Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes, the Clouds want to Come out and Play

My sunny optimistic outlook sometimes goes through periods of grey clouds and storms. When I'm happy all the time, I don't get practice dealing with the "not-so-happy" events. I found myself not having any patience for them but still having to deal with the emotions and energy that are there.

Luckily, I DO have a LOT of practice looking at the bright side of things AND so, I thought I'd share some of my "toolkit" on how to make the sun shine despite the clouds over head.

1) Go with the flow: For me, being angry or upset is not a productive state. I've seen many people effectively channel their anger into something quite positive and if you can do that, its the best way to work through it. For myself, those negative times leaves me wanting to just get out of them as quickly as possible and I sometimes forget to let the feelings flow because negativity has a tendency to linger and fester. Don't try to hold back what you feel because that will come back to bite you later. I'm not suggesting you scream at everyone you meet when you're upset. I am suggesting that you find a safe space; by yourself or with good friends who will understand and allow yourself to just be - whatever it is. I like to announce that I need some time to just rant/vent and I'm lucky to have friends and family who are more than happy to listen to me when I'm in this state. The other thing is, with my really good friends, they just give me a slap upside the head or a fresh look at things which always helps to calm me down. Its great to find sympathy but don't wallow in it so much that it becomes an extended bitch fest - THAT is just asking for worse things to come out and play.

2) Root Cause: My geekiness emerges here because I'm all about the root cause. I always try to figure out what triggered the "bad" feeling just so I can understand where things come from and deal with it at the beginning. Its hard to do since all you're into at the moment is the emotion. After "letting it out" I then try to evaluate why I was so angry/sad/upset in the first place. Almost all the time, when I can figure out the root, the clouds don't seem so ominous anymore.

3) Do Something that Reaffirms Your Joy: There are better things to do than spend your time in a negative place. Best to do what you love and it will help you to move on from under the clouds. Better yet, get on the path to something better for yourself and that will certainly dispel those clouds. Learn what you can (if there's anything to learn) and MOVE ON! Life's too rich to let a cloudy day bring you down for very long. Sing in the rain, dance and splash around, celebrate something and pretty soon, you'll feel that positive energy taking over. My personal joys are playing with my niece and nephew, dancing, ice cream with a friend, cooking and sharing food, doing something good for someone else and being with people who help me to laugh at myself.

4) Engage with Something New: I find that if my brain is occupied with learning something new or starting a project or refining a skill, there's no room for negativity. Creation has a magic on its own that I find is strong enough to trump anything negative. I keep a list of things I want to do and projects that I would like to start so when I'm particularly stuck in a negative place, I'll look at that list to find something to look forward to.

5) Something to Smile about: Ah, yes, the smile lifts everything. If you "write down" moments that brought you joy you can always look at them again to remember those moments. Whatever the trigger: words, pictures, music, the smell of roses, that view of the bay, there are memories in you that just make you smile so bring them out and enjoy them again.

It boils down to this: surround yourself with the things, people and places that bring you joy and when the clouds come out to play, you'll be armed with everything you need to see it through.

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling”
~Samuel Taylor

My niece True and nephew Max are sources of unexpected joy - I thought I'd share a moment of them clowning around that just makes me smile:

From Tee4Life

1 comment:

  1. Hi France, Thanks for sharing. Your first gem reminds me of a book that I reread when I need to regain perspective. It's called "Flow" by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi.