A conscious effort

The power of positive thinking is not a new concept; I had always heard that your attitude in facing a day can drastically impact how it turns out. Of course, this seems like common sense, and I have had every reason to believe in this logic, but it is often more easily said than done. I’m not sure if it was the relatively gloomy weather of February (and thankfully we seem to be past that!), my return to sugar (and the mood swings that inevitably come with it), if I had just let small annoyances build up, or [most likely] a combination of all of the above, but it seemed that I had gotten into a rut of waking up on the wrong side of the bed more often than not.

Small work issues were starting to make me feel like I was going to go off the deep end, and minor inconveniences seemed like insurmountable obstacles. I found myself snapping at well-meaning people, and ending my days with aggravated sighs. I’m not saying that I was totally miserable or a constant beast to be around (at least… I hope not!), but I definitely felt an unpleasant dark cloud hovering, threatening to release a storm at any moment.

After a few weeks of these ups and downs, I knew that I was the only one who could change my unpleasant outlook. After all, there wasn’t really anything huge that was bothering me, just a little bit of everything colliding with each other. It wasn’t the unhelpful phone operator’s fault that my account had gotten messed up, and it wasn’t the person who slammed into my shoulder’s fault that the sidewalk was crowded while everyone was in a hurry. Co-workers and supervisors are allowed to make mistakes here and there, and although it makes my job more difficult in the short term, I needed to remind myself that I’m lucky to work where I do and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

It’s certainly easier said than done, but I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to face my days with a more optimistic attitude. Since my knee healed, I’ve been getting up most mornings for a run before work (either outside or on the treadmill) and instead of zoning out or thinking about how hard I’m sweating, lately I try and give myself a few positive affirmations to get me going for the day. On my “rest” days, I try other various reflective practices; like today, I pulled myself out of bed just a little bit earlier than necessary so that I could enjoy a hot breakfast and a cup of tea at home, instead of shoveling down a yogurt at my desk after arriving late to work. As corny as it sounds, I’ll also even give myself a pep talk on the way in. Of course, the warm weather we’ve been having of late doesn’t hurt, and riding my bike in the sunshine, having a “me moment”, is a surefire way to lift my spirits.

Sometimes, by slowing down and taking the time to decide in advance how my day will go, I can actually feel myself getting through the more annoying bits a little bit easier. Sure, I will still face aggravations, and I know there will still be days where, despite my best efforts, I will get knocked down by the day’s hits. However, I get to start again the next day and give it another go. For a control-freak like myself, this thought alone can have a dramatic impact. So what you’re saying is, I can control my own destiny with a cup of tea and bowl of oatmeal?? Hell, yes — I’ll take it!


One thought on “A conscious effort

  1. This post makes me feel happy. My students are probably thinking I’m creepy and are wondering why I’m smiling while I stare at my computer screen… (They are writing rough drafts for their upcoming narrative…)

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