Sunday was a beautiful day, the sun was shining for the second day in a long time, the birds were singing and I was so grumpy.
That’s right, I had an unshakable feeling of unhappiness. Try as I might, I couldn’t shake it. It didn’t matter that I went for a walk or rearranged my apartment to create both a blogging space and a reading/colouring nook, nothing I did seemed to shake my mood and that really upset me.
I try my best to lead a positive life and to approach everything I do with a high level of optimism, but some days I just can’t. They say no one is perfect, and I know that to be true, but I strive for perfection in my positivity. I wish to operate on a positive level at all times and if I complain or feel gloomy I see this as a failure; and as a huge negative reflection on who I am. This feeling leads me to become unkind to myself and to develop some seriously critical self talk.
About six months ago I took my second round of a wonderful course on cognitive behavioural therapy. The first time I took the course I ended up telling people that it was life changing. I learned so many new ways of looking at my day to day experience and the ways I interacted with people and most importantly the ways I talked to myself.
One of the major takeaways from the course, which was a light bulb moment for me, was that thoughts are just thoughts, they aren’t facts. Not even the most positive, life embracing person you know can live a life free from negative thoughts. The best thing you can do is accept that you are going to have a range of emotions and be prepared with strategies that help you cope with difficult emotions when they arise.
My preferred strategies right now are to assess what is going on in my life in the present moment and evaluate if there are any factors that are impacting me. In this case, I figured out quite late in the day that what put me in such a negative place was a police drama I had decided to binge watch on Netflix that featured only gloomy and negative characters.
The next thing I try to do is evaluate my self talk. Is what I am saying to myself: accurate, fair or helpful? If not then I have to tell myself I am going to let the unhelpful thoughts go and instead replace them with something more helpful to my current situation. In this case I went and visited my Mom who reminded me that it’s okay to feel grumpy but you have to let it go and move on. Feeling grumpy doesn’t make me a bad person.
The final thing that I did was complete some nourishing and distracting activities. I did some excercise, going for a nice walk with the cute dog we are babysitting and spent time with my Mom and family friends, then ended my day by doing a new crafting project with a good friend. By adding more nourishing events into my day I was able to lift my mood and get the most out of my Sunday.
Not everything can be perfect and not every day can go as planned. You can have something random trigger you, like my negative but compelling TV show,-but this doesn’t have to define your mood for the whole day. Sometimes you just can’t be positive and chipper, but that doesn’t mean you have to wallow in a negative self deprecating space. The important thing to do, when you are having a bad day or negotiating challenging emotions,is to accept the feelings, acknowledge them and find ways to move on.