As published in The Huffington Post
Staying positive when you’re feeling down takes grit, fortitude and tenacity. We all like to think of ourselves as the woman warrior, the indomitable female the can-do girl who lives every moment with intensity and attention. But, alas, we are human and we have our down days and up days and in-between days. The days when we don’t feel as positive or as motivated as we might are days when the energy stuck and the balance is tipping toward the negative.
Get Off The Couch
The pull of the couch, the lure of mindless entertainment, the distraction of people, places, and things drain any potential for positive energy. Hopefully, we don’t have many of the down days when sitting on the couch sounds more appealing than going for a walk. Maybe the overwhelming nature of a large project prevents you from taking that first step, so you decide to start tomorrow. Or maybe it’s more of an abstract lack of motivation, and you feel unable to focus on what needs to be done or what you want to do for fun but can’t seem to get there.
The key to staying positive when you’re feeling down is the ability to consciously focus attention on your state of being: emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Your ability to focus in on yourself – to self-reflect – requires you to let go of the mindless messages from your environment, the people, places and things that are energy drains and the attachment to technology. Your environment can overwhelm you with distractions and keep you in quicksand. Your thinking gets small, and the size of your thinking determines the sizes of your results.
The simplest way to get in the groove of self-reflection is to practice mindfulness – staying 100% present in the moment. Mindfulness is not a skill like being organized or having massive amounts of self-discipline and self-control. The present moment tells you all you need to know about how you are feeling and give you an awareness that leads you to your next step. Mindfulness lets you see possibilities and opportunities so you can prioritize with purpose. It gives you time and space to daily reflect on what adds value to your life.
Let’s illustrate an example of how you can turn the negative into a positive.
You are fixed to the couch mindlessly watching yet another mundane TV program. The day is passing quickly and you feel like a sloth. Turn off the TV, close your eyes and take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Then draw the attention into yourself and experience the present moment without judging or labeling. Your head will begin to clear of distraction and clutter; your resistance will begin to subside and the negative energy will turn into positive energy.
Change the Energy
When you open your eyes, you might that the antidote to your negative state is to do some stretching, take a walk, or go to the gym and get even more energized. The neurotransmitters start to flood your body with adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It’s a startling transformation!
We all get into the habit of labeling and judging our actions and thoughts. Labeling and judging can create a state of resistance that is toxic and negative. Staying positive gives you the courage to say yes instead of no when you feel immobilized. It is then that you can release your personal power and find direction and fulfillment.