Let’s face it – we all have crappy days. We get down in the dumps, depressed, overwhelmed or maybe just feeling like we have no idea if we are on the right path or not.
I had one of those days recently. I got out my own Well Being Assessment and as I started scoring myself first thing I realized is things were not quite as bad as I was making them.
This allowed me to drill down to the real problem of what was bothering me and from there I was able to break down my thinking and identify the thoughts causing the sadness.
This week I’m sharing the process I used. Let’s dive in…
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
We all have crappy days but what matters is getting ourselves OUT of it
Here’s a simple process to follow to get yourself out of a bad place
These are not skills we are born with but we can learn
If you truly want to feel better start with setting an intention to do so
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, Jennifer Dawn here, welcome to episode No 14 of Happy Productive, what to do when you feel like crap? Okay you guys, let’s face it, we all have those crappy days where we get down in the dumps are we’re feeling depressed, or we’re just feeling like maybe super overwhelmed, or we start to just sort of question everything, right? It’s just like I have no idea if I’m on the right path or not if anything in my life is working, right?
So I recently had one of those days myself and I got out my own well-being assessment. This is a tool that I developed. It’s included in the Joy Guide, which is my book, “The Joy Guide, Finding Your Joy in a World of Crap”. And it’s also a tool that I will use with my clients when we first start working together to just get a sense of where they’re at. And part of the well-being assessment is you go through all the major areas of your life and you score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. And then you ask yourself the question, well, if you score any less than 10, well, what would it take, what would need to change, right, to bring my score up to 10 in my life?
So here I am having this really bad, crappy day. And as I started scoring myself, because of course, when I first started the tool, I was just thinking, “oh, gosh, everything in my life is terrible, every area of my life is completely out of whack.” Right? And so as I went through, and I started scoring and asking myself, “what would really need to change to bring this area to a 10?” The first thing that I realized is, “wait a second, Jen, you just need to slow your roll here because things are not quite as bad as you’re making them.”
And that realization helped me to kind of drill down to the real problem of what was actually bothering me. And then from there, I was able to kind of get into my thinking, start to challenge it, and start to identify the specific thoughts, right, that were causing these negative emotions, the sadness, the depression, and just kind of being grumpy and angry at all things in life.
Now, this was not a skill that I was born with you guys. So don’t make the mistake of thinking, “oh, well, she’s different.” Not true at all. Nobody is really born with these skills. It’s something that I had to learn. And the good news is that you can learn it too. And these are absolutely skills worth learning why so that you can stop your own suffering, and you can get yourself back on track and back into a state of HAPPY PRODUCTIVITY. Now, this is not a process that I created. I learned it from 2 really amazing, super powerful women and I’m going to share their names with you. The first is Byron Katie, if you’re not familiar with her, she has a body of work called ‘The Work” and it’s a system of 4 questions. You ask yourself and then a turn around. It sounds like super simple.
And when I first read her book, I was just like, what? How can you know asking a few questions really makes such a difference. And it blew my mind! And when I, when I first got into it, I didn’t quite understand it. And so of course, I read her book, I watched some videos and watching her in the process of doing her work is just simply simply amazing. And hands down, I have to say, it’s probably the most powerful tool I’ve ever found for insight and self-reflection, for helping us to stop arguing with reality, and to really end our own suffering.
But here’s the deal, and I’m going to give you fair warning, right? If you go into the work with Byron, Katie and you go into it, wanting to blame others, or feel bad for yourself or stay in that victim mentality. That’s probably not going to happen. It’s really not going to happen because it’s that powerful in that eye opening, if you really do it and you take it seriously. So if you really want to get to the truth of what’s really inside you, what’s really bothering you, and where you need to work on yourself, then hands down Byron Katie’s The Work, that’s absolutely it.
Now the second woman who has been a huge influence on me is Brooke Castillo. She is the owner of the Life Coach School. She’s a life coach and a weight loss coach. And I believe she also helps people stop drinking. And she’s absolutely one of my favorite role models. And she uses something called “The Model.” And it is based on the work of Byron Katie, so there is no wonder right then I love them both. Because Brookes work stemmed from Byron Katie’s work and again, just really, really amazing tools to help us end our own suffering, learn about ourselves, and be able to kind of get ourselves back on track now.
