look around. Seek and you shall find! Immersing yourself in all that is bad and negative in the world and proving yourself right, justified even, is seductively tempting. Coming out of it, on the other hand, is a tough decision to make.
I asked myself whether there was any profit to be had from continuing to submerge myself in helplessness and despair. As you might imagine, there was none. I cried out to God and the Universe [insert faeries, angels, spirit guides, soul or whatever you might even slightly believe in or feels right.] “Please, help me!” I know it sounds a bit dotty, but whenever I ask for help, it always comes Maybe it is a higher power or maybe it’s just me – but it works, so I do it.
It did. I made the decision to get off the sofa, and went to wash and dress. Then I started on the chores. Afterwards, I ventured out into the cold, grey light with the dog. As we walked, I took a few deep breaths of the cool crisp air. I heard some birds chattering in the top of a huge tree and paused to watch as the dog sniffed around. I really listened. I became absorbed in the moment. As we continued on our way, I stopped thinking about how awful everything was and walked mindfully through the muddy meadow, noticing how the low afternoon sun highlighted silvery cobwebs on the grass.
Feeling better, when I returned home, I messaged my coachee to alert him to the fact it was now time to talk. Attempting to connect, I found that my Skype account, which worked so smoothly last week, needed updating. I had to download a whole new package – arghh! Abandoning Skype, we tried something else. But the messaging app we wanted to use would not play in my browser. I could easily have gone back into a blue funk, but instead smoothly changed browser and took the call. We had a great conversation, during which I helped him make the business decisions he wanted to take, and it all ended highly satisfactorily. Now, as it approaches bed-time, I have a completely different outlook – it wasn’t a bad day after all – I am writing and all is well.
So, the strategy for not having a bad day and coming out of a wobble is this:
- Forgive yourself for not getting onto your tasks right away. Don’t beat yourself up and engage in countless rounds of self-flagellating mind-talk.
- Avoid the news and social media in the morning. It wastes time and can contribute so much negativity.
- Ask for help even though there’s no-one there. The very act of asking out loud will start to change your mood, even if it is just to laugh at yourself for being so goofy!
- Change the tone of voice you use to speak to yourself. Make it a funny or silly one. That will change its effect, which in turn will help you to change the words you use to motivate yourself to more encouraging ones.
- Make a decision and immediately take some congruent action. This is the hard part and really aided by the previous points in this strategy.
- Take several deep breaths of fresh air, outside in nature if possible. If not, take some deep breaths wherever you are. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms you down, and oxygenates your mind-body.
- Be mindful. Pay attention to your immediate environment. Stop thinking about stuff and simply look, hear, engage your senses to their fullest for a moment or two.
- For each task you undertake congratulate yourself. Tick it off the list (either mentally or physically) and take a second to feel that sense of achievement, before moving swiftly on to the next. You’ll start the feel-good chemicals flowing in your body.
- Remember you can choose your thinking and choose your mood. It’s an awesome power! Use it wisely.
A bad day really doesn’t have to be that long. Allow yourself a little latitude to feel whatever it is you are really feeling, then stop! Make a decision to change your mood. Turn it into a momentary wobble. You are human, but you do have at least one super-power – the ability to choose.
Have a good day!
Come and find out more about meditation, mindfulness and the power of your inner voice at an evening talk, or book a coaching session via email or call 07989 404112. Read my book – A Book For A Change – for other hints and tips on how to change your mind.