How we feel is deeply tied to what we are focusing on and thinking about. Have you ever started complaining about something to a friend, and wound up piling on any negative thought you could think of? When we dwell on the negativity in our lives, it can be only too easy to end up stuck in a rut, with our brain on repeat, and an anxiety monster taking control. So when you’re feeling like you can’t get anything right, what lifts you up?
I realized recently that between politics and social justice, the recent passing of Chadwick Bozeman and my cat getting sprayed by a skunk, my focus and thinking became depressed and negative. I was anxiety ridden, unmotivated and locked in a vicious cycle. I began feeding my negativity by focussing on everything that was making me unhappy.
How did I shift?
We all know what stress feels like, but sometimes we forget how to overcome it and shift negativity to a more positive outlook. I have mentioned before that to connecting to family and friends can help us change our mindset and shift the negative thought patterns. However, what do you do when your friends are all busy?
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I look to books and films, both fiction and non-fiction, that inspire me and make me feel hopeful. This is not the time for depressing war stories, or tragic love stories. There’s a time and a place for everything. That being said, when we’re looking to shift our mood, heartwarming and inspiring material works best.
I leverage the same phenomena of focus and affect that got me in my bad mood in the first place, to get me out of it. What is the opposite of anxiety? Calm, peace, or serenity, right? What makes you feel relaxed and happy? It could be anything from drinking your favorite cup of tea and watching the rain, to dancing to your favorite song. Whatever you truly enjoy.
There are 101 ways to destress, and cultivate positivity. However, if you’re not sure where to start, try looking back to what made you happy in your childhood. Things like a coloring book, or half an hour playing the guitar are great. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself with goals. It’s just about freeing yourself from finding more negative information to feed your brain with. Instead try and find something positive. Good vibes only.
When I’m feeling down, I read a good book. How do you shift?
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