Stress can come from being too focused on your goals. I realize that may not make sense–but if your focus is so strong you’re feeling run down and miserable, you’re not focused anymore. You’re obsessed–and that’s a very different thing.
6. Indulge in Some Dysfunction Now and Then.
Otherwise known as letting some steam off. Or maybe becoming a bit lazy for awhile about your goals. I don’t mean wake up and become a jackass full of dysfunctional behaviors–I just mean that if you’re there, allow it. Complaining can be helpful (eg, lodging a complaint). It’s just when you remain in a place of complaining and dysfunction that it becomes an issue.
5.Indulge in Anger Now and Then.
See #6. Anger is healthy. It’s how you express it that matters. The old “count to ten” advice before you speak is still excellent advice. As humans, we’re all prone to blow-ups now and then, but if that’s your go-to way of expressing anger, that’s what creates dysfunction, as does remaining angry all the time.
If someone is angry all the time, there’s two things going on, generally. One is that they aren’t acknowledging they are angry or have anger. That’s a form of repression. Repressed emotions come up as anger (often anger stems from fear of some sort, too). That then means the person cannot express their anger in a healthy, functional way.
As a whole, anger is an incredibly healthy emotion to have as long as you (1) acknowledge you have it and (2) express it in a healthy way.
Think of it as the jabanero of emotions: A little goes a long way for spicing things up.
4. Indulge in Negativity.
This is much like complaining. Having negative thoughts isn’t bad. Having a negative attitude isn’t bad. Having negativity isn’t bad. It’s when you vilify and judge it and remain stuck in it that it becomes a hindrance. But since you’re human, you’re going to have negative thoughts, you’re going to dislike people and you’re going to have grumpy days.
It’s impossible to be positive all the time, and forcing positivity when you feel the opposite only engages in more dysfunction. You’re not acknowledging how you’re truly feeling. As with anger, remaining in a negative state creates dysfunction, which then generates a dysfunctional way of expressing your current feelings/emotions.
So if you’re feeling grumpy and foul, give yourself permission to feel that way.
A trick I found that’s been helpful for me is to set a timer for 5 minutes, and then, during that 5 minutes, I whine, bitch, piss, moan, swear, complain…whatever…with all the vim and vigor I can muster. Two things happen. One, I get it out of me. Two, I rarely go the full five minutes.
3. Indulge in a Pity Party.
This is the same thing as complaining. Yes, nobody likes hearing someone’s continual pity party (poor me!) but sometimes you just have to go there. Allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself for awhile…because if those thoughts are there, they’re there. Allow them. Then make it a point to stop them.
Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is spend some time (…say five minutes) really bemoaning your situation. Again, what you’re doing here is acknowledging your feelings and practicing self-acceptance.
One thing I’ve found helpful when I’m in a funk is to do this 5 minute wine-o-rama/anger-o-rama on a daily basis if I can’t seem to shake things. However, I also give myself a set amount of time for that, too. 3-5 days. Most of the time, I can’t go that long.
2. Indulge in Some Crappy Food.
I’m all about the healthy eating. I’m all about laying off processed foods, junk food, and so on. But indulging in something crappy or sugary now and then keeps you from vilifying it and then binging. And sometimes, when you do, you realize you don’t want or like that food anymore. So not only can you reward yourself with this one for all your fine efforts, you don’t end up binging on junk.
(Getting too focused on healthy eating can also become a dysfunction.)
I know this for a fact. Several years ago, when I wanted to get really focused on my fitness, I forbade myself any shape or form of pastries. A few times a week, someone would bring in a box of maple bars (one of my favorite pastries) from a local bakery. for a few of these times, I was good.
And then one day I binged. I allowed myself one…and that one turned into seven.
I felt like the pastry equivalent of the Brave Little Tailor: “Seven in one blow!”
After that, I let myself have one. The interesting thing is that once I gave myself permission, the pastries lost their draw.
1. Indulge in Getting Off Track From Your Goals.
This plays off going “consciously unconscious”. I’ve noticed that if my wheels are spinning, it’s time to take a break from my focus for a bit. Maybe a few minutes, maybe a day or two.
Sometimes people begin to believe that the only way they’ll reach their goals is if they work on them, somehow, every moment of every single day. But at what cost? Your friends? Your family? Yourself? Taking time off and forgetting your goals now and then actually works to improve your efforts, focus and inspiration. It fosters needed time for integration of new skills, as well as rest so that new doors of opportunities can open. If your overall focus is getting there, then you will.
Questions? Comments? What are your favorite self-sabotage steps? Email me at heather (at) smallchangelife (dot) org or drop by my Facebook page and leave me a message, leave a comment below or feel free to start up a conversation in the discussion forum.