Using what I’ve learned from both of them, in today’s show, I’m going to kind of summarize the process that I use. And my process is a little bit different. It’s a combination of what I’ve learned from them. But I’ve also kind of added my own spin on it, which has worked really well for me. And I want to share that with you today so that you too, when you’re having one of those bad days can know what to do so that you can stop feeling like crap because it’s just no fun.
So first thing that you want to do is make sure that you grab a notepad, I use my Best Journal Ever, that’s my kind of go-to tool for having a crappy day and need to work that out. But if you don’t have a best journal ever, of course, you can just grab a notepad and pen or pencil anything that you like writing with. Now, if you really are having a crappy day and you truly want to feel better, the first thing that you’re going to need to do is set your own intention to actually feel better. And you know what I’m talking about, like you’re in the middle of having I’m in a pity party, and you really don’t want to get out of it, you want people to maybe give you some attention and feel bad for you or whatever, right? And so this is the first thing is that this is not about staying stuck in that pity party. So you’re gonna want to set an intention that you know what this kind of sucks and I want to feel better. And with that intention, be willing to take some action to actually make it happen.
So once you’ve set your intention, you say, “I want to feel better, and I’m willing to do something to actually make that happen.” Then grab whatever you’re going to write on and write with and go find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Now, if you’re really really having a bad day, and those emotions are just you feeling so out of control, the first thing that I want you to do is set a timer for 20 minutes and journal it out. Okay, just let it rip. You get to be petty. You get to be you know, argumentative you get to just rip whatever apart, even if it’s yourself apart, that you need to rip apart, that’s okay because the goal here is to clear out that top emotional layer.
And the reason why I say set the timer for 20 minutes is I really want you to go that full 20 minutes like push to get that top emotional layer kind of worked out. Now as you’re journaling, you’re venting, you’re ranting and raving, whatever, you could be crying, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be angry, it could be sadness or grief. You’re just so unhappy, whatever that happens to be. Just let it all out. Nothing is off limits, right.
But as you’re journaling, I want you to pay attention to any beliefs or critical thinking anything like that, that might pop up on those pages. Now, the pages themselves, we’re going to rip up and we’re going to destroy this is not a journaling exercise. You come back and read. You don’t have to go to therapy over it. You don’t have to explain it anything like that. It’s just a tool to help you clear out the top emotional layer so that you can clear your mind and you can think a little bit better, okay? But as you’re journaling, you might find some things that are like in a negative or a limiting belief or a thought that you have. And I want you to just simply take that belief or those thoughts and write them on a blank sheet of paper, right, a blank sheet of paper. You’re going to rip up those journaling pages and let all that stuff go. But from the thought or the belief that came up in that exercise, we’re going to then do some work on that, okay?
And here’s how it works. So usually, there’s some sort of a circumstance involved, right? Something that’s happened, it’s usually outside of us. It’s often outside of our control. And it could be anything. It’s something we saw in the news. It’s a movie we watched, and it triggered an unpleasant memory. It could be COVID-19, right? That’s got a lot of people stirred up right now, things outside of our control, you’re stuck at home. Maybe you lost your job. Like anything that is an outside circumstance outside of your control. And usually this outside circumstances happen will then cause us to think thoughts or store up some of our limiting beliefs. Now, a belief is just simply a bunch of thoughts that we’ve thought so many times, it basically kind of gets ingrained in us and it becomes a belief but a belief and our thinking are the same thing. It’s just the belief. We’ve thought those thoughts a whole lot of times, okay?
So then we come across that belief or that thinking and it causes us to then feel certain emotions and it’s those emotions which sort of lead us down that road to “Wow, I’m really having a crappy day,” and it’s almost like a repeating loop. Now, sometimes the emotion will actually come first. This has happened to me many times where I just start feeling something and it’s like, “eu, this really feels yucky.” And so from there, I investigate, “well, what are the thoughts that I’m thinking or the belief I’ve tapped into that’s causing me to feel this negative or unpleasant emotion.” But guys, it’s totally a loop, okay? So you have a circumstance or something that happens or you come across, that leads us to our thinking, right? The thoughts that we’re having, that leads us to the emotion, how we’re feeling. And from there that’s going to drive our actions and our results.
