This is apparently a made-up day – but aren’t they all?
On the third Monday of the new year every year, we are all apparently at our lowest ebb.
Christmas is over, the weather is rubbish, we have all spent too much money and our ability to repay any debts we have incurred over the festivities (and probably the last year) is in the dole-drums. Our summer holidays are still a way off, we can feel like we have nothing in the short-term future to look forward to and we have likely already failed at any new year’s resolutions we set for ourselves – miserable, right?!
Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. Just because someone once sat down and worked this day out with an actual mathematical formula, doesn’t mean it has to be true for all of us. We all have free-will, the ability to choose what we engage with and how we live our lives. We choose our mind set in how we engage with our thinking, and how we end up feeling.
For example, if I choose to dwell on the Blue Monday issues, I could decide that I’m helpless and there’s nothing I can do about it all; it’s overwhelming!
Or I could say to myself; well I know that all of this is there, but feeling bad about it won’t resolve the issues, or help me or anyone else. Therefore, I acknowledge the challenges, because I am an adult after all – and subsequently responsible for all of these grown up things, but I trust myself and I know that challenges can be overcome so I choose to remain upbeat about the good things in my life and work my way through the challenges as efficiently and quickly as I can. But I will not dwell on them. I will not allow any of these challenges to dominate my thinking and therefore my feelings.
Did you know that how we feel is always a result of the thinking we choose to engage with? Everyone has positive things in their lives, and yet a lot of people really get fixated on the negative thinking, and allow this to rule how they function. We humans do have a habit of noticing the bad stuff. Consider this: you did something at work and you received high praise for it, your colleagues all say, “wow! That was outstanding, well done!”
You meet with your boss and they say, “well it was good, but had you considered that you could have done it like this?” What is the thing you remember about how your work was received? We do have tendencies to hold on to any bit of criticism (constructive or not) and belittle the praise.
What we need to do is to remember to hold onto the praise and give ourselves some. Particularly then at this time of year, where we know any usual challenges can be experienced more highly. A real game-changer for me on improving my positive thinking was practicing gratitude daily. I did a month challenge where every evening I would write about my day: 5 things that were true – facts that cannot be denied, e.g. I like white wine or I am a cat person; 5 things of beauty – e.g. the sun shone brightly and warmly today, a big bear hug from my best friend; and 5 things I’m grateful for – e.g. my health or a toasted sardine sandwich made for me by my sister.
Some days this exercise can be really hard to do, but I kept it going, noticing the little but important things in my life, and what’s happened since is that I notice these things automatically now, and they lift me.
So, whether Blue Monday is real or not, whether we feel low at this time of year, if we really make an effort we can choose to engage with negative thinking or not. We can choose how we move through our lives, and we can practice good habits that make this easier for us.
Are you looking to make changes in your life in 2018? I can help you – why not book a free, no obligation Possibility Session with me.