My mum has a trick for instant calm, passed down from her mother and her mother before that.
It works better outside or in a barn, but there’s plenty of ways to replicate it in modern life:
When you’re angry, dunk your head in a bucket of ice-cold water.
If no buckets are available, a tap or hose to the back of the neck works just fine. It’s possible to be disgruntled after a cold shower, but almost impossible to be angry.
For added effect, dip your toes in too. They can be hot, angry little fellas, but they do love a cold swim.
It’s easy to forget that nothing is real until we attach words to it, even feelings.
A coffee table is a coffee table. And a stubbed toe is just something that happens when you have toes. This much is obvious to anyone with a coffee table or a toe.
However, in the heat of the moment, that stubbed toe becomes domestic terrorism and that coffee table a vicious assailant in your home.
And we curse that ungrateful, dumb hunk of wood most righteously.
But it would be weird if, after stubbing our toe, we took an axe to that loathsome lumber, ground it to sawdust, and then went to the neighbour’s house to continue the table-cide.
Emotions are there to guide us, to warn us, and to heal us, but if we took them at face value, we’d live in a pretty barren and boring world.
We can stub a toe on pretty much anything, but only you get to decide how long it hurts.
Some mornings are terrible.
This morning I woke up angry that I’d slept in and was behind, disappointed that I wasn’t full of energy like I had been recently, and sad because it felt like I was losing control again.
I was mad because I felt like I was letting myself down. My inner Eeyore was freaking out.
But instead of wrestling with my angst or hiding behind work or drugs, I decided to talk to him. And it turned out he just needed a hug.
When you’re having a bad day, give someone a cuddle and then settle for the smallest step forward towards your goals. Even if that just means getting out of bed.
It won’t fix things, but it might put you in the right frame of mind. And if you don’t have anyone to hug right now, send out a message instead.
That’s the next best thing.
It’s impossible to be angry and dance.
That’s a fact.
You just can’t be angry when you’re dancing.
And it’s very hard to be sad too.
There are lots of biochemical reasons for this, mainly those lovely juicy endorphins and hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin.
And researching this, I just learnt that dancing can even MAKE YOU SMARTER! Whaaaaaat?
So, if you’re feeling a bit shitty today, or tired, or angry, or stressed — or just ‘meh’ — turn up the volume till the bass makes you tingle, and wiggle those hips.
This will even work if you’re in the middle of an argument with someone!
I dare you to try and be angry and dance.
It will probably explode your head.
Whatever today throws at you today; if you’ve got the Monday blues or you get blindsided by something nasty later or you’re just feeling a bit meh…
Shake and jiggle it out!