The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
~ John Milton
We all have those days when nothing, and I mean nothing, seems to go right! You wake up “on the wrong side of the bed” and it’s downhill from there. You get some negative thought in that brain of yours, and the next thing you know you stub your toe! And it hurts! So now you’re cursing to yourself…stumbling to try to get refocused on your day. Your toe is still throbbing, and you’re mad at yourself for being so clumsy, and mad at the day for….whatever. The point is you are traveling down a road of negativity and it’s fueling itself, gaining momentum as you go! If you don’t stop this train it’s going to pick up passengers (more negativity) all day long, and you better get ready, because you’re in for a tough one if you don’t stop it!
But how? How do you stop it? The train is rolling fast…how can you just jump off? Pull the emergency stop cord and STOP THAT TRAIN!! Don’t wait for the next scheduled station!
Stop the Negativity Train
Step One: Realize you are on it!
Gosh this may sound super obvious, but to many of us it is not! Shockingly. We think that there actually is a “wrong side of the bed”. Um, nope! That’s made up. OK, I’m laughing now, but seriously, some people actually get caught in the trap of thinking that a bad mood has set upon them and they are at the mercy of it…like they have no choice but to ride the mood until it wears off. Nonsense!
So the first step is to realize you are headed down the negativity path (however you want to see it) and that you don’t need to stay on it!
Step Two: Jump Off!
This also may seem obvious, but how many times have you found yourself either too angry or too unhappy to even realize that you can stop going in this direction? When we are caught up in our own world of emotions, regardless of the cause, often we can’t see past. (By the way, it’s ALL in our heads). What is in our heads creates our reality. So if you are thinking negative thoughts pretty soon your reality starts imitating your inner world.
Jump off!! As if your life depended on it! No wallowing!
For example, almost every time I hurt myself I am in a bad mood (not the other way around). If you start paying attention to this phenomenon you too will be amazed. It happens when I’m impatient, frustrated, flustered, unhappy…these are the emotions that proceed an injury for me…almost every time!! Crazy!
How you jump off is up to you, but here are some of my favorites.
How to Jump Off the Negativity Train
- Stop and say a prayer
- Make a mental or written gratitude list
- Put a smile on your face AND FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT
- Get out of yourself and help someone else
These are all practical action-oriented steps that give you back control. They help you step back from the emotional, irrational mood being in control of your day and taking back THE MOMENT!
Take Back Control of Your Mind!
When you let your mind control you all kinds of things happen, most of them NOT GOOD! You need to control your mind. When you let your mind control you most often you are in the past or in the future.
If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.
~ Lao Tzu
When your mind is in the past you engage in these negative activities:
- replaying negative conversations
- replaying hurtful moments, subconsciously or consciously
- analyzing the past
- second-guessing your decisions
- wondering “what-ifs”
- letting doubt rule your world
- inhibiting progress
- inhibiting decisiveness
- wasting energy
- wasting time
When you are in the future you are often engaged in these negative activities:
- anxiety about outcomes over which you have no control
- allowing fear to take over
- imagined fears
- stopping forward progress
This is all self-sabotage. Not only is this sapping your current energy, it is creating a negative reality. Worry is a wasted activity. Can I please say this again? Worry is a waste! There is NOTHING productive about worry.
Why We Worry
Besides it being an unconscious habit some people worry because they actually believe it serves a purpose! Some believe:
a) it’s your “job”. You may even believe that worrying shows you’re a caring and conscientious person.
b) worrying helps you avoid bad things, prepare for the worst, or come up with solutions.
Negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, further add to anxiety and keep it going (much in the same way worrying about getting to sleep often keeps you awake).
But positive beliefs about worrying can be even more damaging. It’s tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying protects you. In order to stop worry and anxiety for good, you must give up your belief that worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.
WORRY IS A TOTAL WASTE!!!
It is a waste of your power, a waste of your energy, a waste of your time. We are creatures of habit. Habits are hard to break, but they are not impossible. You need to reprogram your thinking, but it can change your whole life. Wouldn’t it be worth trying if your whole life could improve?? I think it is. How can you stop?
- Practice being aware that you are in a state of worry. Awareness is the first step.
- Next, realize this fundamental truth: that it is a pure waste of your time. Worrying will not help you or the situation. It will ONLY hurt you.
- Let go. This is where the phrase “Let Go & Let God” comes from. No matter what we do, we are not in control of the universe! We are not God! Why do we try to think we can control the universe? It’s just crazy! It is a waste of our energy when we try to control what we can’t. We could be using our energy controlling what we can…ourselves!
- Then, redirect. Take back control of your mind. This is where meditation is SO helpful. Get back to the here and now. Take back your power and be present.
- Use your energy and presence to do good. Be present for the people around you, for family, even strangers. You will immediately feel a difference and begin to reap the rewards of redirecting your energy to the moment you are living.
- Finally, remember to practice these steps daily. You will continually improve.
The Power of Now
To help you with this all-important awareness and ability I highly suggest you read (or reread) the book by Eckhart Tolle “The Power of Now” . I read this about 5 years ago, and it changed my thinking tremendously. It is definitely a book that should be regularly revisited so I’m getting ready to reread it.
Now that I start my days with “The Miracle Morning” (click here to read the blog post about how this book changed my life, ‘6 Simple Habits to Change Your Life‘) I actually have time to read again. Ever since I started Instagram as my “hobby” it replaced my free time that I used to set aside for reading. I have recently realized that we have time for exactly what we make time for. In other words, saying we don’t have time for something is a thinly veiled excuse. If we really wanted to do it, we would MAKE time to do it! I’m starting to see right through my excuses and recognize them for what they are…excuses! It’s amazing how we think we’re fooling ourselves. In reality we are making choices and prioritizing all day long.
A Final Reminder
When life is going well it is so easy to be happy. We get complacent and think we’ve got this thing called life down pat. We’ve got it going on. But as soon as things go wrong, which they eventually do, we falter. We need to have the tools and the mindset to realize that wallowing in self-pity is no way to respond to life’s challenges.
Take responsibility for your own happiness!
Nothing can bring you happiness but yourself.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
With love, gratitude and well wishes,
Julie & Jodie