In going about our daily lives, we will inevitably experience a setback or some type of negative energy. You may recognize this as receiving news of your plans not going accordingly or someone projecting their negative energy onto you. When it happens it comes pretty quickly and may take a while to shake it if off.
We can’t avoid these experiences and to protect us from falling into a downward spiral (that’s when you ruminate on a negative experience and end up in such a negative energy you don’t know how you got there). Luckily there are habits you can practice to lift you out of your negative experience.
Vent, Don’t Complain
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to get your feelings out. It’s not healthy to keep it in. As a matter of fact, when you never let it out, it continues to pile on. When you finally get triggered you end up taking all of your frustration out on one person or situation.
Having a go-to person to vent to can be valuable. However, be careful that you aren’t complaining to them all the time. There is a difference. When you vent you are letting out how a particular situation or person made you feel. Complaining is victimizing yourself by constantly bringing up the same situation or person that is annoying you and making no effort to change it.
Box Breathing Meditation
Meditating can be intimidating to some people because it’s often assumed there is a lot of preparation involved in mediating or that you need to set aside 15 minutes for it to be effective, when in fact you can meditate for as little as 2 minutes to get yourself on track. When I need a quick mood fix, which is usually when I am away from the comforts of my home, I implement box breathing. Box breathing is a breathing technique where you focus on your breath in an effort to relieve stress. During this method I perform the following breathing exercise:
-Inhale for 4 counts
-Hold for 4 counts
-Exhale for 4 counts
-Hold for 4 counts
I repeat this pattern for 2-3 minutes.
Practicing this technique has been extraordinarily helpful in restoring my mood at work and has helped me fall asleep on the nights I’ve had trouble falling asleep.
Write a Gratitude List
It’s a fact: you can’t be in a positive and negative mood simultaneously. With that in mind, when you feel yourself sinking into a crappy mood, pull out your notepad or the notes feature on your smartphone and write down 5 things you are grateful for in that moment. When you do this you will feel a shift in your energy because you have shifted your thoughts from negative to positive. To sustain this feeling, challenge yourself to keep up this practice for a week and reflect on how your mood changes.
Reflect on What Happened
Spend time reflecting on how you ended up irritated or upset. Ask yourself why you are having these feelings. Is what you are upset about important to your well being? Will whatever is bothering you matter in a one day, one week, one month, or one year? You can do this by either journaling or sit with your thoughts. When you go through these questions you will quickly realize that you are experiencing emotions and have created a narrative in your mind that you are perceiving to be true.
Let It Go
You can choose to let it go and move on. You literally can decide, “I am not going to let this situation bother me” and move on. The reality is,life is filled with peaks and valleys and we don’t know when we will experience the good times versus the bad times. It is important to get to acceptance fairly quickly because having negative thoughts about your experience will deplete your energy.
The goal of resilience is not to never experience a bad day, it’s to be better equipped when a bad day happens. Give some of these tools a try the next time you feel yourself in the throes of a negative mood. Also, try your best to surround yourself with positive people because energy is transferable and being in positive energy will help you out of your funk. If you’re in a low mood for three weeks or more, consider seeing a professional therapist.