Ever have one of those days? You know…the kind in which everything you do has turned in to a big pile of muck? Perhaps you got yelled at work. Your significant other broke up with you. You just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
I’ve had several conversations today, if not this week about feeling bad and how we cope with it. In the end, I’ve come to a conclusion. Feeling bad isn’t a bad thing; it is in fact a very good thing.
What does feeling bad do for us? It makes us feel bad. Yes. Good one. Anything else? It can give us direction, awareness and most of all, it gives us opportunities to stop us from making repeated mistakes which make us feel worse.
You get asked to work on a new project at work when you are already swamped. However, it is a really tempting work project that would allow you a chance to shine in front of your bosses. Great! You say yes. You now put in way more overtime that you had planned on. You cancel your dinner date that you’ve been looking forward to or you night with friends. People get annoyed with you and your priorities. You start to put work before you. The project suffers, your social life suffers and most of all you suffer: mentally, physically and emotionally.
You cope. How do you cope? With an aggressive workout? A joint session with Ben and Jerry? Enjoying a bottle or two of whichever red wine you have in your apartment? A non-stop party night with friends? You do so because you feel bad. You feel frustrated. You’re angry because you’ve trampled over your feelings for something that isn’t worth it and you don’t like how that feels. However is that coping the best thing for you? Of course that wine makes you feel better, but how does it feel the next morning? That meeting with Ben and Jerry went great, but you might regret all of those chubby hubbies’s a couple of days later. These cycles of trying to incorrectly fix those bad feelings usually result in doing things that aren’t good for us but temporarily make us feel better.
Feeling bad isn’t always about feeling bad. It is about being aware of what you are doing. It is slowing things down so you can say why am I upset? Why am I taking it out on friends or co-workers? That pain is the light that shows you the path of that which makes you happy. If it doesn’t cause you strife, anger, sadness then you know you might be on to something good in your life. If it doesn’t cause you to go into a roller coaster of emotions, it might just be not too shabby.
There will be days when work will have to take front and center. There will always be days and occasions for you to imbibe in behavior that we regret the next day. However if you find yourself repeating a process over and over again, perhaps it is time to stop a little and reassess your coping options. This is the time to get creative. To think, dare I say, outside your box? Perhaps instead of a hard workout, give your mind a chance to think and your body to stretch in to yoga. If the same thing works, but is there something out there that works better? Do you have to rethink your goal? Do you have to look at the issue from another perspective? Realize how you feel and say it? Finding what works best for you means learning about yourself, what makes you happy, what makes you sad and what works best. It can also mean it changes from year to year from occasion to occasion.
Perhaps we need not always rush off to making ourselves feel better, but understand why we are feeling bad, go to the source of the issue, fix that and make progress. Perhaps celebrate with a glass of bubbly after a good workout, of course.
Check back for more tips and tricks from Protein Bar’s Sweatmaster, Rob Lekan. Rob is a personal trainer at HiFi Fitness in River North.