When your ‘get up and go’ has ‘got up and gone……!’
Do you ever have those days when you feel like everything is crashing down on you? Those days when you feel like you have the opposite of the Midas touch and everything you touch turns to ****? I know the feeling well! Recently I found myself with a magnetic force field around me that seemed to destroy everything and anything that I touched with a plug attached to it. We have 3 laptops in the office (one of them is only a month old) and every single one of them cowered at my touch and decided to shut down (usually when I was in the middle of writing an urgent email!) I was prepping for a workshop and the printer decided that my hand-outs were not worthy of their ink so gave up the ghost. As for the internet, let’s not go there. I could feel the cortisol rising and the pressure building (I swear that the technology around me is sensitive to my mood and clams up at the first sign of tetchiness!)
Choose Your Mood
It’s on days like these that I really have to work hard to take some of my own advice and press the pause button on life. To take the time to ‘choose my mood’. It’s days like these when I cling onto memories of a life changing article written by the Sunday Times Journalist Matt Rudd in 2012. It was one of the catalyst for Tuesday Club. It was based on a study of people in their last weeks and months of life when they were asked, “what advice would they like us, the living to learn from them?” One of their top five tips was,
“Choose to be happier!”
People at the end of their lives had recognised that, even in the most difficult of circumstances you can choose your mood and that your thoughts impact your feelings, your feelings impact your behaviours and that the reinforcement of your own internal communication cycle has the potential to turn you into a glass overflowing or a glass completely shattered kind of gal! Many years ago, I also remember reading Terry Waite, the humanitarian and author’s book about the time he was taken hostage in Beirut. He recounted singing at the top of his lungs and experiencing real joy whilst chained to a radiator in the most desperate of situations. For several years he had to ‘choose his mood’ and imagine that he had chosen the experience to live in filth and squalor and to have almost every single dignity and human right taken from him. He would use it as an opportunity to spend time with God and strengthen his faith.
So, if today is a challenging day, if it’s conspired to slap you in the face or stamp on your toes, here are my top five tips for re-connect with your elusive motivation and lighten your mood!
- Breathe – slowly, deeply and count to 10. It sounds trite but it really does help you to reduce your limbic brain, ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response and give you time to consider, ‘how big a problem is this…really?’
- Step away from the desk/change the scene! Remove yourself from the environment that is causing you stress and go walk – fast for 15 minutes (around the block or at least around the building). A change of scenery will help to think differently. Increasing your heart rate will also reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) and increase your endorphins to help you feel more relaxed.
- Put it into context. How important will this issue be when you reflect on it in 6 months or a years’ time? Is it a life changing disaster or is it really a temporary irritation?
- Change your thinking! Imagine you were your own coach (or in my case, your own IT expert!) What would they say? What would they do in your situation? If you can’t think of an answer, consider who has dealt with a similar situation who (and this is the important bit) had a positive approach to resolving it and might be able to coach you through your issue?
- Look for the learning. Take 10 minutes to reflect on the people you know who have overcome challenges and used them as an opportunity to learn (new skills, about themselves or about others). Consider what can you learn from this experience and how will you use the learning to reduce the likelihood of it happening again?
Finally, listen to your favourite music, watch 10 minutes of funnies or inspirational stories on You Tube…anything that will ignite your humour hormones. See one of my favourite motivational stories about a group of boys in Thailand achieving the seemingly unachievable. Here’s hoping that you have a productive, fluid, hassle free day!