Every once in awhile I find myself in a funk. Dragging my ass around. Pissing and moaning. Stuck to the couch. Feeling sorry for myself.
Most of the time I don’t even know what has caused it or what I’m feeling sorry about.
I can’t stand to be like that.
I have to make a conscious physical and mental effort to climb back out of it. One of the methods that I find that works for me is to try positive thinking. Sound lame? Generally I would agree, but there is a certain way that seems to work for me.
I’m not a little train engine that thinks to myself, “I think I can.”
I’m not some comedic Rob Schneider character thinking, “I can DO IT!”
I prefer a kick ass Governator attitude. I say to myself, “I’m Back!” I was good before and I am good again.
That’s Right! Lookout Bastards! I’m here and I’m back!
Start the ’80’s theme music.
I’m gonna get up early, I’m gonna knock this shit out!
You have to take it a step further than thinking “Im going to try.”
Some people find an activity that they enjoy. For some of us it would seem that enjoyment is either lost or so far diluted it is dangerous. For me, all I really need to do is focus on accomplishing things. I need an objective, even if it is only a series of small objectives. Wake up, go for a run, shower, start laundry, clean the house, grocery shopping, etc… These tasks seem menial but there is a huge difference in viewing failing to complete them at all or viewing them as a successful accomplishment. When overlooked and unaccomplished, failing to achieve these daily tasks can actually cause me to sink further into a hole.
This shit isn’t quick sand. Stand up, put one foot in front of the other and move out. If you fall off of the proverbial horse, you are no worse off than you were before but at least you were doing something. Just start from scratch and move out again.
Find a picture or a quote that will keep you optimistic and motivated. Place it on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, front door, or someplace where you will see it everyday. I took a picture of the MMA Tapout logo and scratched the word “Don’t” over the top left corner and placed it where I could see it from my desk at work.
Another important piece of this positive thinking TTP is to surround yourself with positive people. Most humans are wired to feed off of and reflect the attitudes of those around them. When you are surrounded by negativity you will only find yourself thinking negatively in turn. Do you remember going to a bar or club and being surrounded by people who just relaxed and had a good time? What about a time that you went out and were with that one guy who was just a buzz kill? I avoid these people. I actually get irritated and almost irate when I start listening to people start whining about shit and saying things like FML. Look across some of the blogs and articles to see how many people talk about how much a supportive loved one, friend, or doctor has meant to them in their struggle.
In addition to self motivating, you may also start to work towards becoming self aware of your attitudes and indicators.
* Warning: Skip the next paragraph if you aren’t interested in scientific mumbo jumbo.
The Mayo Clinic identifies different types of negative self-talk:
Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.
Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. You refuse to go out with friends for fear that you’ll make a fool of yourself. Or one change in your daily routine leads you to think the entire day will be a disaster.
Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you’re a total failure.
Try to have a sense of humor for Christ’s sake.
I suppose I could do some more research, but have heard that laughter releases endorphins and decreases dopamine levels. I have read that endorphins are chemicals that are 10 times more powerful than the pain killing drug morphine, and dopamine is involved in the “fight or flight response” and is associated with elevated blood pressure.
What works for me might not work for you, but I am putting it out there. It really takes some effort and self awareness sometimes. I wish it I had an easy answer, and if you have anything that works for you…I am open to some suggestions.