Overcoming a Bad Mood

I am rarely in a bad mood. Unfortunately, I went there this past week. In reflection I see that things went downhill based on my mood. Small irritants normally overlooked became fuel for complaints. Instead of whispering a prayer for compassion, I leaned toward condemnation. Here is my thought process for reframing the situation.

I cannot read another person’s mind. No matter how much I may think I know where someone is coming from, or where she is going, the only thing I have to go on is the information given. I do not know his intentions nor do I know the hopeful outcome. Assumptions divide; it turns the issues into you against me (ass/u/me). And like the proverbial donkey, assuming makes one stubborn.

Choose to not take it personally. How we interpret an event is always within our control. Seeing the disagreement as a personal attack makes one defensive. As in football, to defend one’s position takes the form of offensive. In relationships, it is a mark of maturity to allow a point through to its intended goal.

Determine locus of control. The key is to work on what you can control. It is difficult if not impossible to respond civilly if you are mentally or verbally calling him a jerk. Choose to see the value in the offender. Choose to address the issue not attack her rotten personality.

Become emotionally honest. Do not use a negative situation as a means to deny reality. Get candid with you if you were passive rather than complain about the aggressive of another. Get impatient with you for trying to push your truth on a non-taker rather than degrading him. It takes stamina to deal with hurtles and to develop character through them.

Truth is, everything has a pro and a con. It is easy to become negative. It is unproblematic to see the worst in the situation, self and others. This sets one up as an unwitting victim rather than a victor. It takes courage to sort through the bad and find good. It takes honesty to face the difficult and overcome.

Do not allow circumstances to beat you down. Have faith and trust God, you and others. Self pity is incapable of being comforted because it is its own satisfaction. Change comes through genuine sorrow over wrongs done, including the display of a judgmental attitude.

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How To's of Meditation

Meditation is not another thing to do. It is an invitation to stop doing. It is an invitation to be true to you. Unfamiliar things seem strange, new things seems awkward and anything untried remains foreign. Here are suggestions for the practice of meditation.

Find a focal point. Concentrate on something constant and easily accessible - like your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose, taking the air all the way down into your diaphragm. Hold the breath for 2-3 seconds then exhale through pursed lips. This simple act promotes mindfulness of the moment. It releases the trauma of yesterday without rehearsing the tension of tomorrow. It also changes the chemical compounds in your body.

Picture it. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Imagine the fresh oxygen circulating through every cell in your body picking up toxins and being released with an exhale. Put color into it. Breathe in relaxing blue and breathe out grey stress. Breathe in sunshine yellow and breathe out blackened depression. Direct the breath to an area of tension and – like WD40 – imaging it releasing the hold and setting free.

Find the secret place. The human condition regrets yesterday and worries about tomorrow, thus failing to live in the present. For a few minutes deliberately set aside the noise around you – people talking, the buzz of traffic, a ringing phone. For a few minutes deliberately set aside the noise inside you – the to-do list, the looming deadline, the guilt. Go inside yourself; to your interior. Go to the God-spot within you, the one placed there at the moment of your conception.

Melt tension. Meditation has been clinically proven to reduce levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the culprit that holds negative stress in the body. It is the “fight-flight” chemical that keeps one revved up, unable to flow. Cortisol is also the hormone attributed to “cravings” as well as the storage of food into belly fat.

Discover serenity. Meditation has been shown in studies to decrease stress and increase production of endorphins, the brain’s “happy drug”. When endorphins are activated through quiet reflection a spirit of thankfulness overtakes stress; an over-all-good feeling settles in.

Become wholly integrated. We are a composite whole and cannot divide ourselves from ourselves. Through consistence practice of meditation the mind’s irrational rationalizations and judgmental justifications begin to slip away and truth becomes real. You made an unwise decision, you are not stupid. It is a difficult situation, it is not horrible. He made a bad choice, he is not the devil personified. She was harsh, she is not evil incarnate. With frequent times of quiet reflection, the mind chatter is calmed. You learn to just be, and that is enough. You learn to let frustrations float away.

