Take Your Happy Back!

Written by Jeri Ross, M.P.H., licensed health educator and CEO at Institut' DERMed Body and Institut' DERMed Clinical Skin Care

When was the last time you felt pessimistic at work? Does your busy schedule or pressure from difficult co-workers or clients leave you feeling despondent? It is normal to have off days; however, when your mood drops it is challenging to stay motivated and energetic.

Check out these practical tips that may help you get to a better place, even on your worst days.

You may not realize that repetitive negative thoughts can actually change brain chemistry. Negative thinking elevates stress hormones that throws off the body's natural rhythms, including emotions and sleep and eating cycles. To combat negative thought patterns, practice a form of positive mindfulness – consciously filling your mind with as many positive thoughts as you can. It may seem like you are stuck in a slump and that there is nothing you can do about it, but do not despair!

In order to change your thinking, you have to become the observer of your mind. What thoughts make you feel upset, negative, or hopeless? One of the most powerful tools for changing thoughts comes from "The Work" by Byron Katie. Try this: When you have a disturbing thought, write it down and ask yourself these four questions: Is it true? Can I be absolutely sure it is true? How do I react when I believe that thought? Who would I be without that thought?

For example, "My client should take more responsibility for her care." When you think that thought, how do 1you feel? Do you feel frustrated, unheard, disrespected, or ineffective? How does it feel in your body? Do you feel tense in your neck or queasy in your stomach? Now change gears. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: if you could not possibly think that thought, who would you be? You would probably feel less tense, more lighthearted, and even have more compassion for your client. In other words, you will begin to notice how your thoughts, especially ones that judge others and yourself, cause you to feel negatively.

Another powerful way to promote happiness on the job is to practice self-care outside of the workplace.

Regularly engage in wholesome activities that bring you happiness, such as yoga, walking in nature, art, or community outreach for a cause that is dear to you. One way you can take care of yourself is through a simple daily practice called heart vision. Before you get out of bed in the morning, lay your hand over your heart; feel your heartbeat and take three long, deep breaths. Ask for help from your inner wisdom to guide you throughout your day. Say silently, or aloud, "May I be happy. May I love myself. May I have compassion for myself and others."

Pessimism is a state of mind that you can control. When so much is out of your control, you have the power to change your thinking. Experience how your positive attitude affects your clients, your co-workers, and pretty much everyone you meet, positively!

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