Snap Out Of It!

I wrote recently about the importance of working to make yourself happier and maintain a positive outlook. And whilst I definitely try to remain upbeat and optimistic, I am of course only human and am prone to a good ‘ole strop now and then,  as I’m sure my family would be only too keen to testify!

So finding ourselves in a bad mood is completely natural and happens to the best of us. We can’t change that. Things will happen in life which will wind us up. But what we can change is how we react when we find ourselves in a bad mood – we can choose stew on it or snap out of it.

Let’s take the first option: you can find yourself in a bad mood because the traffic was bad so you were late home from work, then you broke a nail and managed to superglue all of your fingers together which then made you even later for the gym than you had been before and you found yourself apoplectic with rage at the fact that you needed to hoover the stairs and landing because no one else was going to do it for you (true story). Choosing to stew on it tends to lead to you finding more things to become annoyed about and to you inevitably becoming even more annoyed. Before you know it, a minor irritation has become a full-force strop.

But what if we choose to snap out of it? Acknowledge that you’re feeling in a bad mood, for whatever reason, and do something to distract yourself from it – in much the same way as you would try to distract a toddler who was teetering on the edge of a tantrum.

Personally, I find doing something physical to be most effective: listening to upbeat music whilst doing housework is particularly effective for me (although, I’d avoid angry rap music as experience has taught me that this has the opposite of the intended effect) or doing some kind of exercise like going for a walk whilst listening to an entertaining podcast.

So the next time I find I’m late home from work, I’m going to get myself straight to the gym without ending up fuming about all of the household chores I’m going to need to do for the rest of my life. And I’m definitely going to leave the superglue alone.

 What strategies do you use to help yourself to snap out of it? Let me know in the comments section – I’m always looking for new strategies to try.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Be Kind to Your Future Self

One of the things I’ve previously struggled with when trying to create and, more importantly, maintain, new habits, it to keep the motivation going over the long term. I’ve often found that I’m good at getting motivated to begin a new habit, but once the initial wave of optimism fades, I find it becomes trickier to balance the demands of keeping the new habit going with the routines and unexpected happenings of daily life.

Recently, however, I’ve come across a new mantra courtesy of Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft’s Happier podcast. In one of the episodes I listened to this summer (apologies, I can’t remember which one – note to self: jot things down in future!), Gretchen and Elizabeth talked about the idea of being kind to your future self. In short, there may be things you don’t really feel like doing in the moment but which, if you do do them, your future self will thank you for. For example, you might feel too tired after dinner to wash the dishes but if you leave them, when you wake up in the morning, you’ll wish you had just done them at the time. Therefore, thinking of your future self at the time you don’t feel like doing something can help to encourage you to do it.

I’ve been using this to my advantage in helping to stick to my healthy eating and exercise habits. There have been (several)times when I haven’t felt like preparing a healthy lunch or going to the gym, but I’ve stopped and thought about how grateful my future self will be that I did make the lunch or go to the gym. Similarly, I’ve employed this strategy when trying to avoid certain behaviours such as binge-eating or when tempted to indulge in more sweet treats than ar good for me. I’ve also found that picturing how that future self will look and feel – strong, lean, healthy and confident – when she’s thanking me for my actions has helped to boost the motivation to stick with my healthy habits.

 What are you going to do this week that your future self will thank you for? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,

FFF