Our emotions can be frustratingly fickle. We can go from being absolutely ecstatic to down in the dumps at the drop of a hat. I’m often surprised by how something as small as a careless comment or a hurtful memory can send me into a downward spiral within seconds.
When a bad case of the frowns comes along unexpectedly, it’s helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve to battle those dark, negative feelings before they do some serious damage. I’m still learning how to defend myself against a bad mood or a depressing thought, but here are a few of my ideas:
1. Take a long, deep breath. Sometimes I find myself reacting negatively to something that worries or upsets me before I even have a chance to think about what I’m doing. Before you react to something negative, take a couple of deep breaths and close your eyes – you’d be surprised how differently you perceive the situation after you get some good oxygen in your lungs.
2. Gabrielle Bernstein, a motivational life coach, speaker and author, says to touch your thumb to each of your fingers and for each one say another word in the phrase “peace begins with me” whenever you’re feeling stressed or angry. I find this technique really helps with calming down and flipping a situation on its head. If anything, it helps you focus on performing the action at hand (literally!) instead of dwelling on the negative thought or feeling, which makes it lose power.
3. Shield yourself from negative people, comments or situations by imagining a bright white or pink light around you. Half of mastering your mood is learning how to visualize things and imagine a different reality for yourself. If you can enhance your mood just a little bit by visualizing a bright light protecting you from dark, depressing auras, that’s half the battle.
4. Think of something that makes you feel grateful to be alive. When you dwell on negative things that make you unhappy, they’ll eventually become the building blocks of your reality. Instead of letting the things you can’t change affect your mood, let positive things like amazing friends and family, fresh flowers, sleeping in and beach days saturate your consciousness.
5. Do something that makes you happy. When we’re stressed out over having too much work to do or being faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem, it often feels like the world is crashing down and we’ll never be happy again. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! No matter what’s going on in our lives, there’s always enough time to grab a yummy coffee, go for a contemplative walk, smell the flowers or light a candle. Because after all, what’s life about if not enjoying the little things we’ve been blessed with? The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed or angry, remember that there’s always something to be joyful about, no matter how small.