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Feeling Down?

It’s that feeling that things are not quite right, like more things go wrong than not. It’s not a deep sadness, just a ‘down’ feeling. Dissatisfied with life and the cards you’ve been dealt, underwhelmed by your career, health or relationship. A feeling like you’re just going through the motions of getting up, going to work, going home and sleeping, then doing it all over again. Almost like living life in black and white rather than technicolour.

When did you notice that you started to get this way? Does it make you care less because nothing really matters, and things seem to stay the same anyway?

For me, it felt like people didn’t ‘get’ me. I didn’t make friends easily. I’d stumble over my words, or worse, would go silent with nothing to say. I could do my job but found it difficult to talk to my boss. I felt intimidated by other people. Little frustrations started to stack up. I started to feel down, lost, alone.

Our emotions are like muscles

The ones that we use a lot grow strong, easy to feel anytime, anywhere. And then there are the ones we don’t stretch, flex or use as often, so they are weaker or may not even seem to be present. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t learn about my emotions at school. I didn’t go to emotion class. I did kind of learn about emotion from my parents through observation, but they didn’t really sit down and teach me how to go from sad to happy, or from procrastinating to motivated, or from frustrated to calm. It was more like I had to work it out for myself, and for a long time I thought that I didn’t have control over them; they just happened at random, and I was lucky if I got from sad to happy quickly.

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We all do the best we can, but it’s so much slower when we are trying to work it out ourselves, rather than learning from someone who has been there before, and knows how to teach us.

If you were asked to make a chocolate cake without a recipe, and you’d never made one before, you might have a rough idea of the ingredients, but wouldn’t necessarily know the measurements or what order they went in to be able to make it. You’d have to search for a chocolate cake recipe to get it right. Recipes help us to be able to repeat the same thing and get the same result each time.

We have created a recipe for all the automatic things we do, and our mind is like a massive file which stores them all. When you first learned how to walk, you watched other people, and then gave it a go. You saw what others did, and now you were creating your own recipe for walking. The first time you probably only took one step and fell over. Then you got up and had another go. You did the same for brushing your teeth, throwing a ball, talking, singing, tying our shoelaces. You know you have a recipe for something when you can do it without thinking. It’s automatic. For recipes you are in the process of creating, you may still have to pay some attention to it, like when you are learning a new route home, learning a new job or a different language.

Do you want help with Sadness, Procrastination, Self-Sabotage, Confidence or Motivation?

I used to be sad a lot. When I think about it now, it was like I had a recipe for being sad that was simple. It was so easy to do that I’d do it all the time. And like I mentioned before, anything that we do a lot, we get to be good at. The muscle for it grows stronger and the automatic recipe gets simpler. I became the best at being sad. It was as easy as making lemonade. All you need is lemons, water and sugar and it doesn’t really matter what order the ingredients go in. My recipe for being sad was just as simple and easy.

My recipe for happiness

Being happy, however, that was more complicated, and I didn’t do it all that often. It was more like making a souffle. If you have ever attempted to make soufflé, you’ll know it’s complicated, and everything has to be perfect. Every ingredient has to be the exact weight, the right type, added in the correct order and handled in the right way. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would turn out right, that it would be fluffy and amazing. Sometimes it worked, and when it did, I felt amazing, like when my recipe for being happy worked. And I would think, I’m going to hold on to this as tight as I can because I love this feeling. More often though, I’d get so close but then I’d do one step wrong, and it wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t be happy. My happy muscle was weak.

What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

Everyone’s recipes are different, but there are similar patterns amongst them. There are some elements that are consistent across every single recipe, like every chocolate cake recipe is different but most of them will have chocolate and flour of some sort in it. One of the similarities in a recipe for emotion is how we hold our bodies. Our physiology plays a big part, and when you learn the pattern that works, it helps you be able to adapt the recipe to get the result you want.

Physiology is the key

Often when people feel down, it is because they have a physiology of feeling down. Have you noticed that when people are down, their shoulders are more likely to slump? They tend to look down; their breathing is shallower, they think of the things that could go wrong rather than the things that could go right.

Now sit in your chair, or while standing, think of a positive experience, a time when you were confident; when you celebrated an achievement; when you were having fun. Imagine it as though you are there, feel the way that you were feeling and hold your body how you were holding your body then. Notice that your shoulders are most likely back, sitting up or standing taller, smiling, looking up and breathing deeper. These are some of the elements of a recipe for feeling positive.

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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

When you are changing or adapting your recipe, it might feel uncomfortable to start, like when you buy new shoes and have to wear them in. It’s going to be worth it though! If you find yourself feeling down and you’d like to take steps towards feeling better, start with your body. Try looking up, focussing on something positive (I like thinking of things I love to do for fun), hold your shoulders back, smile for no reason; it’s ok if it feels weird to start with. Take a few deep breaths. Sometimes I like to shake my body out first, jog on the spot or even stretch all the way up. This interrupts my old pattern of feeling down and gives me the option to choose how I want to hold myself.

So when you notice that you are feeling down, the cool thing is you can start changing the recipe. Change your physiology; how you hold your body.  If you start to change the recipe for how you feel and get stronger in your positive emotions, little changes can add up! They did for me.

You might not choose to be happy all the time, that’s not the goal. But if it doesn’t feel right to feel down anymore; if it’s been a tough day and you’re getting ready to go out, check your physiology. Shake your body out, and put into motion the new steps you’ve learnt to get into a better state, and remember how great you are!

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