Breaking Bad (Habits)

It takes a lot to get to my breaking point.

I’m talking about those days where it seems like absolutely nothing is going right; you spilled coffee on yourself, you were late for work because of all things a cow was in the middle of the road (like, huh?); it started raining on your walk into the office, works piled up, Meg was a giant B in the break room, you went in the stall without paper, someone ate your lunch out of the fridge and just as you were about to sneak out on a Friday at 5pm, one last minute piece of work pops up – UGH!

It’s days like this where it can be incredibly hard to focus on anything other than stewing about, well everything. Even breathing seems like too much.

But there are two things that you need to know for your own well being:

1) Your Personal Limit

2) How To Take It All In Stride

Your personal limits are so incredibly important. I like to look at myself like an empty drinking glass, with each little thing that seems to irk me, is the water being poured in. Eventually, we’re gonna reach the top of my head and water is going to come spilling out if I can’t drain some of it – aka my personal limit.

These days for me, it takes a helluva lot to get there. But for a while, as I was healing, it seemed like I was getting to that point a lot. What I needed to know about myself was how to handle it when it did happen. One of the best things I did for myself was to simply be alone. I needed to de-stress and not only that, I was concerned I would snap at someone I loved. Because ya know what happens when you’re in that head space and then you snap at someone you care about? You feel worse and to top it off, now they feel bad, too. No fun. Not worth it.

When I would have that alone time I would do things that would take away that negative energy. I’d play my guitar, I would write, I would head to the gym, clean the house (that’s a big one.) Getting out the extra BAD energy is super necessary.

Next on that little list is, “How To Take It All In Stride,” which I’m going to tell you right now, will not happen overnight. You won’t read this right now and magically be able to handle everything thrown at you tomorrow. Instead, it’s a matter of breaking bad habits and that requires time and brain training.

Think of some of the things that have happened this week that frustrated you. I’ve posted about my Rule of 5 before, so let me ask you this: Did whatever it was matter 5 minutes later? 5 hours? 5 days? Was it worth the frustration?

If you’re answering, “No,” then there are a couple things I can suggest that if implemented could help you immensely.

  • STOP. Close your eyes. Breathe in deep and let it out slow. Repeat. This is to calm your immediate reaction and hopefully give you a moment to think clearer. Is this something that should be sending you into a tizzy?
  • Be Calm – No matter the situation, don’t overreact, take a moment and speak calmly and assess the situation. Getting loud or sounding negative in any way is only going to heighten the issue for everyone involved.
  • Ask yourself: Does this effect me in any way? A lot of times we take on the energy of those around us and their frustrations. Maybe Tammy just told you what Bob said to her in the office and it’s offended her. You can choose to take on that negative energy or toss it in the trash. In fact, if you’re me, it’s fun to picture myself at the free throw line and making the shot (spoiler alert: I make it every time.) If you’re not a basketball fan, switch it up to your liking. Throw that negative energy away.
  • Put yourself in the other person shoes. Sure, they were a jerk with whatever just happened, but could they be deflecting onto you? It doesn’t make it right, but if you can understand what’s happening it’s a lot easier for you to not take it personally.
  • Write it out! For real – it’s a release and it works. Write it, crumple it up and throw it away and write some more if you need to. This isn’t a read what you wrote, or save it for later kinda thing either, just write it, release it and throw it out. I don’t need to you going back to it a week from now and feeling any of that all over it again.
  • Implement Some New Routine Changes: 1) Lessen your caffeine, alcohol and nicotine intake – you’re dealing with stimulants and depressants, neither are good for you mental health. 2) Get a Good Nights Sleep – you’re only working at your best, if your brain has had the appropriate down time. 3) Talk to Someone – Like writing it out, talking it out GETS IT OUT. That’s what the goal is here: release! Plus, it’s always nice to bounce off of a someone and realize you’re not crazy, or what could’ve been played out differently.

I realize a couple of these might sound ridiculous as they are written…Why should I imagine anything? How is that gonna help me at all? What’s the benefit? Try ‘em more than once and just see how you begin to change. The brain is an extremely powerful instrument and you need teach it and practice, as if you’re learning a solo on the guitar, to get it to the place you want: your calmest, happiest place. You can do it, I know you can. Just make sure you put in the work and you’ll get there!

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