How’s your mojo today?
I’m asking because there’s still a lot of weirdness in the world right now. News reports saying that life is returning to normal, whilst every day we’re hearing more stories about things that are still going wrong. (It’s why I include things like “What went right this week‘ in my weekly newsletter).
You might recognise that when you get some good news, you feel a burst of joy. You light up. You expand. You glow. You might ride the wave of that feeling for a few hours, maybe even a few days…but then slowly it returns to “base line”.
However, when something doesn’t go your way, you might have noticed that it lingers. Even if we get some better news afterwards, uneasiness chips away in the background, as if it’s stuck in our psyche. Where joy is fleeting, feelings of disappointment stick around. And there’s real science behind this.
In this video, Alison Ledgerwood explains that even when we’re presented with ‘positive’ information, it’s not as simple as just ‘cheering up’ or ‘looking on the bright side’; nor is it just about whether we see the glass as half full or half empty.
Most of us have a natural, ingrained ’tilt’ to pay attention to the negative. Our brains need to make sure we’ve factored in the possibility that information is not as rosey as we’re being told. So, for example, it makes sense if you’re approaching easing of lockdown with some nervousness, or even some lockdown regret. It means we can’t just trick our brain in to looking for the silver lining; it needs time to engage.
It’s one of the reasons I’m so vocal on social media against ‘Toxic Positivity’, the suggestion that everything can be solved if we just ‘think positive’. Our brains literally don’t work that way. Recovery takes time. Getting your sparkle back, is a process not a single event.
Sometimes we do get stuck though, with thoughts about “what if” and “if only” holding us back. It’s why we can use this type of ‘stuckness’ to be part of the path to healing.
So what can we do?
This week, maybe start with the intention to Allow What’s Stuck. This isn’t about forgiveness (I’ll cover that soon), and it’s not about letting go. It’s simply an acknowledgement of how you feel, and that all feelings are valid. When you’re ready, take a moment if you want to pause and contemplate how you feel – is there anything lingering in the background right now? You don’t need to focus on the why, it’s just noticing the what. Label the feeling, whatever it is, without judgement. You have a right to feel what you feel. Give it permission to exist on your terms, even if only for a moment. Appreciate that this ‘stuckness’ could be helpful and in itself might be trying to move you forward. And then take three deep breaths, paying particular attention to extending the exhale. If you gain insight from this, and you might find it useful, write about where you feel you’re ‘stuck’, but remember you don’t have to do anything with this just yet. If you want to, you could think about setting some mindful intentions, or arrange to talk it out with a friend, or someone impartial. Some key tips from Life Hack include asking yourself the question: “Why am I doing what I’m going to do today?” and then contemplating moving out of your comfort zone. But remember all through this process, to acknowledge and appreciate how far you’ve already come.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020