Author of Sutures of the Mind
It’s 5:00 p.m. and your head is pounding, not because you have a typical headache, but because your past mistakes, negative experiences, or career tragedies are eating away at your mind like a rotten apple that is larvae infested.
You were once at the top of your game, but you lost your footing. It doesn’t matter where fault lies with your previous career peril—with “you,” with “them,” or a combination of both. It only matters what you have learned from those experiences and what you need to do to stop your negative-career-experience-migraines so you can move forward with a sword and shield into your new “prevailing” leadership life.
There is a ton of research and lots of articles written about the art and science of mindfulness, emotional cleansing, and establishing affirmations for framing your negative mind into a more positive mind that focuses on the here-and-now. But, strategies sometimes work and sometimes don’t work, but there are many different ways to keep your mind healthy so you can lift your emotional migraines and focus on being productive and great again. But, remember, no one strategy is 100% effective, so you have to try what feels right and be open to investing time into your mental health so you are not taken over by your worst thoughts. It is those negative thoughts which will hold you back, anyway, so you have nothing to lose by trying something new, right?
Five Simple, but Easy, Strategies for Re-Focusing into the Positive
Whether you have lost a job, are searching for a new one, or just need to swim freely without the past dragging you down, here are some quick and easy tips for transcending into a healthier mindset free from the pounding negative-experience-migraine:
1. Minimize your alone time: Eighty-eight percent of the working professionals whom I work with, who spend more than three hours per day being alone, are more prone to letting their negative thoughts enter or take over their minds, thus effecting their overall health and demeanor. It sounds simple, but it is true. Stay in touch with friends and family as much as you can. Dine with them. Laugh with them. It works. It really does.
2. Set up “escape plans” and become your own “Houdini”: Place small artifacts or notes of gratitude around your house, in your car, or at your workplace that remind you of good things, happy things, or productive things. I still keep a stress toy that is shaped into a human heart at my desk at work and a ceramic figurine that was given to me by one of my former students next to my nightstand. These tactical and tangible objects shift my mind from emotional migraine to temporary dissolving pain as I rehash the memories that shaped the good person I know I am.
3. Activate your senses and focus on sensory activities: Eat something that you love and focus on each bite that you take. Go outside and smell the flowers in your (or someone else’s garden). Walk in the park; play on the playground like a little kid. Do anything that will activate your senses and then focus on those sensory feelings as a way to pave over fleeting negative thoughts.
4. Do something with your hands: Color in a coloring book, garden, shoot baskets using a sock ball and your laundry hamper. Anything that you can do to actively use your hands or make something will activate creative neurological responses in your main CPU of your brain. Have you ever wondered why there are so many adult coloring books hitting the market? If you purchase a piece of furniture or a household item that needs assembling. Don’t let the store assemble it for you. You should assemble it. It will keep you focused on a task.
5. Write one goal that you will fulfill each day: Ask yourself, “What one thing can I accomplish today that will move me forward in my career, life, or relationships with others?” Write a goal and then follow through with accomplishing it. Set up a Post-It-Note Chain in your kitchen as if you were a little child counting down the days to Christmas. But, this chain of accomplished goals will grow and visually seeing your accomplishments flow over will motivate you to continue on a productive path of healing and success.
Activate yourself into an assertive problem-solver of your negative-career-experience migraines, rather than becoming a passive victim to what you did, what you wish you had done, or how you wish you could have been within a small snapshot in your overall life. It’s time to move forward. Grab the steering wheel of your veering car and get back into the lane that will transport a new you, a greater you, and a healthier you who has control over the reconstruction of what lies ahead instead of the destruction that is now visible only in the rear-view mirror.