I was out for dinner with an old friend on Saturday (well he’s only 25, but I’ve known him since he was 12) and he said to me, “Sometimes I just get up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s simply the way it is.” “I know,” I replied, “I hate it when that happens. I’ve had a good few days like that recently, getting up on the wrong side of the head.” We both giggled. Freudian slip. “Time for a blog,” I said.
I’ve spent many a year saying I’m not a morning person; what is it about some days I just wake up and feel YUCK? Did I sleep badly? Was it the worries from the day before? The day ahead? Did I eat badly last night? Not do enough exercise? Forget to fill my gratitude diary? Or could it be the Night Manager has now ended and Tom Hiddleston is already taken?
On mornings like this, I used to just think… well nothing if I’m honest. My tired, grumpy self would slouch to the shower, wash down eyes closed, worry about the day ahead, and then probably worry some more. Was my skirt really this tight last week? Oh, another 27 emails since leaving the bedroom. Nothing in the fridge, I will have to skip breakfast. Miss Grumpsville here I come. “Well,” I would say to myself, “I guess I just got up on the wrong side of the bed.”
Nowadays, things are a little different. Yes, I still wake all too often feeling tired, anxious or concerned. But my approach has changed. As you Hubbers may already have guessed, it’s then time for a small chat with myself (of course out loud). It normally occurs in the shower.
I begin by acknowledging my head is not in the best of places (I have quite literally got up on the wrong side of the head). I ask myself what I am looking forward to today. I ask myself how I would like to BE today, not what I would like to DO. As a future guest blogger will be writing about, so many of us are so focused on doing, doing, doing, we forget simply how to BE. Then I go on to say to myself, so how happy out of 10 would you choose to be today? Sometimes, on one of these challenging days, it feels like I can only muster a lower number. But then I CHOOSE to reframe my thoughts, I CHOOSE to look at the world differently. I CHOOSE to have a better day. And I CHOOSE a higher number.
Now I have to admit this has taken a good deal of practice, I found it really hard at first. But I have persevered and persevered in an attempt to ensure my mind is in a healthier place to allow my emotions to be more positive. There are days when I struggle for sure, but the good news is almost all of the time now I can shift to ‘the other side of my head’!
What I’ve learnt is that it is OK to have this struggle; after all, an abundance of research has found humans naturally concentrate on, and remember, the negative more than the positive events. However, let’s celebrate the work of neuroscientists Elizabeth Perreau-Linck and her colleagues, who recorded brains using PET scans. She and her team discovered that if we INTENTIONALLY and REGULARLY make the decision to change our focus – in her study focusing on happy memories, for me choosing the positive – our brains can literally ‘re-wire’ themselves. That means waking up on ‘the right side of the head’ will become easier and the default state.
Thanks to this neuroplasticity we are able to overcome our negativity bias!
So if you get up on the ‘wrong side of the head’ and you just feel like today is a grey one, then give this choosing lark a go. And if your day does not migrate from the slate colour it can often feel, then how about doing just one tiny thing to lift your spirits. Then and there. Say no to charcoal, ditch that ash and welcome sunshine and orange (or your favourite colour!) into your life. And if you fancy a couple of suggestions to brighten your day, then try the Happynesshub Instant Happy Boost to feeling better NOW.
Here’s to getting up on the right side of the HEAD!