Face it, we all get to places and events that seem to take us down:
- We get tough news about our health or the health of a loved one.
- Our kids get into trouble outside of the house.
- Relationships get challenged.
- Jobs get lost and money gets tight.
Each of these can take us down. And sometimes it feels right to pull the covers up and feel sorry for ourselves. Or, it feels right to lose our cool and get angry. Being a victim or getting angry are the default behaviors for some of these life situations. Visiting these negative emotions is fine, but don’t move in.
Focusing on the negative brings more negative
When we dwell on a tough situation, it can take the joy out of every other part of life. Feeling down or sad about a situation you cannot control just brings these same feelings to the other parts of your life. We all have met or had to deal with people who were upset about something and then let it ruin every other part of their day (we’ll start to see it now as another election cycle happens).
So the question is, when you are feeling down, what is something you can do to turn things around? That one thing is GRATITUDE.
See, even in the worst of times, there is always something to be grateful for. In the moment of shifting out of victim or anger (both show up when we are down), we create a new energy – a positive energy – one that can help us reframe what we see, create optimism and encourage new solutions.
Gratitude changes the energy
Research shares that one of the greatest abilities to heal ourselves and to stay healthy is to live with both a positive outlook and with gratitude. It changes the chemicals in our brains which then positively influences our body chemistry.
If you are dealing with a challenging teen or young adult who has gotten herself in trouble, you are much more capable to handle the issue, help the young adult realign and keep a family together if you keep your mind focused on solutions and stay positive. Using your energy to be angry limits your ability to see the situation clearly, solve it wisely and build a more solid relationship. But with the awareness to shift to a little gratitude, opportunities to successfully resolve become more apparent. After all, what you seek you find.
Studies show that being angry or acting the part of the victim are life’s defense mechanisms; they are designed to keep us safe (notice the brain’s defaults are about safety, not happiness – we own creating our happiness). To (stop and) notice these feelings can help us shift to make sounder, wiser decisions.
Try this everywhere
We can do it face-to-face with our kids – when we focus on what is great and amazing in them. We can do it as money gets tight to see that we have support and help from others, or our health, or a loving relationship. We can do it when we are frustrated in the workplace by choosing to focus on something remarkable about the job or the people. We have to choose (on purpose) to stop and notice the good things when the bad things seem to have our full attention.
Don’t let the downs make you miss all the ups of life. The ups are more powerful than you think – they can completely dissolve the downs. Remember that “be happy” and “be down” can’t coexist – they are mutually exclusive emotions. Focus on the ups and they will help you provide solutions and responses to your downs.
What are three things you are grateful for, and how will you focus on these when life send you things that get you down?