How Talking About Things Can Actually Worsen Your Mood

“Does reliving the issues of the day serve any real purpose?”

Recently I met up with a few co-workers for happy hour. Yet moments, after we clocked out and headed to our destination I had a sneaky suspicion this hour, wasn’t going to be very happy….

We weren’t even out of the building before the talk turned to our annoyances: co-workers that weren’t pulling their weight; customers that were demanding things we couldn’t do; workloads too big to manage. And before I knew it a conversation that started out as a mere recollection of events turned into an exchange that had all the makings of an argument (elevated voices, sharp speech, aggravated movements)… only, we weren’t arguing.

And here’s the sad truth:

YOUR BODY CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

Your body cannot tell the difference between the first time the THING happened, and your re-telling of the THING that happened, especially if the same emotions resurface. Your body goes through everything all over again. As long as you remain emotionally invested in the re-telling of the THING… you’re going to suffer.

Let’s say you come home from work and your spouse asks, “How was your day honey?” You start by telling him about an argument you had with a customer and then the emotion you thought you left at work is now sitting on the couch right between you and your spouse. You haven’t seen your spouse all day, and he just wanted to know how your day was – but now you’re fighting because you got offended that he didn’t want to listen to your story, or that he was taking the customer’s side.

Your fuse is much shorter because your body doesn’t understand that you aren’t arguing. And instead of getting over the issue you had, you’ve now given it more power. You’re no better than you were…

“There is a fine line between processing the experience to make it manageable, and reliving it and re-traumatizing yourself.” – Philippa Perry

Want some advice on what you can do to save yourself (and your spouse)?

LET IT STAY WHERE IT STARTED.  

You give that issue, that person, that thing more life when you continue to revisit and rehash your situation. You’ve “fanned the flames” by re-telling the story and allowing the emotion take over.

Remember most humans are empathetic and if your spouse is like mine he will take on your pain, your anger, your frustration, and your sadness. Then BOTH of you are affected by whatever it was that originally had only happened to you.

When you get home don’t even acknowledge that it happened. Because… I ask again, “does reliving the issues of the day serve any real purpose?”

Tell me about it: Why do you re-tell stories of frustration to other people?


(Image courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lentzstudios/)

International Day of Happiness!

Happy International Day of Happiness to my faithful followers! Do something today that makes you really, really happy… and then do something for someone else that makes them equally as happy!

 

Avoiding Fear… Only Breeds More Fear

You avoid being uncomfortable. You shy away from new situations because you don’t like the uneasy feeling.

That’s fear. That’s what fear DOES.

It reminds you that what you are about to do might not work out the way you want. And if you aren’t okay with that, if you can’t accept that some things turn out differently than planned – you should walk away. You shouldn’t even try.

FEAR.

What happens then?  Nothing. Except for another situation inevitably comes along and you go through the same process all over again. You are introduced to fear once more… over and over again. It will become a cycle for you. I promise. (And that’s not a promise I like to make!)

Let’s imagine for a moment you are ready to tell fear to take a hike. You’re about to enter a new situation and you want to do so with courage instead of fear (that voice telling you that it’s not going to work out so run, run for your life). So here’s what you do: you tell yourself, “I’m okay with things as they will be, good or bad.” You power through and in the end, things turn out pretty good for you. All of a sudden you’re on top of the world – you did it. You are accomplished.

YOU WON.

Let’s also imagine, for the sake of argument, you did everything as I said above but things didn’t turn out well… it’s okay. Because you told yourself before you took that leap, “it’s fine no matter what the outcome might be.” And you are, okay with how things ended up.  You succeeded by simply telling fear to bite it.

YOU STILL WON.

“Expectations are the enemy. Detachment is the ally.” – William Whitecloud

When you have expectations you’re giving something else control of the situation, and when you don’t have control, you are fearful. If you detach yourself from the outcome by saying something like, “it’s fine. I will decide how I feel about it no matter what happens,” all of a sudden you are in complete control and there is no fear.

Face your fears, because if you don’t they will keep showing up until you do. Imagine the amount of time you will have to do really amazing things, now that you aren’t fighting with your fears.

Can you remember a time that you told fear to take a hike? Tell me about it. Comment Below!

 

(Image Courtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexsnaps/)