Since you hate loud bars and don’t know your co-workers that well, you’ve never gone out for happy hour. But you’d like to socialize more so one Friday night you join them.
You sit down next to someone with their back to you. Everyone except you leans across the table toward each other while you sit up straight with a tight smile and fiddle with your napkin. No one notices you aren’t talking. Just as well: they’re arguing politics and their god-awful views are unbelievable.
Your face gets twitchy.
All you really wanted to do tonight was read your mystery novel, so you creep out, go home and turn on some jazz. You can’t quite be in the moment, though. Sixty percent of you trying to read but forty percent is back at the bar, feeling stupid.
The next morning you feel like your insides have been drained out and replaced with corn syrup. Your coffee tastes bitter. Normally you would go do your Saturday volunteer work, but instead you sit down with your novel again.
You mope. It seems impossible to turn your mood around.
What do you do?
Realizing that you’re caught up in distorted thoughts and feelings is the first step out.
Don’t worry that you’re repressing your emotions or invalidating yourself. Your feelings are real and telling you about real problems. But you can’t solve them if you’re drowning in muck. You must return to even keel to find answers.
Remind yourself that at the center of your being you are deeply good. This remains true no matter what you feel. You may find this meditation by Vietnamese meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh helpful:
Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I’m breathing out.
Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.
Breathing in, I become calm water.
Breathing out, I reflect the sky and the mountains.
Breathing in, I become the vastness of space.
Breathing out, I feel infinite freedom.
You have now started to pull yourself out. In the next post we will look at how to continue feeling better.
Readers: What works for you to get out of a bad mood?