Have you ever experienced a day when everything worked out exactly the way you wanted? Have you ever experienced a day when everything seemed to go wrong from the minute you woke up? Usually, it is a combination of both. Some things go as planned, while others might not. But what if I told you that no matter what kind of day you are having, you can flow through it? Here are three steps to help you with that.
1 – Start your day
Yes, START your day – fresh, balanced, timeless. When you wake up in the morning, you have a choice to dive right into your daily tasks or to take some time for yourself and set the tone for your day. The minute your alarm rings, that choice is yours. Do you grab your phone and check the news, your emails, your messages, or do you grab your phone, put on a 5-minute timer, and center yourself? Meditation, breathing exercises, affirmations, intention setting – all these mindfulness practices can help you to start your day in peace. That is when you are in your flow.
In the morning, this practice is the easiest to apply. Studies show that whatever we shift our attention to within the first 30 minutes of our morning, has a significant influence on our mood and interpretation of our day. While you move along with your day, tap into those five minutes of mindfulness whenever you feel rushed, stressed, or overwhelmed, recalling your intentions, affirmations, and the feeling of starting fresh, balanced, and timeless.
2 - Resist the urge NOT to pause
Do you take less or more breaks when working from home? Do you catch yourself thinking about pausing and then rechecking the clock 30 minutes later? I believe, based on my own experience, that we choose to take fewer breaks when working from home instead of working in the office. The small talk, the coffee breaks, the lunch gatherings, none of it is there when working from home. Even the walk to the bathroom is shorter.
I sit down at my kitchen table in the morning, and for whatever reason, I feel obligated to keep sitting down until the rest of my workday. Do you feel interrupted, guilty, or distracted by taking a break? If your answer is yes, then work on resisting the urge NOT to take a break. The “NOT” is essential here. That urge is real as you are trying to stay motivated, don’t want to interrupt your flow, and honestly believe that this next email will only take another 5 minutes to write (which you know it won’t).
The moment you think about pausing, drop your pen and lock your screen, instead of finishing up another email, preparing tomorrow’s meeting, or any other task you are working on. Do not let another 15, 30, or 45 minutes pass by because, during that time, other things will appear on your list before you consider taking a break again. By then, it might be time to dial into the next meeting or head to your next appointment. It is that “one-more-thing” that puts you in a rush, overwhelm, and time constraint. That is when your never-ending story begins. How can you flow when you are rushing and skipping ahead?
Resist the urge NOT to pause and allow yourself a real break, stepping away from your workstation no matter how urgent your task seems to be – believe me; it can wait. The world will be the same. Use the time to recharge by doing something that elevates your mood. For me, it is listening to music or playing that audiobook, stepping outside into my backyard, and cuddling with my dog. Create your own list of activities that help you shift your mindset from rushing to resting and let that list motivate you to hit the pause button more often.
3 - Finding the positive
Things happen. My dog threw up before breakfast the other day. I spare you the details. Now find the positive. The positive was she did it on the hardwood floor, so it was an easy clean-up. The positive was that she ate her breakfast afterward, which made me less worried that something was seriously wrong with her. You can find something positive in almost every situation. All it takes is practice. Is there some irony to it? Maybe, but eventually, that irony will help you realize that it isn’t the end of the world and concentrating on the positive will help you move along those clouds that you are conjuring up.
Notice when things go well. It is so important to take a moment when you feel good and sit in it, witnessing your feelings. That moment when you accomplish a task. That moment when you receive positive news. So often, the positive becomes a fleeting experience, while the negative lingers. You can shift that by actively noticing that you just had a joyous moment, a successful encounter, an encouraging situation. Someone was helping you out, you had a fabulous idea, you connected with a friend, or you uplifted someone else.
I believe there is something to learn from every experience. But I also believe that it doesn’t always have to be a huge life lesson. By finding the positive when things don’t go as planned, you are lightening the load, and how often can you laugh about things in hindsight? So why not smile at them when they happen? It will make you feel better for sure.
My final advice, if you cannot find any positive in a situation, call a friend and share your experience. You are not alone. I called my friend the other day and told her that I had flooded my kitchen. Stuff happens. Sometimes it happens on the same day as your dog throws up before breakfast. But being able to share can be your positive if one is hard to come by.
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