Happy Monday by Choice : Creating happy work spaces
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Happy Monday by Choice

by Tami Anderson on 07/23/12

Like the breath we take, Mondays keep coming and going. For many, Monday seems to adversely affect them, dreading the beginning of another work week. Some starting this as early as Sunday. Today started as the sun rose brilliantly over the hay filled pasture, quickly followed by dark rain clouds and a couple of downpours by 10 a.m..  Our lives can feel just like that too - bright or dreary. 

Life is easy when it's easy. When a day or event brings us down, what do we do? Often we either fight it or resign ourselves to it. I hear a lot of us complaining. We often feel stuck in being unhappy. We can change all of that - if we change. Monday will be Monday; the job is the job; people will be people - at least for today. So, what can change? Maybe we can – our attitude or perspective?

Changing me was difficult for many years. I just could not seem to think my way through this and it was so much work. I discovered I needed to change from the inside out. First thing I learned (finally) was that each of us chooses our thoughts and feelings. They are tightly woven, interconnected and often inseparable. When I feel crummy - unhappy, disappointed, angry, frustrated - I see now where I am the common denominator. What creates the feeling that needs to change? A belief is where it starts; an expectation that it should be different. I must accept that my thoughts and feelings interfere with my happiness; my sense of me; even my abilities. I have to accept these are my feelings and only I can change them. I also accept they are temporary - every changing. It may not be easy to own this truth but it holds great freedom. When I pretend I am not responsible I can blame something or someone else for how I feel.  Then if that something or someone never change, I am stuck where I am. Outside forces hold all the power to my happiness and my self esteem.  

If you are ready to change, begin with the easiest indication by recognizing physical reactions. Start at your head and move through to your feet. Is my body heavy? Where? Does my head ache? Maybe I have an upset stomach. My shoulders may be tight or my back is aching. The body is a great measurer and informer of comfort and discomfort. We learn from our bodies and then we use this wisdom to control our thoughts and feelings.

Next, listen to the thoughts. Most are quiet, negative and judgemental thoughts. Since we only use 10% of our brain power, it is disheartening if the majority of our thinking is self defeating. Negative thoughts about people, the job, the day, finances or the boss are chirping away. Often, my thoughts were about how I don't measure up. We may prefer to judge how others behave, think of their affect on us, but in reality, the judgement originates in our own thinking about our self.

The third, and often the most difficult to uncover, is what I am really feeling. Mad and sad are common but are actually secondary emotions. When I delve into the depth of a feeling, I come up with three consistent responses: fear, shame or hurt. These decide how I feel, think, act and react to the world around me. They decide how I perceive my world and how others are treating me. There are many manifestations of these three elements but here are a few examples. Fear makes me avoid, procrastinate, or confront. Shame leaves me feeling less-than or better-than others or keeps me focused on other people – what they do to or around me. Hurt makes me want to protect myself by distancing myself or pushing people away.When I have one, I seem to cope okay. When I have two or three, my day can turn pretty dark very quickly.

I have to admit changing me has been the hardest journey ever ventured. It was easier to hit the snooze button and blame the world for causing my unhappiness. But, these rewards far exceed my greatest expectations. We can't stop Mondays and can't control whether they are bright or cloudy; but we can chose to enjoy the day. Yay! We can be free, full of joy and quite happy.

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