10 Tips to Manage the Ups and Downs of Life
Some days you’re up. You’re in tune with the universe, your life is flowing, and the present moment makes sense. And other days you’re down. You might be in an emotional funk—because you’re tired, you received bad news, or maybe you just can’t access your sense of purpose. It happens. But we are not our emotions…and as conscious humans, we actually have the power to manage them (and their fluctuations). We may forget this, but it’s true.
Here are 10 tips to maximize your best moments and minimize your worst ones.
5 things to do when you’re up:
1. Do something symbolically to show gratitude. Thank your lucky stars. Tell a coworker that you appreciate them. Hug someone. Hug yourself. A grateful ritual will reinforce goodness and crystalize it in your consciousness.
2. Take a few moments to relish in the now. Slow down, take a breath or two, and bring your attention to the present moment (anyone heard that in a yoga class ;)?). Feeling good is delicious. Enjoy it.
3. Give your feeling a name. Really. I’m not kidding! I call my ‘up’ feeling my Ferris Bueller state. What’s yours? Naming it will let you find it again when you need it most.
4. Share your good vibes with others. Do little things. Hold the elevator door open for a stranger. Call your mom. Leave a larger tip than necessary. If you’ve got abundance today—spend it. That’s why it's given to us.
5. Capture the state. Write down a word or phrase on your notepad. Draw something. Leave yourself a voicemail. Create something for later so that when you come across it, you will be teleported back (even a little bit) to the feeling. (disclaimer - if you get a tattoo to capture the state, make sure it’s awesome).
5 things to do when you’re down:
1. Do something symbolically to show gratitude. Yes I know it’s the same point as above. Expressing thanks opens you to receiving, which gives you an energetic lift. Do it even if your heart’s not in it. That's ok. You’ve heard the cliché “fake it ‘til you make it.” It’s a cliché because it’s true.
2. Recall a positive moment. You’re a pro. You’ve been happy before, and you will be again. Now is the time to find a moment from your memory banks that gives you joy. Take a few breaths and re-remember, re-experience it…do this for 3 minutes, or 20 minutes. It works.
3. Say YES. Be a contrarian to your un-resourceful state. Saying YES will empower you. TAKE that yoga class. GO on that date. The word YES opens possibilities. Explore those possibilities and see what happens. Your attitude will shift.
4. Move your butt. Let your Endorphins help you out. A walk, run, or a favorite physical activity will change your inner chemistry, and (therefore) your attitude. Exercise is a tried and true technique for improving your mood. It's also good for your abs (bonus points for sweating).
5. Get off the computer. Computers, TV, or the Internet will not make you happy. I promise. They’re distractions that drain you of energy, time, and attention. Not good. Turn off the electronics unless you’re jamming a favorite song (THAT is a good idea).
To get a little yogic on you, Patanjali tell us in his first Yoga Sutra, ‘yogas citta vrtti nirodha.’ That’s Sanskrit for, ‘Yoga is managing our thoughts.’ That's very much in line with what I wrote this post about, and I’d like to think that Patanjali would approve of these tips. At the very least, I’d love to know he would call his favorite state of mind.