The first surprising fact to remember is that how you feel is always an inside job. Many people who are not succeeding on whatever level, tend to look outside of themselves and attempt to change something external to put things right. They think they will be happy when …they find the right relationship, the right job, house or income, when …they are thinner, fitter or more attractive. The flip side of that thinking is that if any of those things are problematic, then you have no choice but to feel down. Those aspects that are going well don’t seem to count or help, because you can’t feel two conflicting emotions at the same time.
The truth is that your emotional state is always an inside job, and it does not depend on what is actually happening in your life. When someone dangerously cuts you up on the motorway, it’s understandable that you get angry at their thoughtless behaviour. Alternatively you have the option to choose a different perception, maybe realise that in the past you accidentally did that yourself, and learnt from it, and so choose not to give that driver permission to spoil your day by getting angry.
So where do your emotions originate? It starts with the thoughts in your mind. Then your mind uses all your past experience to understand the meaning of that thought and signals your body to produce the chemicals/hormones to create the matching emotional response. If you perceive being cut up on the road as unfair and a deliberate threat to your safely, then you feel angry. If you decide it was an accident, not personal and it was a wake up call for everyone to remain vigilant, you will remain calm. In addition you get to feel really good that you controlled your emotions, rather than other people controlling them.
So how to stay upbeat when life beats you down? A simple tip, although admittedly it does take some effort to override your instinctive reaction, is to flip those initial negative thoughts on their head and find any and all positive meanings in the situation.
Talk to yourself in the same encouraging, reassuring way that you talk to your best friend. Be your own best friend.