So think about it. If you’re having a pretty crappy day, it’s probably that you’re going to be hard pressed to show up, take some amazing action be super highly productive, get the result that you’re after when you’re in that negative emotional space. And so that’s why it’s so important to kind of look at this loop. and explore it, and challenge it and work on getting ourselves kind of out of it, okay? Because once we’ve explored the thoughts, we start to identify how they’re making us feel. And this happens in a non-judgmental way. We’re just being aware and we’re just looking at these things. Then we can start to ask ourselves, “well, who would I be without this thought?” “How would I feel if I wasn’t thinking these things?” Or even better, like “what thoughts do I need to be thinking to get the emotion that I really want to feel” it’s almost like kind of reverse engineering ourselves into a better day.
Now, I’m going to walk you through the process that I use. It’s simple, and it’s kind of a hybrid of Brooke and Katie, and honestly, I just kind of mix it up depending on the situation and what’s making me feel like crap, but I’m going to just outline it for you here today. So first thing is journal out that top layer of frustration and emotion. If you can’t go for 20 minutes, go for 10 that’s so fine. If you really, really jacked up and you’re like, “I need to go for 30 minutes.” Okay, fine, go as long as you need until you feel like you’ve kind of cleaned out that top layer of emotion. Just kind of scroll back through whatever you journaled out. And even like I’ve been doing this for a long time. So, as I’m journaling out that layer, like I recognize that limiting belief, like immediately when it comes out of me and I’ll just underline it, okay? If you haven’t done this just kind of go back, re-read what you wrote and kind of just be searching for limiting beliefs or thoughts that are making you feel really bad.
Then what you want to do is just write that on another sheet of paper and ask the question, “can I absolutely know that this belief or this thought is true?” When we ask ourselves, honestly, the answer is usually no. Right? Because we’ve assigned a lot of meaning to something that isn’t really true. And this is the idea is we want to start challenging that belief, so that we can start to break it apart. Once we’ve asked “can I know if this is absolutely true,” then we can ask ourselves when I think this thought or belief “How is it making me feel?” Right? It’s making me feel sad. It’s making me feel angry. “How is it making me feel when I think this or I believe this.”
Next, we’ll ask “well, what would I need to think or believe instead to feel better?” Right? Let’s give that some thought like, “what should I be thinking here that would make me feel a whole lot better?” And finally, the last question is, “is there an action that I could take to feel better?” Right? So those are the questions that we want to ask. So journal, identify that limiting belief or that thought, and then start asking some questions around it. And guys, these are not the only questions if you come up with some of your own questions. The idea here is to challenge that thinking instead of just you know, buying the story that our ego mind has made up.
So here’s a little example for you. So I’m originally from Arizona, but I live in upstate New York and the weather here can really get me depressed, you guys, I’m being dead serious. I like sunshine. I like being warm. And I find that often doesn’t happen here about 9 months of the year, which is a lot. It’s a big part of the year, right? And so the other day I got up, I looked at the weather report, and I woke up in a great mood, okay, I woke up, I was feeling wonderful. I looked at the weather report for the day. And it was like 7 days straight of clouds and rain. And I sort of felt myself sort of slipping down into that “my whole life sucks rabbit hole.” I’m sure maybe you felt this before too. And even though I’m a pretty happy person, like I literally felt my emotions shifting. And I felt myself getting very angry, very bitter, kind of resentful, and just like full out grumpy. And I’m like, “this will not do.”
So of course, I sat my butt in the chair. And I did a journaling session. And as I was venting out my frustrations on this weather and how mad I was that it wasn’t sunny and warm. And it seemed like wow, I just, you know, I just couldn’t really be happy if I wasn’t going to be able to get more sunshine and warm weather. And as I was journaling, sure enough, I was like, oh, that was the belief that kind of presented which was “I can’t be happy if the weather isn’t good.” So then from there, I asked myself, well, “is that true? Can I absolutely know that’s true?” And of course, my first gut reaction is, “Hell yeah, that’s true. Of course, I can’t be happy if it’s not warm outside.” But the more I challenged it, I’m like, “Can I absolutely know that’s true. I can’t be happy if the weather isn’t good?” Well, of course not. That’s ridiculous, right?
