We’ve all been there before—someone upsets you or something happens that puts you in a bad mood, or you’ve reached your breaking point, and you’re just plain pissed. Either way, it isn’t a pleasant feeling.
When I find myself in this state, I feel stuck and powerless.
It is inevitable that negative thoughts and feelings will arise within us from time to time—we are human after all. But each of us have a choice to make every instant of every day:
Do you want to feel good or do you want to feel lousy? You decide.
When I find myself spinning in the, “I can’t believe this is happening!” mind funk, I slow myself down, take a deep breath and become aware of my thoughts for what they are—just thoughts.
I give myself a few minutes to feel whatever emotion I am feeling, whether it is anger, frustration, sadness or disappointment. I love the saying, “You gotta feel it to heal it.”
I no longer shame myself for experiencing negative feelings. They are coming up so I can heal what needs to be healed. In that sense, I am thankful for them.
When I return my thoughts to the present moment instead of focusing on the past or fixating about the future, I use these simple methods to shift myself out of a powerless state and into a high energy, peaceful, loving place.
1. Think of someone who brings you joy
Just thinking about my parent’s dog Teddy fills me with so much love and joy! He is the sweetest soul and pure, unconditional love. Teddy is a five-year-old mini-goldendoodle with ultra-soft hair and kind, golden eyes. He loves to cuddle and be held like a baby. My friends say he doesn’t even look real, he looks like a stuffed animal.
Thinking about how much I love Teddy and how much he loves me (and all people) brings about the most pleasant, safe, loving feelings in me.
I find it impossible to be upset, fearful or in any sort of funky mood when I am thinking about Teddy or spending time with him.
If you have pets, you understand what I am talking about. Just saying their name brings us joy.
Think about a person or pet who creates this feeling for you. Hold a vision of him or her in your mind.
Connect with these feelings of happiness and love. Breathe them in, and share them out into the world. Feel the energy in your body begin to shift and change.
2. Think of your happy place or beautiful memory
For me, a memory that always comes to mind is snowshoeing with my cousin Karl and his wife Kaki at Mount Rainier just outside of Seattle. I went off on my own for a bit to climb at my own pace. When I got to the top of the mountain, I sat down in what felt like a plush snow chair, and looked around in amazement and wonder. I felt so at peace in the arms of this magnificent glacier.
This experience was almost 15 years ago. When I returned home to Los Angeles (where I was living at the time), I wrote this poem. I guess you could also call it a love letter to Mount Rainier.
Suddenly it appears as though the Earth has stopped,
for it is nearly motionless.
I can hear my own silent breath in the clean, crisp air.
Nature embraces me, and I can literally see the tall, thick pine trees smile at me from under their pure, white, snowy blankets.
They speak to me.
Now listening, I look around slowly,
feeling the trees’ mighty, yet subtle presence.
Each and every second of this calming afternoon is savored, and I carefully photograph the images in my peaceful mind.
Time is not an issue
and loneliness is not an option
in this simple, beautiful moment of solitude.
Just reading this again puts me back in that peaceful state of gratitude and awe on that beautiful mountain.
It’s so powerful to channel the energy from these moments to help shift us back into a state of grace and calm. It’s easy, it’s fun and it doesn’t cost a thing.
What memory do you have that helps center you and bring you back to joy?