Have you ever had a day or even an hour where life just seems impossible? Have you reached certain points in your life where you might have even felt hopeless? I know I have. I've wanted to simply quit and like a boxer who can't take another hit, I've had my moments when I just wanted to throw the towel back into the ring and walk away.
Often, when that happens, if someone offers me a solution, I'll reject it on principle. I already feel like there's so much going on, I can't deal with one more thing, even if it's supposed to help. Usually, because the situation seems so big and complicated, I can't even imagine that there might be something seemingly small and simple that will turn it around.
This is what happens when we get caught up in our heads. Our thinking grows like an out-
of-control weed until it chokes our rationality and doesn't allow for possibility. It's pretty
easy to recognize when we've reached this point of despair -- we might cry, rage, scream, or even curl up in a ball. Mostly we feel resigned to feeling like Alexander in Judith Viorst's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. His day ends with his mother reassuring him that everyone has a bad day now and then. I have a better idea for an ending.
While we might get caught up in the convoluted tangle of all the details of our disaster, the solution can often be surprisingly simple. It says it all in this week's Monday Pleasure Peek from me:
"A few laughs, a hug or two, maybe a kiss --
they can turn your day right around."
Whether someone else offers up an embrace or a smooch or we go seek one out, it all helps us get out of our thoughts of doom. Kissing inspires positive feelings and hugs make us feel good by releasing oxytocin (sometimes called the "cuddle hormone). Laughter really puts the screws to your misery and distress. Did you know that there is an actual study of laughter called gelotology? Within 20 minutes after cracking up over some wonderfully absurd jokes or watching a funny video we can experience an improvement in mood. It's also been shown to increase our immune system (better than an apple a day!) and to help moderate stress hormones.
Try these easy fixes the next time you feel overwhelmed and cranky and can't see a way out. Give someone or ask for a hug, a kiss, or get on YouTube and look for laughing babies or James Cordon -- or, whatever makes you giggle, chuckle and snort. Noticing the way it frees you from feeling disheartened and practicing this will help you remember where to go for an easy way to change up your day.