Because I tend to think first and figure out what I'm feeling later, it took me a minute to access an actual emotion when answering this week's Action Card:
But then the answer came to me. It's joy. And lately I've been feeling a lot of it. So much so that I'm having trouble containing it.
I'm at a beautiful place in my life. But even a year ago, a similar set of circumstances would not have yielded this amazing, overwhelmingly positive feeling. So what's different?
My theory is that I just needed a good freak out session and a contingency plan.
Step #1: Freak Out
Last year, I had to face a really difficult decision about my business.
I had an ambitious goal that I had been working on for awhile... unsuccessfully.
To make it worse, one of these unsuccessful attempts was tied up in a relationship that had ended in a not so great way.
So this only compounded my suffering when I realized that I had to delay my goal yet again.
So I freaked out.
For me, that meant two weeks of feeling overly anxious, occasional crying, and asking too many people for advice that I didn't even want to hear.
It also meant having trouble getting to sleep because I was too busy imagining worst case scenarios and judging myself harshly.
Step #2: Create a Contingency Plan
Since I wasn't able to sleep anyway, I decided to channel my energy into concocting a contingency plan.
This plan included a best case scenario, a worst case scenario, and a few steps in between.
It also included a few tasks that I could act on immediately, regardless of which scenario would unfold.
That same night, I began to act on my plan. I was exhausted, but I was afraid that if I didn't begin to implement the plan right away, I would get stuck in planning mode as well as my negative state of mind.
Step #3: Get Out of Freak Out
After coming up with the plan and taking initial action, I was finally open to some sage advice that I was receiving: To focus on just one thing that is already working, even if it's a small thing.
I finally listened and started by applying this advice to one of my projects. It worked beautifully, so then I also started to apply it to other aspects of my life.
Over the course of the next day or two, I felt myself emerge from the vortex of self-imposed suffering into a state of inner peace.
My ability to make this shift gave me confidence and deepened my faith in myself to be able to handle this kind of challenge better next time.
If the Plan is Still Working, No More Freak Outs Are Needed
I find it fascinating that since that course of events, even when my circumstances have been objectively worse than they were back then, I haven't felt the need to freak out anymore.
I already got that out of my system, and there has been plenty of evidence that my contingency plan is still working.
So since there is no more need for freaking out, there is plenty of room for joy to emerge.
Joy is Our Natural State
I truly believe that joy is our natural state of being. We just have to find ways to release the barriers – usually self-imposed ones – to accessing it.
For me, this meant facing my emotional turmoil, using my brain to plan, then shifting my focus from what's not working to what is working... and in that order!
© 2015 Dr. Kristin Rose