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Case of the (Motivational) Mondays-9/15/14

Welcome to a Case of the Motivational Mondays!  A weekly series taking a break from strictly clothes and outfits to focus on feeling as good as you dress!  For a more thorough introduction to this series click here and here!

Truth time: I had a different post scheduled for today but it was of a very personal nature and while I'm cool with sharing it, I really wasn't liking the way I worded things and realized I was a little too tired to tackle it appropriately tonight, so I'm going to do a fun but more general post tonight.

Life is stressful.  You can blame your job, traffic, insecurities you have, people you don't want to deal with, relationship or singleton problems, complicated friendships and families, goodness I could go on and on!  Most good advice has a nugget of truth for everyone, but we're all so complicated that how we get through any of our hardships are going to vary person to person.  Without knowing your specific circumstances, I would like to share with you a few of my methods that work for most things that bug that hell out of me when I need to mentally reframe.  No matter how right you are to be stressed or mad at someone or a situation, so much of life is perspective and not letting negative emotions rule the roost so that you can make effective decisions.  And that's probably the only blanket advice I'd ever give anyone!  Here are my tricks for getting through anything:

  1. Fake a smile for 30 seconds.  This one sounds goofy, but it really works!  If you're reeling from a stressful situation or are about to face something you're dreading, literally just start grinning (preferably be alone or be with someone who knows what you're doing so you don't make them concerned for your sanity!).  It's actually a scientific way of tricking your brain to elevate your mood.  The first 10 seconds you'll do it you'll be thinking this is/I look craaazzzyyy, but after that point you lose the self consciousness of it as you remember smiling is fun and from there you start to feel a little bit better.  It may not change your circumstances altogether, but it'll help reframe your mood and give your brain a temporary break from the negative...hopefully helping you better deal with whatever it is that's plaguing you.
  2. Drink a lot of water and remind yourself to take deep breaths.  Ideally get as much sleep as you can too, but sometimes that's just too tall of an order!  Around 2 years ago I started to realize that hydration (or lack thereof) can contribute to your behavior as much as how much sleep you get.  Every time I feel like I'm reacting too hard to a situation I stop and ask myself how much water I've had that day, and despite that answer I tend to water up from there.  I also have an app on my phone that's some kind of guided breathing exercise (that I really don't use too often...oops) but the idea behind it is that breathing can fuel your energy.  While I'm not perfect at using this app, I do try to remind myself as often as possible to take deep breaths as they're always better for you than shallow ones-which we often find ourselves doing without realizing it.  
  3. Always live in gratitude.  I'm always a realist and I used to be overly neurotic, so when I first heard of this tactic it was a hard pill for me to swallow because I interpreted it as dismissing the reality that negatives do in fact exist.  Really it's just about keeping things in perspective in that regardless of whatever up hill battles you're facing, you're reminding yourself that not everything in your life is bad.  It could be as simple as being thankful for your pet or significant other because they're there regardless if things are good or bad.  It could be taking a moment to reflect on how things were worse some time ago and thank goodness you're not going through those situations on top of everything else.  Kind of like the smiling exercise, if you remember to remember the good enough, your brain will short circuit you away from going towards the negative too often.
  4. Throw yourself into something productive or positive when someone/something is bothering you.  Speaking of gratitude, I feel thankful that 5 years ago I started this exercise.  I remember how it started specifically; a friend who is still a dear friend to this day was going through a particularly flaky and borderline self righteous phase and I was getting the brunt of it.  I borderline wanted to explode on her, but recognizing that it wouldn't be constructive, I put down my phone and deleted the lengthy text I drafted and picked up a book.  Sure, it was hard to completely tune her out but I kept reminding myself that focusing on my anger wasn't helping anything but educating myself on the topic the book was providing would better my life.  Now this practice is like second nature to me-hell this weekly series was in part inspired by my failed heart surgery, so there!  This practice puts a positive in your life you didn't have previously and takes away time from focusing on the negatives; two birds, one stone.
  5. Cut yourself off from dwelling on something negative.  This is probably my newest discovery that I love.  Too many circumstances were out of my control earlier this year and I got sick of giving them power.  I don't believe it's healthy to sweep stuff under the rug because if you're naturally reacting something chances are it's for a reason and you need to address it.  That said, sometimes we just fester on something and it stops being productive.  Focusing on a problem too often gives you tunnel vision so you no longer see a situation objectively and it puts you in a rut where it's harder to focus on anything else.  Your limit may vary if you try this, but I limit myself to five minutes when it comes to either a situation that's out of my control or a finding a solution that isn't coming to me immediately.  It took a lot of willpower to get the hang of it, but like the last suggestion, it's basically become second nature to me now.  I don't even have to cut myself off anymore as I feel my skin crawl if it's been over a handful of minutes and I want to focus on something else.
These sound small, but all of the above have had a huge impact in my life.  Practicing these can be like a domino effect in that you're really just pushing one tile, but between these habits becoming second nature and shaking things up in your brain so that other small or positive steps will begin to appeal to you, the more and more tiles will start to come down without you lifting a finger.  

Hope everyone had a happy start to their week!!

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  1. I love these ideas! Refocusing is really challenging for me and I'm definitely going to learn to fake a smile for 30 secs! :)

    1. Yay! I'm glad!! The smile exercise is fun in a crazy-ish way lop-enjoy!!

  2. Being grateful definitely makes a huge difference. Being either a Pollyanna or a Debbie Downer are equally untruthful ways of looking at things. I feel that by being gracious, you can see the good and the bad and find some happiness in between. Great post!

    1. I couldn't agree more! It helps keeps things in perspective and to be humble about the good and better handle the bad, and roll with it either way for sure! Thank-you, pretty!

  3. I love the water one. It really does make a difference! I'm a water horse! Always going to the bathroom. <3 Haha

    1. Hahaha, I totally hear that! At least it keeps us calm! XOXOXO

  4. I need to get myself to drink more water. That's like one of the first things I need to change in my life! Also being grateful is super important. I read somewhere that a good way to do this is every morning when you wake up (or every night before you sleep) think of three things you are grateful for. It's supposed to make a difference overtime. I need to get myself to do this too!

    xo, Serli

    1. I can say that it really does! Eventually your brain rewires itself to shortcut to whatever you devote your time towards, so if you get in the habit of being grateful once or twice a day it'll come naturally during other times of the day and the negativity will be more drowned out. MWAH


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