Days like yesterday (and the day before) remind me of how fragile one’s state of mind can be. While I’m usually able to stay relatively motivated, grateful of my blessings and hopeful for the future – there are times when all of it seems to desert me and leave me feeling…empty and vulnerable. I’m not exactly sure why these occasional moods descend upon me – but I suspect that there must be a greater reason.
The Possible Culprits:
Physiological – Is it the result of hunger, fatigue, sleep deprivation, or a prelude to getting sick?
Environmental – Is dreary weather contributing to my moods – is it rainy, cloudy or dark?
Sociological – Am I soaking up the prevalent moods of those around me?
Psychological – Is my mental focus subtly shifting towards more emphasis on what’s wrong with my life rather than what’s right with it? Am I placing more of my thoughts on future goals that haven’t yet been met instead of focusing on in the present?
Spiritual – Could these empty moments serve as fertile ground to rethink situations, abandon old plans and possibly plant some new seeds for the future? Perhaps feeling uninspired with the current path offers us a neutral moment to redesign a future that will better please us?
Yet, with age and experience, I’ve discovered that these moments are best handled by taking the position of an unbiased observer. I try to distance myself from the feelings and analyze them from a neutral space. Making big, sweeping changes from this state of mind is almost always the wrong thing to do. Yet I can sometimes gain greater clarification on my thoughts through the examination.
My friend once gave me some awesome advice about navigating those miserable, moody moments. He said to silently address those feelings by saying,
“I see you there – and you can stay if you want to – but I’m not going to give you any power.”
This advice has been extremely helpful to me. It establishes a non-combative way of acknowledging your feelings without feeding the monster. My main goal in life – the one that supersedes everything else – is to maintain my hard-earned inner peace and nurture my happiness, and this simple motto allows me to do that.
Heeding this motto – along with reversing the possible causes above – puts me back in a power position and allows me to ride out the storm from a more knowledgeable place. It works like this:
Back it Up!
Physiological – I address my own needs just as I would a baby’s. Do I need to eat, sleep, or change something in my immediate environment? Taking measures to increase my own physical comfort is crucial now.
Environmental – If the weather has me homebound – then I willingly give into it – abandoning any other plans that I may have had. Instead, I search for activities that are best suited to this moment and then allow myself to engage in them without any guilt or regrets. This may be the opportunity for much-needed downtime that I’ve been hoping for.
Sociological – I consciously take stock of the moods and situations of those around me. Grumpiness is contagious – and I make it my goal to allow others their feelings – without making them my own.
Psychological – These moments are no time for long-term planning! I immerse myself only in this current moment – right now – and actively do a gratitude assessment. You haven’t lived this long without already achieving some awesome things. Take these down moments to honor them by acknowledging their presence in your life. Just because you’ve already have them doesn’t mean you should take them for granted.
Spiritual – From gratitude comes the inner knowledge that something wonderful is at work in our lives – and always has been. It presents unlimited possibilities, and new beginnings – unending opportunities to find even more fulfillment. Ironically, it’s in these moments when we feel the most alone – that we realize that we’ve never really been alone at all. Something wonderful travels alongside us, offering a safe place to fall on days like these, and then lifts us back up and places our feet squarely upon the road to our next adventure. When you realize that – then you don’t have to know where you’re going – all you have to do is show up!
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Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.