Yesterday I hit a wall between me and happiness. Changes in routine coupled with a disrupted sleep pattern left me feeling blah all morning. Then, I was visited by the Negativity Fairy. For about five minutes she tried to gift me with a big cloud of hopelessness pixie dust.
But then I remembered, “I can take her.”
What I know today that I didn’t know for a really long time is that my thoughts are just thoughts. Most of the time, they aren’t even real. They just represent what I tell myself is real. And, worse, sometimes my thoughts are lies.
A few years back there was some research released about the “happiness gene” that purported that some people are genetically predisposed to happiness. That person is not me. Never has been. I naturally look on the dark side of things. Always have.
When we were kids, and the family went to HoJo’s for supper, I was the kid at the table who could beat all the others with that placemat game, “What’s wrong with this picture?” I’m naturally great at seeing what’s wrong with any given situation. And, as a career professional strategist, that actually works for me.
But when I am in my actual life, which is where I aspire to be these days, my natural inclination for seeing what is broken is a surefire killer for happiness. So I’ve trained myself to change my mind. And you can, too. Indeed you must, if you want a life filled with joy and yummy memories.
So, if you don’t like the film noir double feature playing inside your own head, you need to get up and move to another theatre.
Here’s what I did yesterday:
I got busy. Remember, mood follows action!
I had set a few outcome goals for my work and had shared them with my Accountability Teammates. At midday, I called one of them to check my thinking. And then I got busier. I picked up the phone and made another call and then I made another call after that. And all this time, in the back of my mind, I was thinking “Suit up and show up.” “Take the focus off of you and put it on someone else.” “Look for someone to help.”
And lo and behold, by about the sixth phone call, it worked. I KNOW that mood follows action, and as I took small but persistent actions toward helping myself, the Negativity Fairy gave up and moved on.
And, voila! It turned out to be a reasonable successful day. I hit all of the outcome marks I had set for myself, and I was able to do it without eating an entire bag of Hershey Nuggets. Sweet!
So, the next time you feel crappy, put on your big girl panties and get on with it.
Suit Up. And Show Up.
Photo: Flickr, Moonjazz