Ever notice if you are in a bad mood things seem to just grind to a halt. Your energy levels go down, little annoyances become the biggest irritations, you notice people around beginning to feel your distress and discomfort? Productivity and overall happiness are linked it seems. Along with that creativity would seem to suffer. Do you come up with your best strategies when you’re pissed off? One small exception is finding a source of inspiration when things might seem their worst. But that’s not to say that if you have inspiration the effects wouldn’t be multiplied with a better overall general mood.
Lets reel this back into something quite relatable. Do you have a breaker or two in your house that keep going out. You replace the breaker and then it blows again within a few days or even hours. It’s times like these where you may need to step back and look at the broader overall problem. It may be faulty wiring in the walls that’s causing the issue. As difficult as it may be to trace down an electrical problem sometimes that’s what you have to do. Be a good troubleshooter. So being a great electrician and figuring out the problem isn’t the core competency you should strive to improve. Being a great troubleshooter, someone who can break down any problem into its component pieces and figure out what the unlikely cause is would be the thing to continually work at. Let’s throw stress and frustration into the equation. Would you be better at analysis if you were upset or if you had a calm mind and a better overall outlook of the world in general? I think we can all agree a calmer mind is a better sandbox to problem solve in than a cluttered and frustrated brain.
Why does this matter? How you do one thing is how you do anything… Please re-read this and maybe highlight for future reference. It’s really cliche and obvious but the most profound realizations are lost in cliches. So how do you “fix the problem”? I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the Internet as a disclaimer. I do spend a lot of my time studying the human mind and the psychology why things happen the way they do. It all boils down to the breaker problem. Fixing the breaker isn’t going to fix the problem in most cases. Fixing the underlying wiring will.
So how do we tackle fixing our happiness level? Here are some tips that have helped me tremendously:
Meditation and mindfulness. As silly as it may seem a few minutes of mindfulness go a long way and compound benefits over time. I have been practicing meditation for about a year now and I can tell you the positive effects have been overwhelming. Just 20 minutes a day is all it takes. The more the better of course but you have to start small. The best initial win you can have is to just sit down and spend some time every day getting into a practice of mindfulness. I recommend a couple apps: CALM, OMVANA, HEADSPACE. These are all guided meditation apps. The easiest being calm and headspace. Don’t make the goal to be in a meditative state for 10 or 20 mins straight. Make the goal to consciously sit down and shut everything off. Turn on the app. Close your eyes and just breathe. That’s all you have to do. Give the results a week or two to appear. You will find that 10 slow concentrated breaths at a given point in the day will completely transform your mood when you are stuck or pissed off. It will allow you to think clearly and not blow up when you otherwise would.
Routines. Some of the easiest ways to get to a more controlled state is to incorporate routines in your life. A morning ritual such as making your bed as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t have to be perfect (as a disclaimer for life none of it has to be perfect but the more conscious effort you put in the better the overall effect). None of us are Martha Stuart. You don’t have to be unless you want to really be the master of hospital corners. The point is to get a quick win as soon as you wake up. Would you rather start the day with a win or start the day with a stubbed toe? Your choice.
Writing down goals. I’m actually far from the best when it comes to this but I try. I don’t want a trophy or a round of applause because I happen to sit down and do something. Nor do I want the wrath of a thousand judge mental eyes when I don’t. Writing down your 3-5 goals for the day helps you to prioritize what’s really important. Going beyond the 3-5 goals try to figure out which one of these, when accomplished, would render all others obsolete or unimportant. Some of you may have read the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and if you have this one line repeated throughout the book is the most important thing (ironically funny how that rolls off the tounge). Wait, so you’re saying I just have to focus on one thing every day? Yup! Focus on getting that one massively important thing done. Then you can move onto all of the other tasks you need to accomplish. Even if you only get the one thing done and nothing else you have essentially completed the most important thing you need to do for the day! Much better than starting 10 tasks and only getting incremental progress on all of them.
STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP, STOP BEING A VICTIM, AND STOP BEING A GRUMPY SON OF A BITCH! At the end of the day you are only one person. I really could care less about your ethnic background or how you are a single parent of 3 or how your job only pays minimum wage and that’s just enough to keep the lights on let alone buy food. Don’t care about any of that. Do you victimize yourself? Do you tell yourself things about life in general that really are not true (limiting beliefs)? Do you get mad at the little things in life (don’t cry over spilled milk…it could have been wine)? Are you just grumpy and hate people, long lines, political drama, Isis, the color of your house, the zeros in your bank account? Cheer the fuck up and stop being such a grumpy ass! Life is way too short to worry and be fearful and stressful. You have 168 hours every week, just like everyone else. You choose to do with them what you want. Nobody else has a say in the matter. Your boss wants you to stay late for work? You are the ultimate descision maker. Your kids don’t want to eat the dinner you cooked? You are the ultimate descision maker. Your car is broke and you have to ask someone for a ride…and you don’t want to put the money aside for repairs and just wait for fate to take the wheel? You are the ultimate descision maker.
These are just a few solid tips to win the day and ultimately increase your productivity. These little tweaks might seem incidental on the outside but once they become an embedded part of your life you will wonder what you ever did without them. If you do feel like life is overwhelming don’t worry, it’s overwhelming for all of us! You are not alone. No matter the severity. We are all at some point in the storm. That is the mindset you should take away from all of this. The goal is not to get to the point of complete comfort, the goal is to get everything you can control in your life under you wing and manage it. If you do not manage it it will manage you.
Are there any other helpful tips you might have? Scribble them below. I promise not to be a grammar nazi. Have an amazing day and week!