Can I tell you about the two things I’ve noticed with my private coaching clients and while listening to the conversations of others, lately?
Firstly, while they are not yet sad or depressed, they are unable to identify resourceful or positive feelings experienced in their day. They have a glass half empty disposition, a negativity bias to keep us safe from the perceived threats in life.
Here’s how a usual conversation starts: How are you?
That’s a regular greeting, yeah?
- Good thanks
- Um, ok
- Yeah, alright
- Busy, flustered, cranky
- Stressed and sick
- *snort* you know…
On a rare occasion I could hear – “gee it’s cold/hot, today. Wish it was summer/winter…” or “Gosh I felt cranky when”…” Unappreciated, let me tell you why I feel unappreciated”… “I’m just blurghh, to be honest”…
I’m sure you can appreciate how easy it is to fall into the ho hum feelings associated with repetitious routine that our roles and responsibilities can bring: housework, school runs, work, what’s for dinner dilemma, competing priorities…and then our social media account(s) of choice demonstrates in full glorious colour exactly how much greener everybody else’s lives are…
Increasingly, this pattern of brooding preoccupation is contributing to our persistent low-level mood, neither sad or happy and it’s affecting our ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, our productivity at work and our relationships with others.
Sound familiar? Can you see it in others? Did you just take a deep breath having experienced it yourself?
Mental health concerns are on the rise, and accordingly, we are encouraged to ask Are you ok? Which is great, however being a closed question, can attract a simple yes or no response – and only those experienced in non-verbal communication could extract more from either response.
When I ask a client, or my this-theory-needs-testing-hubby ‘tell me about feeling curious or when you felt inspired today/yesterday/last week/recently?’ I more often than not receive a blank look and a shrug of the shoulders.
So here’s the second thing I’ve noticed, it’s not that those gloriously rich experiences are not happening in our world, we’re just not looking for them when they present. We then miss out on the wonderful opportunity to access the resourceful states that positive feelings brings – imagine how much lighter, colourful and fulfilling life would be if we felt joyful, curious, certain, noticed, worldly, skilful, alert….I have 100’s to choose from, and could keep going, instead of grumpy, saddened, defeated, bored, ok…
Imagine if your staff or team member was late handing in a report or returning to the depo, and instead of feeling flustered at the delay, you naturally felt curious and went into coach mode to find a solution?
The plumber didn’t arrive on time, and you felt flexible?
The kids dropped the full breakfast bowl, yet you felt observant watching them explore gravity and the distribution of impact?
Imagine having the innate ability to chip away at that negativity bias we have, while looking for and acknowledging resourceful feelings.
Discovering how resourceful feelings are represented in your life is a skill well worth developing, and one I would like to explore with you.
I’m the host of a private Facebook group, Healthy Happy & Grateful Me. It’s a safe place where together, we look for and acknowledge resourceful feelings in our respective days, and then return the kindness via gratitude – it’s an incredibly powerful activity, within a few days you will notice a spring in your step as your glass fills a little each day, and that of others around you as the kindness is returned.
Healthy Happy & Grateful Me is a gratitude group with a twist. Listing three things each day for which you are grateful for has been found to increase happiness, life satisfaction, and reduce the incidences of depressive symptoms – I think you’ll agree, are all the hallmarks of healthy happy staff, now imagine those qualities compounded with being able to cultivate a positive, resilient, mindful outlook as you share it with others.
How it works
Each day I invite the group to look for a number of resourceful feelings to be found in their day, and in the true quality of gratitude, being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return the kindness, ask the source of your feeling to be informed or acknowledged. There is no right way or wrong way to seek out these feelings, but you’ll soon notice them in abundance; either retrospectively, or as they happen while being curiously observant.
At the day’s end, my invitation extends to journaling the days experiences – privately or publicly in the group is completely your choice. Journaling adds depth and adds meaning to the feelings felt and eventually, the more memories for any particular feelings you have, become stronger and easier to recall.
Here are some example reflection posts to show you how beautiful the activity is to conduct.
One thing I noticed today about myself was how much more detail and substance I naturally placed in my thanks to people.
For example, last week when a shop assistant did their thing and I did mine, a simple thanks was provided.
Fence sitting politeness.
“Thank you for your assistance, your experience and comments have helped me make a decision” was what I unconsciously heard myself saying today.
I think the smile I received was mixed with confusion and gratitude, they didn’t really know what to say, and just nodded.
Already, this challenge has helped me explore and extend my vocabulary, and I’m super excited for this to continue.
My eldest had a trip to the GP today, so I assumed the nurse mum role and felt very needed all day. We walked the beach with the dog too, so free and energetic popped their heads in to say hi.
Lots of comfortable silence as we drove. I mentioned a few times how lovely the day had been together. He agreed.
I am so grateful I can make myself available to the children when they need me.
Easy. Beautiful. Mindful. Thankful, and I would love for you to join me when we start again next week.
What previous Healthy Happy & Grateful Me members experienced…
Katey said she absolutely loved the group and is keen to join me again when we start again this week. A few days in she noticed a shift in her thoughts; instead of complaining about the negative, her brain started to search for positive words/feelings to describe things experienced during the day.
Kristi said she found the program to be exactly what she needed before going on holidays and felt encouraged to seek out feelings that are all too easily pushed aside because we are rushed, busy, tired. She reconnected with feelings like playfulness, relaxed, inspired and yes even happy!
What a way to start a holiday, don’t you think? Quite often people need the first week of a holiday to get into that headspace.
Susanne said she really loved the inspirational little quotes I would post each day because they always got her thinking. She also said having a feeling to focus on and seek out, really helped set a positive frame of mind, which in turn enable more positive interactions with others, all in all really enjoying the experience.
Lisa said being part of the group has helped her body & mind, with the program being just what she needed. Being a part of it reminded her to look at all the positivity in her world – both internal & external and the daily prompts that encouraged her to expand the repertoire of what made her happy, and to then look for more. Now that it is over, Lisa now finds her default position is to look for what is good, rather than the negative.
Personally, I was looking for the resourceful feelings, and at times creating the environment required to experience them.
Why join the Healthy Happy & Grateful Me group?
~practice as if your life depended on it, as in many ways, it surely does. For then you will be able to live the life you have – and live it as if it truly mattered~
This quote sums up why we owe it to ourselves to break the pattern of not sad, nor happy – because our lives truly do matter.
You will notice how you can choose how you want to feel at any given time and go looking for that experience while feeling authentic about it – feeling a certain way, exuberant for example, doesn’t have to be an external display such as jumping up and down on the couch like Tom Cruise. As I sit, as you sit reading this article, you can choose to feel any way you like – you only need to know where to find a memory attached to a particular feeling. Once you have the catalogue of feelings to choose from, well, it’s a bit like selecting an outfit from your wardrobe, knowing you adore the whole collection, mixing and matching as you go.
Joining the group is easy, and we start this weekend, please invite others who you think will enjoy this gratefulness-with-a-twist group – no doubt you are already thinking of those who you think would and could benefit from a glass fuller perspective.
This is a cost-free and private group, however, if you’d like to run this activity exclusively in your workplace or organisation, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the online delivery options and costs available to you.
Till then, I’ll excitedly wait to see you on the inside!