You start thinking; the days are getting shorter and nights longer. Halloween was less than two weeks ago. And life is getting ready to push the pedal to the metal.
If you’re a colleger, you’re on the final stretch toward end of the semester projects and final exams. Many individuals are scrambling to deal with end of the year employment, family, and social demands. The holiday season is approaching and, like most, you’re looking forward to some well deserved R&R. Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, the person you have been in a close relationship with decides that now is the time to tell you “It’s over.” Suddenly you’re feeling like another holiday statistic. Your mind is consumed with thoughts of your lover. Some people describe this as feeling mentally paralyzed.
Places associated with your daily routine are triggering images and thoughts of your partner. Songs on the radio –even those on your own playlists – remind you of your partner. These and other details of your life are speaking to you and you are listening. Your emotions feel under siege.
You need more healthy energy across the board, not less. But all your ruminating is contributing to even lower physical energy. It’s easy to be swept away. What to do?
Close the door on invading memories of times and places that remind you of the breakup. These will consume your good energy which you need for daily activities and to keep you happy and healthy. A negative spiral here can cause a lot of problems fast.
Instead this is the time to make shifting your mindset into a place where you feel at ease and comfortable a priority.
One way to do this is to tap a flow of emotional memories from a time in your life – say, when you felt safe and protected. Think of it this way: it’s kind of like pushing a reset button to a time and place already programmed to get your energy feeling good again. So you’re going to intentionally play that”program” instead of the one that is dragging you down.
Just like your body and mind respond to details from places, images, and sounds that can zap you into negativity as fast as popups appear on a computer screen, you can use your attention and focus to help spring both body and mind out of a negative feeling.
Many individuals associate strong feelings of safety and comfort with childhood – e.g. positive emotional memories that act like like snapshots and soundtracks of family, friends, places, images, music and activities. And you can use these moments to help move you toward more peaceful waters.
I want to emphasize, however, you are not looking for a miracle cure, just a way to gather some higher quality energy than you have been feeling. Sometimes that’s all it takes to turn the tide, so to speak.
- Listen to some funny childhood songs you enjoyed when you were young. Remember songs like Bingo (Bingo was his name-O), Old McDonald, and The Ants Came Marching? Make a playlist with funny childhood music and lyrics – the sillier the better – especially where the content is about different animals and their sounds. Try singing along with them. Put them on your cell phone and use them like medicine. Play them when your emotions or thoughts first begin to shift into negative. Try to catch the early signs for these negative shifts. Then use your playlist to distract and divert them before they become more intense. It may seem silly, but tapping into the energy of humor can really work.
- Watch a film or read a story that amused you when you were a child. Visualize what you were doing and with whom. Let those memories in. Anticipate the more enjoyable ones as they come into your mind while watching your childhood film or reading. This will further stimulate your body’s reward mechanism. Repeat if you wish.
- Think back to a song you used with teenage friends on an enjoyable road trip or when you were off at camp or a sporting event or class trip. Someone I know used to blast Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor, on the way to hockey games as a way to pump up teammates. Again, make a mental movie of your memory. See it in as full detail as you can. Make it as sensory as possible. Don’t just “smell the roses” so to speak. But look around at what else is there in the scene – what other visuals, sounds, scents, tactile details, thoughts, feelings, etc. Again, anticipate your favorite details and repeat them several times.
- Brighten up your living environment. Try painting a room or a couple of rooms a new and brighter color. Focus on the painting – the actual technique, the scent, the movement. Play your childhood soundtracks as you work for an initial or extra mood boost. You can also try playing tunes your mom or dad would listen to when you were a child – e.g. an individual I worked with used to do housework with his mother as she played Spanish tunes. Those tunes zap him right back to another time and place, to days when he felt everything was an easy, comfortable glide. So he uses them now as a “housework” or home project soundtrack. But you can also use songs in this way to get some of your good energy back.
- Add some outdoor exercise. Try something new and in a new environment. Make it a new daily or weekly pattern. Be mindful of joyful detail in your natural environment to help spike the feel-good vibes. Then look forward to these details on your next outing.
These activities won’t necessarily take all of the hurt of a broken heart away. They won’t cure you instantly. But what they can do is get you out of an emotional quicksand enough to shift your mindset to a more comforting place, even just “a quarter turn.” This is important. Feeling a little more at ease can be enough to feeling more like you and onto a more positive energy cultivating track. From there, you can give your typical daily routine a lift and continue your healthy and healing trajectory.
Notes: If you wish to explore a wide variety of ideas on body-energy, you may like to check out my book, BODY INTELLIGENCE – Harness Your Body’s Energies for Your Best Life. For a close look at how the seasons affect our lives and how we can use them to facilitate health, transformation, and happiness, you may wish to checkout my book, THE FIVE SEASONS.
~ Mark Twain