Mornings play a major role in setting the tone for the day.
When I wake up hating life, I ruin things for myself. I wait forever to get out of bed then rush through breakfast and stress-out getting to where ever I need to go. Any little obstacle or annoyance feels like the entire universe trying to sabotage me, and I work myself deeper and deeper into a funk, which constantly reconfirms that my life does suck.
Then the next day I’d wake up and be fine, but perhaps disappointed about how I acted the day before.
I’ve discovered is that it is possible to stop grumpiness in it’s tracks!
Dreams and mental disorientation due to waking can cause our minds to go off on thought tangents that don’t help us start our day right. And this is when we can step in and consciously guide it back to where it needs to be.
Here’s what I practice:
1. Get rid of dream residue.
Sometimes a bad mood may arise from bad dreams. If there are still weird feelings afloat due to a dream, it’s very worth it to take the time to sort through it. Either spend some quiet moments lying in bed coming to terms with it, or start working on shaking it off.
If the negative feelings involve a particular person or situation from the dream, consciously separate the dream from reality. .
2. Find the story.
I used to think that I just wake up and feel a certain way, and have no control over it. But now I know how it works: I’m actually telling a story in my mind about my life.
It may be difficult to hear it clearly when just waking up, but listen to what your mind is saying to you. It’s telling you a story.
My story often goes like this: “I didn’t get enough sleep. I’m going to be tired all day. I don’t want to run errands. People are going to be so annoying. Why am I not further along yet? I’ve just been wasting my time. I don’t want to get up. This sucks. I should’ve gotten more sleep. My life isn’t going anywhere. This is bad”.
These are just thoughts, but they are exactly what’s causing my feelings. If I woke up and had a clear mind that wasn’t telling me a negative story, I wouldn’t feel negative.It’s not feeling tired or having to work that is causing my bad mood, it’s the story that I’m telling myself about it that is triggering me.
3. Retell the story.
Once I realize I’m telling myself a constant horrible commentary about my life, I choose to retell the stories.
I might feel tired, but telling myself that I didn’t get enough sleep will only start me down a woe-is-me story plot. Instead, I can choose to think “I’m sleepy, but I’m still waking up. I just need some time to get warmed up”.
Often just that will help come up with better stories. “It’s a really nice day. Errands will be fine, I’ll be fine once I get up and moving. I’m pursuing what I love. I’ll feel good once I have some tea and breakfast”.
The secret is that I really have to pay attention to catching the negative stories, and retelling them in a way that feels better and using a story that’s just as believable.
4. Just do stuff!
Sometimes I just need to stop thinking so much, and jump out of bed and start doing my morning routine. If it’s difficult to fathom doing this while lying in bed with my sad stories, I like to imagine that I’m really late for something important. I know from past over-sleeping mistakes that I can get my act together surprisingly fast when I really need to.
The trick is to not allow my mind to over-indulge in negative thoughts. If I spring out of bed and immediately get dressed and washed up, my mind has no time to protest or tell stories. And if I hear it starting to, I won’t let it.
Focus is key here. If I focus on grumpy stories, that’s what I’ll feel. If I focus on getting the day started with gusto, then my mind will shut up and re-focus itself.
The mind is a powerful tool, but it needs to be kept in line or else it will try to over-do its job.
These methods can be used at any time of day, whenever a funk is beginning to set in.
The wrong side of the bed is all about simply being in the wrong state of mind!