You awaken to a dimly lit bedroom as the sun peers through the blinds. Rolling over to check the clock, you realize you have a few minutes to rest and think about your day.
Thoughts begin to crowd your head and tumble over one another like a waterfall.
The dental appointment thoughts morph into plans for a shower and makeup, then turn to decent clothes for two kids and yourself, and then shift into piled-up laundry and that lost shoe and wishing you’d lose ten pounds so you could wear those capris to the dental appointment.
Before you know it, you get the feeling that the coming day is going to be overwhelming. And you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.
Like water running downhill, our thoughts can quickly slide to the negative if we’re not careful. Your first thoughts after waking can set the tone for the day, so that’s a time to be especially vigilant about where they go.
[break][/break]There are ways to keep stress from ruining your day.
The first step is to notice the rising emotions you feel. That’s a tipoff to the direction your thoughts are running.
Next, take those thoughts captive. You can choose what to think.
You might still feel some residual stress and discouragement. It’s tempting to go back and pick up those worries and turn them over and examine them. Too much self-introspection isn’t helpful. Get up and get busy.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote, “How did Moses rise above his negative mood? By acting in exactly the opposite way to how he felt….The remedy is to act in a way that enlarges us…..Rather than acting small because we feel small, we can behave in a way that indicates greatness. Our feelings will rise to match our actions.”
You may not feel great, but you can behave like a great person. If you want to be a good Mom, start doing the things that good Moms do. If you want to become a cheerful person, start acting and reacting like a cheerful person. Your feelings will rise to match your actions.
We don’t really need to have a big crisis going on to have a bad day. No, we do it to ourselves. One little suggestion in our heads and we take it and run.
Instead, why don’t we have a good day? When the thoughts start tumbling like river rapids, let’s navigate the rough waters with our power of choice and a short list of to-do’s and details.
It’s probably not as bad as we think but we’ll keep thinking until we get it out of our head and onto paper.
Choosing where to direct our thoughts and using simple tools like a to-do list can keep us from going over the edge of the waterfall, and keep us on track for a great day.
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