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So last week I was working with a client who was struggling to find something positive in her life, right now.
She could tell me about things which were going to happen in her life, holidays coming up, events which she was planning on attending, but she couldn’t tell me about anything which was good in her life right now, or had been good in the past week. She sat there shaking her head at me and saying, ‘I really can’t think of anything’.
I always give it time when clients feel like this, as I know that the mind is resisting as when we are not feeling good about stuff, part of us wants to stay feeling not good about stuff. Sound strange? Our brain is wired to default into ‘worst case scenario’ mode so that if we are not feeling good about our lives right now, angry, frustrated, even anxious, we approach the what ifs as being the things we need to remember to keep ourselves safe, from failure, and ultimately, to survive. When we feel overwhelmed, guilty or in a downright bad mood we will look for the things which keep us there, keep us miserable. Whether it is going into work and shutting ourselves off from others, hiding from the world at home for the day and only coming out when we absolutely have to or having a good old moan to a friend about how rubbish life is, we often default to do what we feel keeps us supported and safe, but very often it actually makes us feel more miserable.
Sometimes we will do things to ‘cheer ourselves up’, book a holiday, an event or a social occasion for some point in the future so that we have something ‘to look forward to’. But what about right now? Having a day where we don’t feel great is fine, it happens and the strength is being able to accept it and actually say ‘no, I am not okay….today’.
We can’t be this vibrant being all the time, life happens and it is up to us to manage it that counts, and how we get back from the doldrums. So back to my client, eventually, after a few minutes she said to me ‘I had a cheese sandwich today which I really enjoyed’.
So it became all about the cheese sandwich. She said it in such a way that indicated she thought it was a ridiculous thing to say, but it was the best thing she had said during the entire session.
It highlighted that if she could remember and identify those small, seemingly insignificant things about her day, it would really make a difference to the bigger things.
Because finding the small things starts us on the pathway of positivity.
It’s not the holidays, the weekends away, the trips to the theme parks which make the difference, it’s the cheese sandwich, the little things, the building blocks to making us feel better, right now.
The issue with only focusing on the big events in our lives, ‘it’s okay I feel fed up right now, I have a holiday coming up and then it will all be okay’ is that, in this case, holidays don’t last forever, days out come to end, and you are then back where you were before.
Why not work out what you need to do to feel good right now?
What is good right now or has been good in the very recent past that you can identify for yourself or for those around you that uplifted you, made you feel good.
- It may be that you weren’t late for school this morning, BIG achievement.
- It may be that your children actually remembered to clean their teeth before leaving the house without being prompted (big #mummyfail on that one for me today!)
- You could have actually managed to have some breakfast before you left the house and this was a big thumbs up as it showed that the morning flowed better than they normally do.
This is your new normal. These are the things you want to recognise, to remember and to celebrate, because, lovely mums, they are an achievement!
At this time of year I have a mini celebration every time I get to the end of the week. With so much to remember beyond packed lunches and water bottles it becomes a military operation just to get organised. Plus my oldest has a residential trip next week so piling that onto my list has got to be cause to give myself a big pat on the back.
When we recognise the good things, we feel better, we feel motivated. We get a lovely flood of that important hormone, serotonin and this leads us to want to recognise more of the good stuff.
So – what’s been your cheese sandwich today?
Have an awesome week.