Life is pretty good right now. We have settled into a new house and are enjoying being Florida residents. School just got started for the kids and we are settling into a new routine (again). Work is going very well and I’m excited to be booking travel and planning for a trip to the Asia Pacific region in October to meet our regional team there. Everything is going well….almost too well. Do you ever find yourself wondering when your luck is going to change because things are going too smoothly? Do you let negativity creep in even though life is grand?
I recently got a call from a friend going through a similar situation. He shared with me that work was going well. He was recently promoted and able to move to working days instead of nights, something he has been wanting for quite a while. He likes his boss and things seem to be positive with his team. Overall his life is flowing smoothly but he is having a hard time letting go of something negative that happened to him in a past work situation at a prior employer. This has left him feeling like he has to watch his back and be worried about what is going to go wrong. I didn’t know what to tell him when he called me but I could definitely relate to how he is feeling. Living this way is stressful and it robs you of the joy you deserve!
It happens to me too. I let negativity and doubt enter my mind and sometimes I stay there for too long. Over my life I have learned to recognize this pattern more quickly so I like to think that I don’t spend as much time in these negative thought patterns but it still gets me once in a while. It could be simple things like it is hot and humid in Florida (big surprises, huh) and it seems that anytime I step outside I have sand on me! Or, last week I had to get a COVID booster shot to be able to travel to the Philippines and I felt absolutely rotten for three days. That was where this blog topic originated. Even the kids going back to school can cause stress and worry as a parent. Trying to prepare them and face the fact that they don’t like having to wake up early and get going in the morning leaves plenty room for frustration. On top of that, you worry if they will get good teachers, make new friends and fit in? It is easy to get into a negative spiral when these things are going on and we let our minds dwell on them.
What is important is that you have to figure out what is making you dwell on the negative thoughts and try to break the pattern. Sometimes I have to go out for a walk or isolate myself so I can think through the issue and focus on gratitude. Being with my family when I’m in this mood is not good for me or them. One tactic I have also found helpful if I’m really stuck is writing. I’ll just spill all of my thoughts out on paper, and for some reason, once I get all of the bullshit falsehoods I’m telling myself out, I realize that I’m being ridiculous. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to give it a shot.
We can get stuck in these funks for long periods of time. We let doubt and negative thoughts hold us hostage, sabotaging our own joy for weeks, months or even years. At times it can be so bad that we ruin relationships because we are difficult to live with. I have found in these situations that I have had to find a professional to work through the issues. It can be hard to get to the root cause on your own. I have used professionals like this at three different times in my life, each time utilizing my employer provided Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). The best part is using an EAP is anonymous and FREE to the employee. Many companies carry them as a benefit yet employees don’t know they exist. If you have benefits through your or your spouses employer, ask about it. EAPs are valuable for counseling but also many other situations like finding childcare, financial help, substance abuse or managing through life events. If you don’t have access to an EAP, there is value in finding someone to talk to so you can overcome the root cause once and for all.
I hope life is grand for you right now. If it doesn’t feel that way I hope some of these ideas might spur solutions. I would love to hear about other tactics you use to focus on gratitude or pull yourself out of a funk. If you are open to sharing, please leave a comment so we all can learn from each other.