Tune into the lighter side
Lots of things happen in our lives that we take pretty seriously. And sometimes, that is totally appropriate. But taking every little setback to heart can seriously deplete your energy.
A problem-solving state of mind can help us to try to do everything we can to resolve a bad situation. But once we get to the point where we can do no more, or we run up against barriers or setbacks, that problem-solving state of mind isn’t so helpful any more. In fact, we can end up trying to change things that aren’t so easily changed, which is a recipe for worry, anxiety and frustration.
At this point, the most helpful thing you can do is to seek out ways to try to flip yourself out of this problem-solving state of mind. Humour and laughter are brilliant for this. Your mind perceives the world differently when you aren’t weighed down by negative emotions like worry and anxiety. You can see what’s going on in a difficult situation much more easily when you’re able to tune into the lighter side of life. That’s why comedians and sitcoms are so popular. It gives you a way of observing the absurdities of every day life from a lighter perspective. Being able to laugh at them, and with them, can feel great.
How can you find a way to tune into the lighter side? I carry around a few comedy shows and podcasts on my phone / laptop etc which I can tune into every now and again. A good laugh helps me to forget what I was worrying about and helps me to reset. Sharing a joke or funny stories is another good way to flip your mind out of problem-solving mode when you notice it isn’t working for you, as is catching up with friends at the end of the day. But be mindful that is doesn’t turn into a rehash of problem-solving and trying to figure out why something didn’t work. Don’t forget that flipping your mind to the lighter side can give you a fresh perspective.
Let me know what you think, or what has worked for you in trying to flip to the lighter side.
Dr Sarb Johal is the Director of Equanimity Limited and Associate Professor of Disaster Mental Health at Massey University’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research. He spends quite a lot of his work time providing advice to the Ministry of Social Development and CERA on aspects of recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes. When not working, Sarb spends a bit of his time writing and running, though not at the same time. He has completed numerous half-marathons, 4 international marathons and 1 ultra-marathon from 2010-2012. He is a certified Leader in Running Fitness, and is also training to be a Personal Trainer.
You can read more of his thoughts on health, wellbeing and mental fitness at completecoach.wordpress.com