So then I asked when I think this “How does it make me feel so when I think I can’t be happy if the weather isn’t good? It makes me angry and bitter. I’m mad at Mother Nature. I kind of feel like a victim right? Because the weather is out of my control. It’s something I can’t control and what have I done, I’ve given my power over to something I can’t control. So I’ve turned over my power to be happy to the weather which is outside of my control. So what would I need to think instead to feel better? Well, first of all to start to separate the weather is the weather and happiness is my happiness and the weather really, the reality of it has really no control over my happiness. Clouds and rain don’t have the power to steal my joy. It’s just weather. That’s it. It’s just weather. And this is a crappy belief, right? And it was causing me a lot of pain. And I set my intention that “Wait a second, I don’t want to think this way anymore. I don’t want to have my mood determined by the weather report.”
So I asked myself, “well, is there an action that I could take to feel better?” And yes, there’s a lot of things I could do to feel better. One I could do this work, two when I’m frustrated or angry, I can journal it out and clear my head. I can book a trip home right to Arizona. That’s gonna make me feel a whole lot better so that I know I have some sunshine most definitely in my future. We have a home sauna in our home and I can go sit in my sauna and I can feel super warm. I can do my favorite fire meditation. Heck, I could even just bundle up really good. So I’m nice, toasty warm and go for a walk in the rain, I can take back my power from a circumstance, it’s outside of my control, like the weather, and I can stop letting it have power over my mood.
So I came up with a lot of actions that I could do to feel better. Now this is just an example of how and you might be thinking a silly one, right the weather, but it’s an example of how our thinking can really affect our emotions. And when we’re struggling with that negative emotional charge, it becomes really difficult to show up in our lives to take actions that move us forward, and to be in a place where we can get the results that we really want to have in life.
So the next time that you find yourself like feeling like crap, your productivity is totally off the rails. You can use this process to explore your thoughts and the emotions that are causing that grief and then challenge them and start to take back your power. Again, you can mix up these questions, add your own questions, but the idea here is to really challenge and to not allow reality like the reality of a cloudy day to steal our power, or whatever your reality is and to stop your suffering, based on whatever the reality is. Now, what really happened in that weather example, it truly did cause me to kind of spiral down. But what really happened, really the reality of it, I looked at the weather. That’s it! Nothing actually happened. I just I looked at the weather, it was my thinking that caused me to spiral down. It was a cloudy day. That’s it, it was a cloudy day, right? Totally outside of my control and no need to assign any other meaning to it and no need for me to like lose my happy powers.
So when I stopped and took a closer look at what was causing that unhappiness, I was able to take back the power and start feeling better. Now I use kind of a silly example like the weather. It didn’t feel silly to me when I was going through it, but it probably sounds a little silly, but I use that example. But I also want you to know like, you can use this process many times with much more serious emotion. So I come from an abusive childhood. And I’ve gone through many years of trauma therapy to kind of deal with the aftermath of the things that happened to me as a child. And I have to say, this process has been incredibly helpful in helping me to heal helping me to understand why I was feeling so bad, I will get bouts of PTSD, you know, certain things will trigger me and you kind of lose all cognitive processing and sort of lose yourself.
If you’ve dealt with any kind of trauma or PTSD, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s absolutely awful. But you can use this process even in serious situations like that, so that you can steer your thinking in a much better direction and kind of get yourself back. But it all starts with an intention that you actually want to feel better and then you’re willing to sit down and do the work to work through it and really work it out for yourself. If you follow this process and you identify something in your life that you’re like, “wow, I really need to change.” That’s okay. Just use the process to take back your power and know that you can make it happen. Just small steps forward.
If you need help, you can always come join us and Goal Achievers, which is our monthly life coaching membership, or the Inner Circle for business owners, where we take you by the hand and we kind of walk you through all of this stuff and we really help you eliminate frustration and overwhelm from your business we work on your thinking, and we will get you back on track together.
If you want more information about either of those programs, you can visit my websites, Best Planner Ever so all one word bestplannerever.com. You can also pick up the Best Journal Ever that’s available on bestplannerever.com and from there you can learn about Goal Achievers If you’re interested in business coaching, you can visit my website, jenniferdawncoaching.com. All right, you guys, that’s it. Now get out there. No crappy days! Get out there and go have a Happy Productive day!