The bluebird of crappiness sings

When I woke up this morning with the bluebird of crappiness sitting on my head and a withering smell in the air I knew it was going to be a bad day.
Some days we wake up feeling blue, grey, green, or black for no particular reason. It’s like there’s a dark bruise on the inside as if someone spent the night kicking our inner child, or adolescent, stomping on our vulnerabilities. Our mind seems lost in a fog of dark cloud so we can’t see the sunshine, even if it’s shining through the window.
(Aside: if you wake up like this most mornings and there is no obvious reason such as recent bereavement, separation or work stress, then it might be a good idea to speak to a health professional).
When it’s only an occasional landing of the bluebird of crappiness here are some suggestions for what to do to send him on his way:
Get up. Don’t lie there wondering why you feel like crap. If you are in bed alone you might drown in your misery, perhaps blaming your aloneness for your sorrows, and believing that if only you could find your one true love the bluebird of crappiness would never come again.
If there is someone lying next to you still sleeping (or worse, snoring) you could easily blame them for all your woes, even though last night you felt that warm fuzzy glow some people call love, and others attachment, depending on your orientation.
Finding someone or something to blame for our unpleasant feelings when we have that bruised feeling inside is only an outward expression of our inner crappiness. That bruise inside can color your thinking, and everything you see. It’s like having dung colored, or beige, glasses, instead of those rose colored ones people sing about.
So watch out that you don’t leap to any definite conclusions or take action based on the bruised feeling of crappiness. Wait until the bluebird of crappiness has flown away then clean the crap off your glasses before you make any life changing decisions like leaving your job or partner.
If you don’t get up, which I know you probably wont because the bruise inside can make you feel like you can’t be bothered, you have no energy, no mojo, then here are some things to try from the comfort of your own bed.
Notice your attention & intention.
Try making this an experiment. Approach with curiosity instead of a “fix it” orientation. Why? Well you could read my book, i-brainmap, freeing your brain for happiness, for a full explanation but the short answer is that approaching with curiosity, experimenting, primes the brain for change. An experimental approach is like unlocking the stuck tracks and pathways of rumination and opening to possibility.
Because the brain is constantly changing itself, because it can! It’s important to ask, what message am I giving my brain? A “fix it” approach gives the brain the message there is something wrong. That is the message that is most likely to keep you stuck in a go-nowhere-fast-neural-loop of crappiness.
Shift attention away from your thoughts, ruminations, which are probably just on replay, looping.
Bring attention into the present environment. You could focus on the internal environment, noticing your breath coming and going, or you might wriggle your toes to feel their movement from the inside or hold hands with yourself.
It’s best to lie on your back when you are doing this because even your posture will give your brain a message. Lying on your side in the fetal position, (is a fatal position for happiness) especially if that’s the posture you revert to when you have the bruised inside feeling. It’s likely to send a very strong message to the brain that something is wrong and keep you stuck there.
You can also take your attention into the external environment. This is the often the best option if you have any kind of pain in the body, or for people with a history of trauma, because some of these feelings may be associated with a re-experiencing. (Again you can read my book if you’d like to know more about this).
Experiment with this. For instance, how is it different if your eyes are open or closed? Is it different if you look out the window, or around the room? You can shift orientation through using different senses, listening for sounds, sensations on your body, the feeling of fabric on your skin…. and so on. It’s good to keep the attention and even the orientation moving. The brain freezes during trauma and frozen attention (or keeping your body frozen) can give the brain the message that it should be on alert – freeze response.
Now add the hint of a smile. Yes I know you don’t feel like smiling. But you can choose to smile, just a hint of it. Let your lips and eyes soften just a little and notice what happens.
All of these responses give you some choice when you feel stuck in a bad feeling, when the bluebird of crappiness lands. What you are teaching your brain is that you don’t have to be dictated by your feelings. You can choose how you respond. The important thing is that you have the experience of that through these simple experiments. Just telling yourself that you don’t have to feel bad but still feeling stuck in it isn’t likely to change anything.
Change the experience and you change the brain.
Oh yeah, I can choose different responses and experiences, even when the bluebird of crappiness lands. I can free my brain and set my compass for happiness, even when I’m feeling blue, green, black or beige.
Now that should make you smile.
Have a great day and keep that brain humming.

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