No matter how lucky or blessed we are, there will be bad days in our lives. Days when it seems like everything is going against us and nothing is happening the way we want it to. Days when we just don’t feel normal, we are agitated and not having any fun at all. So, how can we un-condition ourselves out of such feelings and behavior? There is a method I personally use for these situations that might be helpful to you as well.
As soon as I become aware of this state-of-feeling that we are calling a “bad day”, I ask myself WHY? Why do I feel like this? Is there anything that could make me happy right now?
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Emotions are just the conditioned signals of our internal dialogue telling us that our needs are being met or not being met. If we feel happy, then our needs are being met. If we are not happy, then our needs are not being met. This concept is pretty simple. If we have a simple need that isn’t being met, then we can head it off by asking this question, being honest with ourself, and working towards the desired solution by clearly communicating with whomever else might be involved in fulfilling our need. It’s also possible that our need is silly and we will realize this when we ask the question. Sometimes it will be laughable when we discover the real reason we are upset.
Other times, it’s more complicated than that. Even when it isn’t more complicated, sometimes we make it more complicated. Either way, if asking those two questions doesn’t work, this is where the 3 step process comes in to play.
Step 1 – Recognize impermanence.
This is one of the many great lessons I have learned from the Buddha. Everything that arises also subsides. Meaning that no matter what we are experiencing, it won’t last forever. In fact, it probably won’t last long at all. Most of our anxiety, fear and stress about our emotions is that we feel some sort of permanence attached to it. Nothing is permanent. NOTHING. Remind yourself of that with this step and you should start to notice a slight calming of your internal dialogue right away.
Step 2 – Experience Gratitude.
Think about the one thing in life you are most grateful for. Don’t make a long list here, just think of one thing. It could be the one thing you are most grateful for at that moment in time or for your entire life. For example, if it’s a terrible winter outside and you are hot and cozy by the fire inside your home, you could be grateful for the fire, your safety, shelter OR you could be grateful for your child, spouse, physical health or something more long-term and permanent. Both will work for this exercise, but if you have to do this often like me, then you’ll want to choose something different as much as possible to keep the feeling of gratitude strong and current in your awareness. The purpose of this step is to shift your awareness to a better place. Gratitude is huge. Not only will it set your ego aside, which is usually the culprit when you’re having a “bad day”, but it’s so closely related to true happiness and abundance that it can shift your overall experience from discomfort to bliss more quickly than anything else.
Step 3 – Express Creativity.
Hopefully at this point, you are starting to feel a lot better about the day, your life circumstance and the world around you. The final step in this process is to express yourself in a creative way. This doesn’t have to be lengthy AT ALL. In fact, it can take just a few minutes. Each of us has different ways to express our own creativity. For me, if it’s a personal expression, then I’m either writing or creating content somehow. For professional creative expression, sometimes I like to develop new business models or refine the ones I already have working in my professional life. Either way works. As long as you are creating, you are being creative. For some people, this could be painting, meditating, playing a sport, etc. The purpose of this step is to have a physical representation for change in your current awareness to something that fills you with passion and LIFE energy naturally.
At this point, we should notice a major change in our state-of-feeling. At any point in this process, if we feel better/cured from the “bad day”, then we can choose to stop there. However, we can also keep working with this tool and it won’t ever do harm. If we aren’t feeling great yet, at least a new perspective should be present and perhaps now asking the first two questions will help further.
– Why do I feel like this?
– Is there anything that could make me happy right now?
If you can answer either of these questions at this point, then you can solve the puzzle!
The simple breakdown of this 3-step tool:
1. Take a moment to realize this “bad day” won’t last forever. (Take a deep breath)
2. Remember the great abundance that already exists in your life. (Mental awareness shift)
3. Express yourself in a creative and passionate way. (Physical awareness shift)
You may not need step 3 and you may not even need step 2. Sometimes step 1 is enough. Sometimes 1 & 2 are enough. Sometimes just asking the first 2 questions are enough. But if you work this process, it certainly won’t make your day worse. I hope it helps to bring you happiness, abundance and bliss. Namaste 🙂