The Happiness Container:
As I coach many athletes through this time of quarantine, I’ve noticed a theme: “I can’t do anything.” Athletes feel disappointed that events got cancelled, sad that they are getting behind on their strength and skill development, or discouraged because they feel farther behind on goals set.
Now, none of those emotions are a problem. In fact, I believe feeling down is an important part of the human and athletic experience. What I find interesting is before the planned events, the strength training or the goals were cancelled, many of these same clients were stressed, pressured, or anxious about having to do those exact same things.
The emotions have shifted to a sense of loss and sadness for not being able to participate and grow and be challenged. What was once a problem out of a belief that they “had to do well” is now a problem that they “don’t even get the chance to try at all.”
When I ask these athletes what they want to feel, they often say “I just want to be happy.” Well, happiness clearly does not come from being able to compete or being told you can’t compete. Happiness doesn’t come from having to do a huge conditioning assignment from a coach or having to do a self-motivated conditioning assignment at home. And, happiness doesn’t come from getting farther ahead in a sport or farther behind.
Happiness is not a state of being, it’s a state of mind.
I want to offer an idea for you all today that I call the Happy Jar. We are innately, biologically going to look for why the next “thing” is a problem. Whether it is or isn’t doesn’t really matter here. What I want you to do is balance the default setting of looking for problems by ALSO looking for miracles. Don’t try to stop thinking things are hard…because we are wired to look for obstacles. But rather, try to balance the hard thoughts that come with happy thoughts that are ALSO available and optional.
Here are 5 steps to feel happier:
- As you go throughout the day, notice how often you feel concerned or tense. Maybe set an alarm periodically to take a breath, drop your shoulders and check in with your eyes closed for a quick body scan to see if any area is tight.
- After you notice tension in your body, take 3 deep breaths, increasing the tension while breathing in, then releasing the tension as you breathe out. This gives your lower brain the opportunity to see that you are in control of that tension.
- Following the 3 breaths, think of the last time you felt happy. What was happening? Why did you feel happy?
- Write about that happy moment on a piece of paper and put it in a “Happy Jar.”
- Enjoy your “Happy Jar” any time, anywhere!
Keep being Flippin’ Awesome!
If you are ready to level up your athletics, then be sure to go to FlippinAwesomeCoaching.com to join our virtual mental strength group as we apply the tools I teach! See you there!