As you go about your daily life, you may not realize how much impact the power of your thoughts can have on your actions. Imagine waking up at 6:30 in the morning, feeling refreshed and energized after a great night’s sleep. The sun is out, the sky looks clear, and you know the day is going to be that perfect 75-80 degree, no humidity, Florida weather.
You take a shower; have your coffee with two eggs sunny side up and deliciously crisp bacon. Everything is going great. You’re smiling and are excited to be on your way to work. You hit some traffic on I-4, but nothing a little singing along with the radio can’t fix. You get to work and someone has taken your parking spot. Oh well, a little walking on this perfect day won’t do any harm. You have a great day at the office. Sitting by the lake to have lunch with your coworkers proves to be the perfect way to break up your work day.
You’re feeling a little overwhelmed from all the work you have to get done by the end of the week, but one thing at a time and it will all get done. At 6:00 you’re out the office door, taking the back roads home because there is no way you’ll make it home any time soon if you get on I-4 at this time. Once home, you go out for a jog. Then it’s a light dinner while watching The Blacklist, and get ready for bed. That’s a great day.
Now, imagine waking up at 6:30 in the morning to a screaming alarm clock. All you think about is how much work you have to get done this week, ugh! The sun is out?! Oh man, another perfect day that you’re going to miss because you have to be stuck in the office. You take a quick shower, because you just want to get to work to get started on everything that nagging boss of yours wants you to get done. Breakfast? There’s no time for that! You hit that I-4 traffic when you get close to Downtown, of course (never fails). You start zigzagging between cars, honking at everyone. What else could go wrong?
Unbelievable! Some stupid person took your parking space, and now you’re going to have to walk the entire parking lot and get to work late…and sweaty. You eat lunch at your desk, because there’s no time for breaks. Leaving work at 6:00 in the afternoon dumps you out into another traffic-congested world. It takes you AN HOUR to get home. You’re so wound up that all you can think about is what an awful day it has been and what a terrible life you have. Will you even be able to finish all of this work in time? How about doing it right? Your boss might fire you. Will you ever be good enough?
In these two scenarios, the exact same situations occurred, but the ways in which they were viewed shaped very different days. Thinking optimistically helped make the day easier. Pessimistic thoughts, on the other hand, brought a stressful situation to an, almost, unbearable one. Thoughts like these can sometimes get out of hand and become exaggerated, which leads to feelings of depression, anxiety, and anger.
It is normal and healthy to have a balance of both ways of thinking. Yet, there are times when the scale tips a little more to the pessimistic side. When this happens, you can challenge those negative thoughts. Are things always bad or just sometimes? Using extreme words can set you on a negative path from the beginning. When you think about things, try to be specific about the negative event in order to give yourself space to remember positive things, as well. Make sure to double-check those negative thoughts because they tend to be one sided.
If you are feeling on the pessimistic side more often than not and are ready to change the scale, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health counselors.