Its seems like every time I experience an endorphin rush, be it during a yoga class, a great run or time spent with my kids - I am tested. And by tested I mean, the universe throws a bunch of crap at me that threatens to take away my happy and leave me with depleted endorphins.
I'm sure you've been there, too. You are geeked up on endorphins, full of gratitude and positivity and boom - it happens. Traffic is backed up and you are late for a meeting; you go home to screaming kids and a howling dog - moving you from zen to anxiety; maybe you show up at your less than fulfilling job with every intention of being positive and then you have a run-in with a coworker and it all goes south.
You ask yourself, how do I find gratitude in this? How do I keep a positive attitude when I'm so stressed out? How, how, how?
I'm sure there are people out there that are Little Miss Sunshine 24/7. Because I'm pretty transparent, I'll say I'm not one of them. Life is hard. Most days I do a good job pulling myself together, looking at the glass half full and doing the right things to keep my mojo going - but sometimes, I want to raise my hands up in defeat.
"You win, universe!"
But I don't.
I'm not perfect. Life isn't perfect. We start our days with every intention to be our own version of Little Miss Sunshine but when we get derailed it isn't always easy to get back to center. To reset. To forget.
Here's the good news. Memory is an amazing thing, and I find that because I know what "happy" or "centered" feels like for me - if I take a little time to refocus, reset and tune in to what's going on, I can prevent Little Miss Sunshine from turning into a storm cloud with threatening damage.
I have a handful of things I pull from my arsenal when I start to take a detour from sunshine to clouds. Sometimes, I have to do more than one thing on the list to get myself back to a calm place - but I’ve found success. Here are some ways I hit the reset button that may work for you.
Breathe. I know, it sounds funny that we have to remind ourselves to do something our body naturally does. But, dude - have you ever really paid attention to yourself during tense times and noticed that you're holding your breath? So, when the universe spits on you - be intentional. Close your eyes, inhale deeply (like, as deep as you can) and push all that negativity out. Spend time doing a few cycles of deep breathing. It will help you refocus, recharge and reset.
Move. Get your butt up and exercise. Get outside. Take a brisk walk, go for a run, hit up your yoga class. If you are at work & confined to an office - do some stretches, move your hips side-to-side, walk the stairs. Movement is my therapy, it is time spent in my own mind, hashing through things and typically the endorphins that come with getting my heart rate up will help me figure out how to react to whatever is going on.
Put yourself in timeout. Seriously. My toddler does this when he is visibly exhausted, can’t figure out how to handle his emotions and is overwhelmed by the circumstances. I’ll ask him, do you want to go in time out? And he replies with confidence, “yes”. Five minutes later he is back to his happy little self. Stepping away from the situation that has shaken up your mood will allow you to reset. When you leave timeout, leave behind the stuff that put you there. Just like our kiddos do.
Drink water. Yes, water - not vodka. It helps me. It has a cleansing effect. Cools my insides, calms my nerves and provides a distraction. Try it.
Find your inner kid. Or, find your kid and play. Dance. Roll down a hill. Run around the house flailing your arms and squealing. Let go. When you are involved in something that usually brings happiness and joy, it's much easier to drop what's got you bent out of shape.
Turn on some music (really loud). And, if you are in your car - roll down every window, let your hair fly free and sing along. You'll probably make the person in the car next to you happy too.
Write. For me, journaling is instant therapy. I open the notebook and just let things go. There is no structure, you can write sloppy, draw pictures - whatever you are feeling. No one else is going to read it, it’s yours.
Smile. Try it. The next time you are stressed and feeling like Debbie Downer - paint on a smile. It’s truly amazing what happens to you physically with just one shift. I do it to my oldest son all the time. When he is in full-blown tantrum mode and inconsolable, I tell him to smile. I dare him. And, what does he do? He starts to giggle.
We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. How we choose to respond to a situation is up to us. In these moments, we need to hit the reset button and drop the negativity so it doesn’t alter our mindset and put a hiccup in our day.
After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe & reboot. -Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City