"Let me recognize the problem." That was my mantra for the day - let me recognize the problem. “I think I've got a pretty good handle on it actually,” I thought to myself. “I’ve got a herniated disc in my neck.”
What’s your problem?
I woke up with a stiff neck that morning and it was causing a low level headache. I’d not done any exercise in the weeks prior either. That's never good for me but I’d had a hard time getting the motivation to do anything in the cold, cold winter weather. As a result I just felt really, really blah.
What's causing you to feel out of sorts?
To help me move out of the doldrums I played my new favorite song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Have you heard it? If not go to www.24 hoursofhappy.com and check it out. In no time at all I was dancing, clapping, singing, and feeling great! Headache? What headache?
What's the one thing that helps you move past your pain or the blahs?
And then I realized what the problem was and it had nothing to do with my neck or my lack of exercise. The problem was in my mind. A stiff neck and corresponding headache were external effects of a deeper cause. In my mind I was feeling blah, unsure of how my day was going to go, and worried that I would not get everything done. But it was much easier to blame something outside of me and not take responsibility for my thinking.
It was also much easier to say that the cold winter weather was the problem and reason why I was not exercising. What I didn't want to say was that I felt guilty for my perceived laziness of not doing my exercises. If the problem was outside of me then I could be absolved of wrongdoing. But there is really nothing wrong with taking a break from exercise once in a while; I just have to be clear about how I perceive that break in my mind.
In dancing and singing with Pharrell I remembered how good it felt to be happy. To not have a care in the world. To be okay with whatever was happening around me. And most of all to remember that the external factors cannot truly affect my mind but that my mind can change how I perceive those external factors.
Zig Ziglar has a great example of this in his motivational program <i>Developing the Qualities of Success</i>. He talks about the businessman who comes home from a long and difficult day at work to a wife who wants to clean out the garage. He is so tired and miserable he can hardly put one foot in front of the other much less clean out the garage. But five minutes later his buddy calls with a tee off time at the golf course in 20 minutes and suddenly his body comes alive!
The problem was never really with his body or the circumstances of his day. It had to do with how he perceived his day and his body. When presented with a choice so irresistible to him, all of his physical and emotional troubles were suddenly and miraculously cured! If I put my mind into a state of happiness then managing my headache seems much easier. In truth, the only thing changing was my mind.
Your circumstances may not change one iota when you are in a better frame of mind. You will still have to take your medication or do your exercises. But that mind will help you manage those circumstances with grace and peace.