I don’t care for that saying, positive vibes only. We’re humans and should be allowed and even encouraged to bring our whole selves to the table. There will be times in life when things are rough. Look at 2020. This has been a very challenging year for the majority of us. Even people that are doing well and surviving are still going through the mental stress of our new way of living. Whenever I find myself complaining and spiraling into a negative conversation with someone, I try to bring of something I am grateful for. I also try and do this when I’m alone and catch myself in a string of negative thoughts. Listing off several things that I am grateful for even if they are experiences that I have had previously in life, like places I traveled to or my beloved pet who passed a few years ago. Being grateful for the experience counts.
I first learned about the technique of using gratitude from where I work. My employer implemented an entire program by Senn Delaney which included in part a book by Larry E. Senn called The Mood Elevator. The premise is that we all ride a mood elevator every day of our lives. There is a whole list of emotions from top to bottom with the middle being ‘curious’. It’s so interesting to me that curious is in the middle. I really love that he uses that emotion to be the one to reach up to when you are feeling irritated, judgmental, angry, stressed, worried. Moving from any one of those feelings to curious isn’t as much of a stretch as it would be to jump all the way up to flexible, hopeful, patient or grateful. Curious is doable.
The next time you are irritable or stressed try thinking of a few things you are grateful for and then look back to your current situation and try and get curious about it. Instead of thinking that coworker is denying my request to do their normal task to intentionally piss me off. Try assuming positive intent that your coworker isn’t out to get you intentionally and is doing the best they can from where they are in life. Then get curious about why they did what they did. Why could they possibly have denied your request.
There will be days that are easier than others I’ve found. Sometimes you just have to feel like a grouch all day and get it out. But every day is a fresh start and you can have a fresh start any time if you wish. Never judge a day by its morning someone once told me. Using the tool of the mood elevator and incorporating gratitude into my day when needed has made life more manageable and me happier.