I realized something yesterday. When my daughter has more stress and anxiety than she can handle, she has what I call a “bad day.” I call it that as though it is a fact that it is a bad day.
Why do I do that? Why do I generalize the entire day into the “bad” category?
She will be cheerful at lunch, but crying when she gets home from school, and she will say she is “having a bad day.” So I accept that and find myself telling my husband, “she’s having a bad day.”
What are the real facts here?
Anorexia causes ups and downs. Not to mention the human condition is both positive and negative, so a human day is organically good and bad, positive and negative. Fascinating that both she and I decide to label this perfectly normal day, bad.
Why is it that when we have feelings that make us uncomfortable, that we make it mean that we are having a “bad” day? Our brains are so used to automatically reacting and generalizing these uncomfortable moments into a collective bad day, that we have come to accept our interpretation as the truth.
If we learn to look for the “good” moments, and become just as aware of them as the “bad” ones, what happens?
I am now able to conclude that yesterday was not a “bad” day. Why not?
Last night at dinner, our family of 5, each and every one of us, connected. We were all there, physically and emotionally, and we were all eating and sharing a laugh. It was a few moments of love, light, fun, and family all at once.
So why was that merely a good moment and not an “amazing” day?
Because our primitive brains left unsupervised will run amuck. If we aren’t careful, our brains will paint our daily life canvas with dark and chase out the light. When we are having our “bad” days, we can instead consciously choose to observe our minds. We can step outside our default negative thoughts, and we can deliberately choose to put them in perspective. So instead of deciding entire days are good or bad, we accept that they are neither. Our days are neutral. We get to decide what labels to put on them. We can believe what our brains tell us, or we can consciously decide to create thoughts that are more useful to us.
What powerful brains we have!
If we can make an entire day bad because our daughter decides she is having a bad day, we can also make an entire day good. So, yesterday was actually a great day. The few moments at dinner were symbolic of the progress we have made against the anorexia.
She was smiling. She was laughing. She was with us.
If you are interested in becoming more aware of how your thinking is affecting how you feel about your life, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 20-minute mini coaching session.