11-11-11 at 11:11

Sometimes it is hard to find something you enjoy about your day. It can seem like one bad thing after another happens. It all just piles up and you want to hang your head low as the Charlie Brown theme music plays along.  Basically, you feel like life sucks.

Now, this isn’t a post about how you are supposed to be happy and jump around when you are feeling like crap. I promise! However, this is a post about how you should find at least one thing to smile about even when you are super unhappy. I won’t go into all the science (you have the internet, you can look it up yourself) behind it. The basics are when you repeat negative messages over and over again… it becomes easier for your brain to respond with terrible thoughts than with positive ones.  This is essentially what is going on when you are depressed (same thing can happen with anxiety). Your brain wants to go to the miserable places rather than hang out at the joyous ones. (what fires together wires together).

Hence if you want a quick way to keep depression at a distance, you just need to allow your brain multiple different ways of interpreting information. This is kind of the idea that is set into motion when you learn a new language as a way of keeping your brain active to strengthen against Alzheimer’s. You begin to look for an opposite or alternative way of processing the daily grind of grumpy thoughts and emotional responses.

An example for this would be when your morning has already turned into a hellish adventure. You take a moment to realize that November 11th 2011 looks kind of neat as 11-11-11. Then you decide that it would be pretty cool (or geeky depending on how you look at it 😉 noticed it was 11:11 am on 11-11-11. Then you decide that you will text a friend and let them know about this grand idea. Then you decide to celebrate this 11-11-11 at 11:11 by both doing a dance even though you live in different time zones.   It sounds simple, it is simple. One thought leads to another and leads to actions and leads to positive emotional responses. Before you know it, not only are you dancing but you are smiling and BOOM depression is defeated for another day.

I’m being rather elemental with all this, but you get the idea. In the moment it takes to use the emotional energy to repeat the negative cycle you can decide to do something different. Maybe you aren’t ready to do the 11 dance (it is rather advanced). But maybe you are ready to consider shifting the continued pattern of sadness into a lighter version. Changing the thoughts from “I’m miserable and life is horrible” to “I’m pretty unhappy and I just haven’t found a way to get out of this slump YET!” See the change? That one little word at the end leaves open the possibility for a different approach, mindset, and emotional response.

Becoming happier doesn’t require some big overhaul of your life to begin nor does it require you stop being you. What it does require is the three-second effort of shifting perception to incorporate a new idea. I think no matter how upset, ticked off, or all around curmudgeonly a person you are… you can get this approach to work for you!


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