|Having dug myself out of the funk I mentioned in my last blog, I woke on Monday feeling myself getting pulled back in, because…well, as Alexander and The Terrible Horrible No Good Day says, “Some days are like that.”
True confessions: After finishing a big project the night before, I celebrated with a glass of wine. Afterwards, I predictably didn’t feel like doing anything except plopping in front of the tube (and not to watch Super Soul Sunday with Oprah). While watching TV, I began to crave sugar, so I had a whole Cliff bar (I’ve been trying to make my only sugar a half a cliff bar at most, since apparently turning 50 is accompanied by ten pounds).
I set my next day’s alarm for 5:30 AM, but I had already given myself permission to sleep through it, and thus began my day. I bluffed my way through my meditation, lacklusterly filled out my daily planner, and by midmorning something else had occurred, which threw me further into the dumps. Now I was beginning to question my value on this earth all together. This is the definition of having your head up your butt.
Years ago, this state would have found me calling a friend, passively waiting for them to say some words that would make me feel better about myself. “You’re great, Ab! You deserve this time off, look at what you’ve accomplished!” Or if I were upset about a rejection of some kind it’d be like “Listen, the real problem is that people are intimidated by you. You’re too brilliant, that’s the problem.”
That was the old me. Now there is a new sheriff in town (the sheriff is also me…get it?). Now when these days happen, I kick into Operation Pull Head Out of Butt (OPHOB).
See the bold below for what I did:
Got Physical: I knew I had to get some endorphins going, so I closed my computer and decided to hop on my bike, never-mind the 90 degree weather, this was an emergency.
Listened: I knew exercise wasn’t going to completely do it. I imagined myself getting home and still battling my mood. So, I gave my phone a quick charge, found an uplifting meditation track from a mentor of mine and decided to listen to that while I pedaled along.
Honestly, my slide down was predictable; I’m useless after a drink. God love the people who can enjoy a cold one, slip back into their ski boots and do a few more runs.
What happened after I began OPHOB was also predictable. About ten minutes into my ride and audio accompaniment, I began to have inspired thoughts (one of them for this blog, which I had heretofore been idea-less). I say this is predictable, because having learned (and now teaching) how the brain works, I know that inspiration can’t come when we’re in the dumps, because we can only think as great as the emotion we’re feeling. The part of our brain that we use to create solutions, generate ideas and from which our get-up-and-go originates, becomes active when we experience elevated emotions. When we are mired in negativity – be it anger, shame, insecurity, frustration, sadness or the like, that part of our brain is closed off…but it’s only one door down. It’s up to us to open it.
Here’s what I did just to be sure to move into a better state:
Connected: Before I left on my bike ride, I jotted down the Zoom info for an Alanon meeting that would be taking place during my ride, so I could tune in and listen to the wisdom, strength and hope of others.
Gave of myself: It is often said that when we’re struggling, the best thing we can do is to be of service. This gets us out of our myopic focus on ourselves. When I got home, I sent a video chat to a friend who I know needs support right now. I also decided to put my work aside and give my son some focused attention (not the seventeen- year-old, that might be an anti-gift, but the nine-year-old).
Read: Finally, I read something written by someone far more intelligent than me. This almost never fails. I can choose any person or genre from Simon Sinek to Joe Dispenza to Brene Brown. It doesn’t matter, it’s just about learning something new or being reminded of something I already knew or becoming inspired.
I didn’t know when my head would un-lodge, I only knew it would remain my priority until it occurred. Why? Because my emotional state is an urgent matter. Being angry, victimized, down on myself, covered in shame, mildly irritable, or whatever it may be, is having my head up my butt, period. Life is meant to be lived in joy and harmony (whatever it takes, and how ever long it takes to get there).
When we move out of negativity, we see solutions instead of problems, joy where there was sorrow, and relief where there was worry (not to mention we’re a lot more pleasant to be around).
It’s natural to be taken over by a mood, or fall off an emotional cliff when life hits hard, but that state isn’t the essence of YOU. Do what it takes to get your head out of your butt. You owe it to yourself, and everyone around you.
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