As with exercise and healthy eating, meditation results are not as immediate as one might wish but they do work. And it is well worth the effort; paying off like compound interest.

Invite Mona to speak to your group. Whether business, organizational, civic or faith-based, you will be entertained with her humor, challenged by her gift of uncommon insights ad motivated by her thought provoking poems. mona@solutionprinciples.com


Creating Energy

Do you remember the first two laws of thermodynamics? One, an object in motion tends to remain in motion; and, two, an object at rest tends to remain at rest. Energy is not created but redirected. Therefore, we have a lot of control over the amount of energy emanating from our own bodies; and whether or not it is positive or negative energy.

Emotions are energy in motion. The law of thermodynamics suggests that energy is always being exchanged from one physical system to another. So to increase your energy level, notice your resistance to life and shift it. Here’s how.

Write it out. Journaling is an excellent way to evaluate your emotions. Put pen to paper and record the good the bad and the ugly. Boldly underline. Use exclamation marks with flourish. Get it all out without reservations. Notate frustrations, hurts, dreams, misunderstandings, ideas, broken promises, fulfillments, disappointments, goals, intentions – be open and honest with yourself in all areas.

Give pause. Wait a few days go back and reread your journal. Once the emotion has subsided you will be able to assess with calm eyes. Look with objectivity at truth or error. Sanity prevails.

Speak into a tape recorder. Hearing your own voice express your dreams, goals and ideas generates the energy to follow through. Speak your anger and be empowered to control it.

Create or add to your “Thankful List”. Anything that appreciates goes up in value. As you reflect on the things for which you are thankful, your spirits are raised and creativity flows. Emotions are positively energized.

Remember your “Favorite Things”. Follow the Sound of Music advice and become aware of the bounty of life. “When I remember my favorite things, then I don’t feel so bad.” The dread and dole-drums will be broken and a lilt comes into your spirit.

Act as if. When Anna, in the King and I, was surrounded by threats and fears, she acted in spite of. She started to whistle as she casually began her chores. Her conclusions: “The result of this deception is very strange to tell. For when I fool the people I fear, I fool myself as well.”

Set a deadline. Get rid of the energy stopping excuse of “someday I’ll.” Decide it, set a deadline and do it. If the decision is a “No go” after all, then allow yourself to receive that into your emotions (and calendar). Move on with renewed energy.

When you are in control of your movements (body in motions) and your downtimes (body at rest), you do not need to control others. And we need both in good proportions.

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Being Objective

Objective is a valuable tool. It can open doors as well as minds. To be objective is to be impartial. And this is where the rub comes in. We are so close to who we are and how we see things and how we feel about them that is can be difficult to be objective.

Listen to the dissenter. Be willing to hear what your opposition has to say. An affront may be a distortion of truth but it also may contain an element of reality. Without countering, consider his position. Allow her to express her opinion.

Sift and sort. Denial and rationalization impede objectivity. As much as you may want to reject the input, recognize when you have been called by your true name. Do you have an edge to your voice when giving instructions? Are you late more often than you want to acknowledge? Do you spend money unwisely? Could you rearrange your schedule for more family time? Question your own reasoning.

Choose to be impartial. Take a balcony view. Step back from your emotions and observe your behavior as well as how others react to you. See yourself outside of yourself.

Be specific rather than general. It is unreasonable to pronounce “always” or “never” even if the infraction is repetitive. Instead of “You never get back with me”, make it, “I have not yet gotten your report; when can I expect it?” Rather than “You can change if you want to?” ask, “Do you think there is something you could do to improve the situation?”

Challenge your beliefs. Take a serious look at your hand-me-down views. Are all politicians corrupt? Are all rich people dishonest or all poor people lazy? Are all purple-people bad? Is your belief system the only valid one? Be careful to not lump all people into the same cesspool.

Becoming objective in receiving information as well as in giving it requires a commitment to improved relationships. Willingness to accept one’s biases – your own as well as theirs – is a good place to start.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”