by Carole Jacoby, M.Ed., M.S. (originally written in late 2001)
“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” Greg Anderson
As a result of the events of September 11 as well as the current uncertainly of our world situation, many of my clients have been expressing their feelings of anxiety and loss of control. Several individuals have voiced their inability to stay focused on important work projects as well as feeling unmotivated and a general lack of well being.
Even every day events, such as an upsetting phone call or an e-mail that “pushes your buttons” can result in a mood shift and put you in a downward spiral. Although the external life events may be out of your control, your mental attitude and where you choose to put your focus is within your control. It may not be easy, but there are strategies that can be practiced in order to change your mental direction and head toward a better state of mind.
The following are a few simple ways to shift your mood so you can reverse a downward trend. When you find yourself feeling out of sorts, unsettled, frustrated or overwhelmed, anxious or just plain old stuck, consider taking one of the following actions:
1. Get into motion. To change your mood, get up and move your body. Take a brisk walk, move around your office or home, jump rope or just get out and take a ride in your car.
2. Clear the air. Imagine yourself actually clearing away any “energy blocks” that are influencing your negative mood. Do something to change this energy. You might call a good friend, tidy up your office, or just open a window.
3. Shift your thinking. If it’s true that our thoughts create our circumstances and actions, then you’ll want to shift your negative thoughts to positive ones as quickly as you can. There are many ways to do this. You might remember a favorite childhood song and start singing it out loud. Or you could pick up an inspirational book, open to any page and start reading. You can even close your eyes for 3 to 5 minutes and just focus on your breathing. The trick here is to NOTICE your thoughts and know you have a choice to place your attention elsewhere.
4. Take charge! When something happens that causes you to get upset, simply repeat the following statement out loud: “I will not allow this to control me.” Then go about your business. Your mind is a powerful instructor. When you direct it or self-coach it to stop, it pays attention. Try it and see what happens.
Try monitoring your mood each day this week. When you are feeling low, frustrated or overwhelmed, choose one of the items above and give it a try. Try a different one each day.
Remember: YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE! YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF KEEPING YOURSELF ON THE RIGHT TRACK. YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR DIRECTION ANY TIME YOU WANT!
Carole Jacoby is a Personal and Business Coach and President of LifeVisions, an achievement- oriented coaching company that empowers people to fulfill their potential. A composite trainer, motivator, facilitator and partner, Carole creates strong connections and relationships that move you and/or your company forward to achieve solid, sustainable goals. She can be reached at 203-878-4191, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at www.lifevisionscoach.com.