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I am constantly amazed at the power of our minds in shaping our emotions. However, I think the idea of just think happy and it will be so, can be over simplified. I am a big believer that we need to actually FEEL things, feel grief or anger or betrayal and putting on a happy face and ignoring any feelings of pain or anxiety isn’t going to make us feel better in the long run. So for today I am talking about those days when we are just feeling in a funk or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. On these days I do believe we can change our moods by changing our thoughts. We can as they say make lemonade out of lemons.
So yesterday I was at the gym and my trainer (who I love to death and thank her daily for whipping me into shape) had me doing this awful and I do mean awful push-up, turning, abs, pilatesesque exercise. One of those it hurts so bad it BETTER be good for me exercises. We were at the end of my workout and I was just DONE I mean D.O.N.E.
For this exercise, I had to do 5 reps each side 3 sets in total. During the first set, after each side I would put down the weights and just complain to my trainer about how much I hated this exercise, how much it hurt and how hard it was. During the second set, I gave up complaining out loud and just voiced it in my head. Just going to town with how much I HATED this exercise and how bad I was at it. On the last set, I was sick of myself complaining and said to my trainer, “ok, I am just going to do it–I love this exercise, I am strong and this is making even stronger” and she said ,”yes, you can do it” and started cheering me on. Throughout the third set I just kept saying to myself “you are strong and getting stronger”. Amazingly the last set was not only my best set form wise but I whipped through it with much less pain and effort. Now you could argue that it was my last set and that is why I felt better, which might have something to do with it, but I honestly think it was my attitude. I felt lighter on the 3rd set, I felt more confident and the exercise felt easier. I realized that my thoughts were literally dragging me down, making the exercise 1000 times harder than it already was and when I finished I said wow it is amazing the difference your thoughts can make.
I notice that on the days when I am feeling grumpy for no reason that when I start paying attention to my inner dialogue it’s not positive–it is full of judgements about myself or just plain old negativity. When I switch those negative thoughts to positive I do feel better, my posture changes, my walk is lighter, I add a smile to my face, I honestly feel happier. All that it required was changing my thoughts. Sometimes life truly does hand us a bad batch of lemons and there is no hope of getting any lemonade and we do need to experience that pain and disappointment. We need to vent and feel sad. Sometimes life hands us what we perceive as bad lemons when if we look at them again they are sprinkled with sugar and we can make some wonderful lemonade by reframing the situation and changing our thoughts.
What do you think is living happier as easy as changing your thoughts? Do you have examples of times you have changed your negative thinking and felt happier?