This thought occurred to me earlier today as Stevie Wonder's Living for the City came on the Spotify Soul station. It was about 9:30 in the morning and my Love was just about to leave for work. Stevie always moves me. Whether I'm called to feel some intense emotion, or I start to sway, tap my feet, or, as was the case today, I break out in a full-on dance party in my living room, Stevie brings it out in me every time.
My Love stared over at me with that, "you're a big crazy nerd but I love you anyway" look he often gets when I get coocoo in the living room (or anywhere else for that matter), which just made me want to dance more! I've got Stevie, I've got my Love, and the sun is shining on this beautiful day I've got awaiting me. Damn. Life is GOOD. Let's DANCE!
Do you ever have moments like that? Where you're utterly filled with abandon? Where all you can feel is gratitude and joy for something as minor as a funny face your husband makes (that just happens to confirm how well he truly knows you?) I live for this shit. And every time I experience this kind of fulfillment, I try to catalog each minute detail for what I hope will be instant recall at a time when I'm feeling a little less than dance-party.
So what about THOSE moments? You know, the ones that creep in unexpectedly and can make it feel like instead of Stevie Wonder infusing the sound waves it's more like a funeral dirge droning on? It's those times when it feels like nothing's going the way we expected, or "life just isn't fair", or you're thinking, "I'm done. I give up." We all experience those from time to time, right?
So how do we turn those "big-sigh-I'm-bummed-this-sucks" moments into "F**K-YEAH! SING IT STEVIE! LET'S DANCE!" moments?
We just decide.
You: "what do you mean, 'we just decide to have a dance party' in our lowest of the low moments? Amy, that's ridiculous. If I'm feeling bummed out I can't just decide to stop feeling bummed out."
Me: "Yes you can."
You: "No, I can't! I have to feel my feelings and process them and talk about them and work them all the way out until I finally feel better. Sometimes I even have to journal about it and call my best friend and stomp around and cry before I'm done too. I can't just stop in the middle of all that and dance."
Me: "YES YOU CAN. And you must, unless you enjoy all that work and unhappy nonsense?"
You: "Well... No, I guess I don't enjoy it...."
Making a decision to change your attitude in the midst of your bluest moments is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. Our feelings and emotions are a manifestation of our beliefs, which directly impact our thoughts, which then can stir up more feelings and emotions. It's an endless cycle; feelings --> thoughts --> more feelings --> more thoughts. If you're riding the pity-party train it can feel like you're barreling along at 150 miles an hour with no brakes. But, if you can interrupt the cycle with a NEW thought, maybe one that expresses gratitude or joy, you can stop that train in its tracks and turn it right around. Next stop, Happy Town!
While at times it can feel like we're at the mercy of our emotions, by making a small shift in your thinking, even if it's about something you don't necessarily believe to be true yet, you can radically impact your feelings in that moment. For example, when you're feeling blue and you take notice of those feelings, if you think to yourself, "Man, I'm so grateful that the sun's shining today." or, "How did I get so lucky to have so many supportive people in my life who love me so much?" or even, "Damn, that turkey club I had yesterday was DEE-licious!" you'll be hard-pressed to not let a smile creep into your soul.
Speaking of smiles, DO that. Put on a big grin, the goofier the better, and tell me if that doesn't work to improve your attitude. Even if you're totally faking it, simply "pretending" to be happy in the moment sends a powerful message to your brain that says, "Oh, ok. We're heading in THIS direction now. Better course correct quickly so we don't miss that turn to Happy Town over there."
Whatever your mood, whatever feelings or emotions you may be experiencing, and whatever the initial cause may have been that set you down that road to begin with, it simply doesn't matter. Because in THIS moment, you have the power to choose whether you want to wallow in your pity party or to kick ASS in your DANCE PARTY.
The choice is yours.
Still think I'm crazy? Next time you notice you're feeling low, I challenge you to try it and then tell us about your results in the "comments" section below. Have you already tried it? Spontaneous dance parties already part of your "feel better NOW" repertoire? Share with the group so we can all learn how to get better at it. And if you liked what you read here, please don't hesitate to share this page with your friends using the "share" button below.
With love and inspiration (and plenty of moonwalking),