For the past few weeks, I've been strapped in tight on an emotional rollercoaster, soaring up and whizzing down and then climbing back up again. My surgery went well and I'm recovering much more quickly than I thought I would (hooray!), and I over the past two weeks, I was amazed by the kind comments, emails, DMs, and texts I received after writing The Power of (Not) Telling Your Story. I've been filled with gratitude and love for all those who have shown me support — both in real life and online — over the past few weeks. The past few weeks have been filled with so many more positive experiences than I would have imagined. But, of course, I've also been recovering from surgery, dealing with the ups and downs of physical and emotional pain, coping with the flood of emotions that came from sharing some of what I'd been going through, and struggling, more often than I'd like to admit, to stay positive.
Awhile back, I'd jotted down some questions for myself in my Notes app when I was having a tough time, and I accidentally stumbled across them again last week, just when I needed them most! (It's funny how that happens, isn't it? The things you need to see always seem to find you when you need to see them!) I thought I'd share them with you this week since they've really been helping me when I feel like my emotions are getting the best of me.
I don't know about you, but I tend to get stuck in my own head way too often (a side-effect of being an introvert, I suspect!), and sometimes I get so lost wandering around in there that I forget that I can take action, rather than just allowing my emotions to guide me around. Here are some of the questions I've been asking myself when I'm feeling negative, overwhelmed, or just spending too much time thinking about things that aren't productive for my mental health.
First, I like to check in to see if I've been engaging in any not-so-healthy activities that might be leading me down the road to Negative Town. I ask myself...
HAVE YOU BEEN...
- Scrolling endlessly online?
- Worrying unnecessarily?
- Comparing yourself to others?
- Abusing any substances?
- Pacing around aimlessly?
- Overanalyzing other people?
- Eating food that's unhealthy?
- Spending money needlessly?
- Focusing on stressful subjects?
- Hanging with negative people?
- Thinking only about yourself?
If I've answered yes to any of those, I know I'm not on the path to Positivity City, and I need to reroute myself. Sometimes this can be more challenging that I'd like it to be. As much as I know I want to be more positive, negativity can be so alluring (and, having spent so much of my life with negativity as my default, it's also oddly comforting). So, in order to venture down a more positive path, I have to convince myself to take an action that I know will shift my mindset. Here's what I ask myself to get started...
HAVE YOU TRIED...
- Creating something?
- Taking a relaxing bath?
- Calling a friend to chat?
- Reading a new book?
- Practicing some yoga?
- Listening to music?
- Going for a walk?
- Helping someone else?
- Learning something?
- Playing with Barkley?
- Completing a task?
- Being grateful?
More often than not, one of those things will inspire me to get up (usually out of my bed, where I can be found most often, scrolling through my phone for hours, ugh!) and try something that'll help me get out of my head and out of my rut. Experiencing emotions (even the negative ones) is never a bad thing, but if you find yourself overanalyzing everything, stressing to the point that it's all you can do, or ruminating on things that are out of your control, it's not helpful to stay in that emotional state. These questions prompt me to get out of Negative Town and make my way to Positivity City. These are obviously tailored to my preferences, but I highly recommend making your own list of "Have You Tried..." to keep on hand when you're in your head and need to get out. I'd love to hear what you'd include on your list! Let me know in the comments below!