How do I feel better? What can I do to move past this sadness? Any of these questions help get us moving toward real life solutions. With that in mind, here are five great tools to start turning sadness into happiness. Let’s get started!
5 powerful fix-it strategies to turn sadness into happiness
1. You’re dealing with a light-speed mind. Don’t play catch-up or you will lose. Trying to explain, problem-solve or reason away a sad emotion and the thoughts that go with it is futile. It doesn’t work, and there are two primary reasons why. First, the mind moves very quickly. As you move to solve a problem (in this saddened state), the mind has already anticipated the answer and has another more challenging question or problem to solve. You’ll start thinking in circles, trying to figure it out. Day after day, you repeat the same thoughts and go down the same paths, but always end up more tortured than the day before. It never works in your favor. The mind moves very quickly, and we are repeating the same process again today (for the 42nd time) before we know it—just like we did yesterday. Step out of that game. Stop trying to solve the problem in this state of mind because:
2. Emotional states are like thought magnets, pulling in thoughts that support them. This is the second reason why it is futile to try to fix sadness within the emotional state of sadness. With a lousy emotional state, like sadness, the emotion pulls thoughts that resonate with that emotion. These thoughts actually support and reinforce the lousy state. Rather than turning away from the thoughts that come with that state, we end up examining them. We contemplate them. We think about all the painful places the thoughts take us. We ride these thoughts down every dark corner and crevice, expecting some revelation to save us. That will not happen. Not ever. The challenge doesn’t end there! The real tricky part now is that many of the thoughts that show up are disguised as a solution that will help. However, that light-speed mind is already three steps ahead and these apparent solutions just leave you feeling lousy again. More circles of futility and more sadness await. Once you understand this, you can likely see the reason a “why” question is worthless. The “why is this happening to me” question is perfect as a disguise for a solution, but in reality, you spin in circles over and over again. You must give up trying to work within these lousy states and the thoughts/questions that they produce. If you find a better emotional state, you will find better thoughts attracted to you. Thus, don’t be so interested in your sad thoughts and instead:
3. Lead with new “motion” in the body to create a better emotion. The simple truth is this: The fastest way to change your state of mind is to change the body. When you least feel like it, MOVE. Jump out of bed, turn up the music and dance. Act like a crazy person, dancing and moving as if your life depended on it. Of course, based upon what you have already learned, as soon as you start to feel a better emotion, this will magnetically attract better thoughts. Now, DO become interested in those better thoughts as these will feed and support the healthier emotional state. At the risk of repetition, do TRUST these more easeful thoughts, and show extreme disinterest in any thought that tempts to return to the “why” questions or encourages you to abandon what makes you feel better. Have conviction and test it for 30 days. It’s not to be perfect tomorrow (false hope), but it will be better. Incrementally better day to day. Some folks will say something like, “Oh, I want to feel better but I could never do that. I can’t do that.” Thus:
4. It’s not enough to want to feel better. You must be willing to do things differently. Wanting to change and willingness to change are two different things. Just wanting to feel better can lead to a desperate state of going in circles over and over. If you find yourself offering any excuse for not following these simple steps, then “willingness” is absent. Your options? Stay stuck in sadness. Or hope for some external circumstance to change. Or wait for a drug to do what you could have done for yourself. Eventually, this all accumulates and usually the pain builds to a point that forces some kind of change. Why not take some control today and do something different? Tell yourself, with all your inner might, “I am willing to do what it takes to feel better.” Repeat this over and over, until you find yourself moving and dancing to some music only you enjoy. Jump-start a change with moving that body with a “willingness” to do your life differently. Are you willing to risk looking funny? To whom? Yourself? Stop: Don’t believe those thoughts that limit your options. Please risk it. “But Dr Cale, I can’t do that all the time. What else can I do?” So:
5. Value your breath every moment you can—over your thoughts that point to sadness. What does this mean? We follow out thoughts almost everywhere they lead, regardless of the pain attached. We are like a puppy chasing a rabbit all day long. We never catch the rabbit, but, boy, we keep chasing it. By now, you see how tricky the mind is here and how this will bring you down repeated paths of pain. So here I am suggesting that you start to value your breath—and follow that over your thoughts. This is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment real-life strategy that is proven to help. This will DRIVE you into the present moment in a matter of minutes. Stay there, just following your breath. Now, before your mind judges you and this process, add this to your every waking hour anytime your habitual sad thoughts occur and watch what happens. If you put these together, magic truly occurs. Within a few days, you are feeling better. Within a few weeks, a whole new perspective emerges. Is there more? Of course. But focus on these proven fundamentals and let’s see what happens. I will have more on this topic soon at DrRandyCale.com.
Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit www.TerrificParenting.com.