I get it. I used to come home from work each day thinking things like ‘Life sucks,’ Work sucks,’ ‘I can’t do anything right,’ ‘Everyone hates me,’ ‘Nothing ever goes my way’. But if someone had asked me how my day was, I’d casually reply ‘Oh I’m just having one of those days’. As if it wasn’t affecting me as much as I really felt it was.
But really, every time I said these words to myself or thought how horrible my day was, I felt guilty and angry and frustrated. I tried to be happier and to put on a face for people but I just didn’t really feel it. I used to think that this was just how life was and I should suck it up and push through, until I realised that not everyone felt the same way that I did. Other people seemed happy enough, so why couldn’t I be?
Have you ever felt like that? Do you find yourself repeating negative thoughts like this to yourself? I remember reading book after book on personal development and looking for the one way I could always be happy. I wanted to know how I could always have a perfect day at work, and at home like everyone else seemed to. They came to work smiling and left smiling. Their social media accounts were full of pictures of their travels and them laughing and smiling with friends, family and loved ones. I felt as if everyday was a sunny day for them and I had a rain cloud following me.
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Why are other people happy all the time?
Have you ever tried to solve a problem but you were asking a question that was not helpful, and maybe you didn’t even know where to start or what question to ask? That was me. I was looking for the perfect day and the perfect life. Instead, what would have been more helpful is asking myself “How I can have a better handle on my thoughts and what can I do each day to help me feel more positive”.
If you’ve ever seen someone who seems to be happy all the time, you might have wondered how they do it. The things is, maybe they are really happy or maybe they aren’t truly happy on the inside.You don’t really know just by looking at their social media or by the fact that they’re smiling. Maybe there are some people who are naturally happy most of the time and maybe there aren’t. So how do you know what a happy person is doing that you aren’t doing, if you don’t even know if they’re really happy or not?
The thing is, if I’m having a bad day, what I want to be looking for, is someone who can show me how they go from feeling unhappy to happy and then stay there for a while. That is a person that I can learn from! So I decided to look for someone who was able to go from experiencing those negative thoughts and emotions, to creating more positive ones for themselves to experience.
I remember years ago seeing a person in my office who just got an email that they were so frustrated about. You know those emails. The ones that notify you of bills or even more to-do items that are way overdue. Maybe it’s a project you’ve been trying to get off the ground for months and once again there is another set back and a problem for you to solve, whilst still hitting deadlines and keeping your boss, your clients and your family happy.
You could see the frustration on their face. If that was me, back then I would have reacted and spent my whole day dwelling on what had happened, letting it fester. I’d be fuming all day and I’d go and tell people about it. I might even ring my boyfriend and explain how hard it was. I’d even take it home with me and be thinking about it while I cooked dinner. Sometimes I’d wake up still thinking about it. But I don’t do that anymore.
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What did I do differently?
So I watched this person in my office do something differently than what I would have done or expected anyone else to do. I remember it so vividly. They saw the email and instead of responding straight away (not a great idea when you’re frustrated) they just stopped and got out of their chair, with frustration all over their face. Then just started bouncing around on the spot (true story)!
So even though this was kind of funny to me at the time, it really got me thinking. Maybe there were other ways that I could go about moving from frustrated, to a space in-between frustrated and happy. I might not be happy straight away, but at least I would be feeling better than unhappy and frustrated and all those other negative emotions that had been coming up for me. I got even more curious and I watched closer.
What was interesting was they didn’t stop there, they casually excused themselves and went to the toilet, putting in pair of headphones along the way. I still wonder what they were listening to! This was 10 years ago now and I was so curious. They came back 5 mins later and sat down. You could see that while they realised the problem in the email was still there, the emotional problem of how they felt about it was sorted. They didn’t look happy, but certainly didn’t look frustrated. In fact, they seemed more like they were in a place where they could handle it.
When I saw how they had handled the situation, I felt inspired! It was so simple. I knew I could do that too. So I stopped trying to work out how I could always be happy or perfect all the time and instead I asked a different question. ‘How do I go from being frustrated or having a bad day, to a more positive emotion that helps me?’. I knew that I might not get to feeling happy straight away, but at least it was a stepping stone in the right direction.
How you can do it too
(The coolest thing is you don’t have to do this step, I did it for you)
I plucked up some courage and I asked the burning question. I stopped, took a breath and a leap of faith and went and asked what just happened as I wanted to learn how to go from frustrated to happy, or at least to feeling better. I found out so much and we chatted for over an hour. This is what I learned and what I’ve been doing since then that has helped me to get to where I am now:
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
STEP 1- Recognise you’ve been triggered into an emotion that’s not helpful, and it’s just a moment in time. It doesn’t have to shape your whole day. You are in control of how you respond to this moment. Sometimes it helps me to step back or walk away from whatever has triggered my reaction, take a few deep breaths and move to step two.
STEP 2 – Work out which emotion you’re feeling in that moment. Sometimes it might be a combination of feelings, but either way, it’s important that you can put a name to what you’re feeling.
The first two steps you have to do. I can’t do it for you. But here’s the cool thing, I don’t mind how long it takes you to recognise you’re having a bad moment, just so long as you do because when you do, this is important.
STEP 3 – This is the fun part. Have you ever read an article only to find out that you were different to everyone else? That whatever is going to work for everyone else, certainly won’t work for you?
All you need to do is to personalise and find your strategy. You can start by figuring out what you do for fun. What is it? Actually stop right now and spend 3 minutes making a list. Even if you don’t know what you do for fun, just write anything. Don’t read on till you do.
Have you written anything? Quickly write something it’s important. Whether it’s listening to music, watching tv, speaking to friends, going for a run, heading to the gym or playing a computer game. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing is just right.
Great! Now that you’ve got your mind focused on fun, start thinking about something fun you can do in your office or your workplace. Something that works for you. Of course it depends on your work environment but some ideas could be taking a break to walk outside and get some sun, playing a quick game or watching a comedy video, listening to a song that lights you up or chatting to a friend.
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.
The key is finding something you can adapt to your workplace or your home environment, wherever it is that you need it the most. For example, if going to the gym is your thing, but you’re in a situation where that’s not suitable, you could try other ways of moving your body. Maybe do some star jumps, walk around the office or get outside for 5 minutes, a few squats and wall-push ups in the bathroom. The secret to this is that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s connected to something that you would usually enjoy. For example, you might not be able to watch a full movie in your office, but maybe watch a youtube clip of a favourite movie.
You’ve got the idea. So just pick something and give it a go, or do some more brainstorming.
Putting it all together
So now you’ve picked something. YAY! If you really haven’t picked anything yet, phone a friend and ask them something simple you can do while you’re at work and that takes hardly any time, that’s easy that can at least make you smile. Sometimes all it takes is a cup of tea or a funny text between friends.
So next time you are experiencing a bad moment (not a bad day, it only becomes a bad day if you don’t follow these steps)
1. Recognise that you’ve been triggered into a moment of emotion (not a bad day)
2. Work out which emotion you’re feeling in that moment.
3 Do whatever it is that makes you smile or something that gives you a bit of fun.
These days for me it’s easy. I either watch a YouTube clip of something stupid and funny or I listen to my fav song on my phone. I have actually made a whole playlist of songs specifically for these moments!
Now remember this won’t solve the problem in your email or project, but it will keep you moving and in a place of being able to respond to the problem instead of having a bad day. I do this whenever I feel like I want a boost in my day or a little extra energy to get me through a challenge. The best part is, the more you do this, the less you’ll feel like you need to do it because you’ll just automatically respond differently than before. Give it a try! I dare you.
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