A few days ago I was in a bit of a funk. I started the new year with a lot of goals, but found myself lacking enthusiasm and feeling rather blah about my progress. One negative thought led to another negative thought until I was in a certifiably bad mood. Fed up with being fed up, I treated my happiness like an underdog in basketball; I applied the full-court press. Instead of focusing on trying to be happy, I grilled my unhappiness. Here’s how.
Pause. Are You Ruminating?
Ruminating never solves anything. Here’s an analogy. If you’re stuck in an elevator you’re probably not going to sit there and focus on how you’re stuck in the elevator, you’re probably going to focus on how the hell you’re gonna get out of there. It’s the same with negative thoughts. When you find yourself spiraling into them, take a pause, and ask yourself, am I solving anything by thinking about this or just digging deeper into the problem?
Anytime I found myself ruminating I would literally stop whatever I was doing and ask myself. Really Ashley? Do you really want to keep thinking about that? Are you going to draw some prolific conclusions? Nope. You’re just going to keep digging and digging into nothing. So, just pause and tell yourself, nope, not this time when you find yourself spiraling into negative thoughts. Your brain will eventually get tired and you’ll stop thinking about them.
Meditation. It’s Not just for Hipsters
Falling asleep at night is probably one of the most challenging things to do when your brain is playing like a No. 1 seed in the tournament of stress. I find that meditation really helps. I know, I know, meditation sounds super new agey and weird. I thought the same thing until I started doing it before going to sleep. I like to think of meditation as a way of training your brain to be a great athlete. Discipline, focus, and practice are the keys to successful meditation. You’re essentially learning how to exercise your focus muscle. Plus you want to fall asleep right?
When you first start meditating it might feel a little unnatural, I recommend downloading the Smiling Mind app, it’s like a training camp for your mind. I recommend doing the “Breath and Thoughts” and “Breath and Emotions” exercises. It walks you through everything and you’ll be a pro at managing nighttime stress before you know it. I promise once you complete one of their exercises you’ll feel so much calmer and more relaxed.
Talk it Out.
Humans are designed to socialize. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it’s important to build relationships with people. Talk out the bad stuff with people you trust BUT maintain solution-focused energy and, if possible, a sense of humor. Doing these two things will make your conversations with them more pleasant and productive. If you find yourself spiraling into further negativity while talking it out, redirect the conversation. Ask for advice. Ask the person to tell you a story about their experience with the problem and how they solved it or overcame it. Anytime I’ve done this I’ve felt better, especially if the other person’s story was funny. Humans are great storytellers. So talk it out.
Listen to the Full-Court Press Playlist. I narrowed it down to 10 (most of which have great music videos) but message me for some other great ones.
Elevate – St. Lucia
Rescue – Yuna
Happy – Pharrell
A Little Opus – Little Comets
Ali in the Jungle – The Hours
Strong Will Continue – Damian Marley & Nas
Silhouettes – Avicii
Demarco – I Love My Life
Forca – Nelly Furtado
Michael Jackson – Every Song He Ever Created
Vision Boards, Motivation Walls, and Other Free Therapy
When I first heard of vision boards I laughed. It sounded like an elementary school art project, but a few days ago (coincidentally during my bad mood) I heard about people creating and sharing them on Pinterest and I have to admit, I’m intrigued. It’s like an awesome college mascot but for you. You look at it and think, hell yea, I’m gonna win! So this weekend I’m rounding up inspiration for my board on Pinterest.
Overall, my bad mood didn’t last long. There’s always that one unstoppable Cinderella in the tournament. Be the Cinderella story of your life.