Are circumstances in your life getting in your way of being happy and productive?

” The only disability in life is a bad attitude”
-Scott Hamilton

You may have heard the phrase, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”  But sometimes we don’t realize that it’s happening until it’s too late, or, we don’t see that we are actually in charge of our level of joy, in the first place!

There are many ways we can lose our joy, including emotions like envy, jealousy or unforgiveness.  Today, let’s just talk about circumstances and how things in your everyday life can be tripping you up.

I am very inspired by music.  It motivates me in workouts.  I use music to get me psyched for a presentation or meeting.  I use it to relax.  This week, though, it was music that drew me into a circumstance that was surprisingly damaging.

I sat down at my desk, motivated to power through some writing projects and I got into a flow, with my music on in the background, until I realized that the station I chose to play the top hits songs was playing the same 10 every hour, with only a few others thrown in.  I let this get to me.

I switched stations from pop to country. Guess what happened?  Same thing.  Different songs, but still same 10 every hour.  I marched back to the iPad repeatedly, with growing frustration to switch music choices and after a point I realized I wasn’t going to be happy with any of my choices!

I lost my joy.   All my morning God-time, journaling and time spent in gratitude so I could start my day in a state of positivity… gone like a cat when you turn on your sprinklers.

Not only did I allow my happiness to be washed away, but the time it takes to return to a “flow’ in work after an interruption can be 10 to 20 minutes!  So while each hour I may have only spent 2-3 minutes back at the iPad complaining and switching to yet another station at the end of the day, I lost almost an hour of productivity.

I did that.  Not the stations.  I created that whole thing! I allowed it.

What circumstances are you allowing to steal your joy? Like:

  • Traffic
  • A co-worker
  • Someone you live with
  • Construction noise or the neighbor’s barking dog?

While you cannot control outside circumstances, like construction, you can adjust how you react to them.

  1. Identify what is happening. What is your “trigger”?
  2. Take a good honest look at what getting upset is costing Now, before you get lost in anger here:
  3. Take back your power to protect your joy. (Try something!)

Traffic. Aggressive drivers used to be a huge trigger for me. Until … someone cut very close to us in moving traffic and I heard my husband say, “I used to be 16 once.”  It made me laugh because it was at one moment a little dig (meaning the action was immature) but it also reminded me that the driver truly may not know better.  And there is also the fact that I was always doing stupid stuff when I was 16… so there’s that;). This made it easier to let go of the infraction and get on with my day.

A co-worker:  Boundaries help here to make sure that you can keep your space emotionally safe.  I help my clients with actual phrases and conversation so that those boundaries can be enforced and not create more hardship.  I have been blessed with some very difficult people to work with in the past, and surprisingly, I have found most all to be quite lovely human beings.  You may want to get to know that person a bit better.. as crazy (impossible) as that may sound.

As far as barking dogs, or sounds that  seem to create havoc in your brain, there is always something you can do. In my music situation, I changed where I was working, physically.  I went outside.

When I returned the next day to my office, I chose silence. (I honestly didn’t think I could do this). I had a super productive day.

When I headed back to the iPad to try music again, I tried something different (Again.. do something, until you find one or two things that work). I listen to Native American flute music, and motor through my tasks just fine. Maybe next week I’ll try something different, like Aboriginal Digeridoo.

You may need time to reset of course.  Walk away from the situation until you discover what solution, or “reframe” as I could call it is most effective.  But try.  You CAN take back the power and protect your joy!

For the LIVE Facebook Video on this, go to my Elevate Group page