At my lowest point, happiness felt like a destination that was out of reach.
There were lots of things I wanted to do - find work I enjoyed, fall in love, recover from a recent back injury, write a novel - and I firmly believed that if I could achieve these things, then I’d feel really good about myself and my life.
The problem was, my unhappiness kept tripping me up.
I made a badly thought-out decision between two jobs and ended up with neither. I kept overthinking every date I went on. I knew I should be doing the physiotherapy exercises to rehabilitate my back injury, but I was inconsistent and grew frustrated easily. And when I sat down to write my novel, something I’d been dreaming of doing for years, I was met with a blank page.
I couldn’t seem to summon the motivation to do anything, no matter how important it was to me.
Even writing that now, I remember how hopeless that felt. My happiness was tied to these goals, after all, and if I wasn’t getting any closer, that meant I was stuck.
If only I’d known back then what I know now: that happiness is the means of achieving our goals, not the end result.
I kept pushing through, trying to make myself feel better by achieving something, without realising that I could only achieve by feeling better first.
Neuroscience research has shown that it’s normal that self-discipline and motivation go out the window when we feel anxious or depressed – access to these areas of the brain is physically reduced whenever negative emotion is present.
Your highest, best self can only be unlocked when you’re feeling the warmth of positivity.
In states of positive emotion, people make better decisions, problem-solve more effectively, and show greater self-discipline. They’re clear about what they want and motivated to take consistent action.
It’s simple: when we feel better, we can do more.
On some level, I’m deeply grateful for that difficult year, because it sparked my interest in how we can overcome negative thinking and feel more positive, and now I’m able to share that with you.
But if I could go back, I’d do things quite differently.
Instead of pushing through, criticising, and berating myself for not doing enough, I would work on my mindset first, find the joy in the journey, knowing that that would propel me forward.
If you're interested in learning more about how you can shift your own mindset and feel better, add yourself to the waitlist for the Positive Perspective course. It's the emotional intelligence programme that helps you overcome negative thinking, accept yourself, and find joy in the everyday. Click here: www.positiveeq.com/waitlist