Do you ever get stuck in a negativity rut that seems to last for days on end? The kind of rut where you wake up annoyed at the world and go to bed even more so? A rut where nothing seems to go right and no amount of perfectionism, willpower or encouraging words from your loved ones seems to help? It’s no secret that even the most positive and optimistic people get into a looping negative headspace sometimes.
But before I go any further, I just want to clarify that I’m not taking about ruts where major problems are happening. E.g. you’re getting divorced or you’ve lost your job. These are legitimate issues/situations where I believe you have every right to feel bad (as long as it doesn’t continue on forever and ever). I’m talking about the general frumpy patches we go through, that have us looking for all the negativity in our life. They can get so intense that you end up road raging in an uncalled for situation, or you might find yourself getting worked up just because you have to wait in a queue for more than 5 minutes. It’s the little things that just really start to get your goat.
This was exactly me a couple of weeks ago. I had a bad day at work, and that bad day carried over to the next day, and the next day, and before I knew it I was hating pretty much everyone and everything. But luckily I have a trick up my sleeve which gets me out of it pretty much every time. It’s an exercise that I also use with my clients when they’ve reached their tipping point. And let me tell you, I get some fabulous feedback from it.
Let me introduce you to “A Day of No Complaining”, or a DONC day as one of my friends affectionately termed it. This exercise follows pretty much as you would think. From the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed you are not allowed to complain in any way shape or form. Not even to yourself in your own head. This can be really tricky, and requires a degree of awareness of your own thought patterns, but the rewards can be truly satisfying.
“So how do I maintain this while everything is going wrong around me” you may ask? The trick is to attempt to find the silver lining in every situation. For example, if your internet is running particularly slow you would remind yourself of the fact that at least you have internet. Or perhaps your colleagues keep barging into your office with more and more tasks to do. You could tell yourself, “at least I have a job that challenges me”.
Now, I’m not saying that you’ll get through the day without complaining once, but the aim of the game is to try and actively appreciate your life and regain perspective. This is really an exercise with an underlying tone of gratitude. You may struggle at first, and if you fall of the bandwagon, take a deep breath and try again. You will come to realise just how easily your mind can turn to negative thoughts, but also how much more smoothly your day can go when you defeat them.
I’ve had clients tell me that they didn’t realise how negative they were in general until they tried this exercise, and it really opened them up to changing their entire outlook on life. I’ve also had people thank me because they’ve actually had a really enjoyable day after trying this. Personally I really like the fact that I get my worldly perspective sorted out. Nothing is ever as bad as I think it is.
So what have you got to loose? A DONC day may be just what you need.
Love and Blessings,