AKA: Self Induced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Sorry, is my psych degree showing?

I noticed today that I haven’t updated my blog in well over a week, which I try to avoid doing. I like the exercise of writing, if nothing else. Anyways, I haven’t updated recently because, as usual, I’ve been insanely busy. However, I have been doing something unusual: I’ve been making a distinct effort not to complain about my level of busyness.

A positivity week Facebook status

I will fully admit to being the person who uses Facebook as a personal venting space (and there’s a good reason why my personal Facebook is carefully set to be very friends-only!). My regular postings tend to run the gamut from “OMG busy” to “Ack so many unfinished things!”. And people around me tend to comment that I seem stressed or upset by my work pretty often, which tells me I probably rant a bit more than they feel is reasonable.

Now, the truth of the matter is that I do actually enjoy my work, and I’m not nearly as stressed as people seem to think I am (which is not to say I’m not stressed at all, because that would be a lie). So I have to draw the inevitable conclusion that I’m expressing negativity more than I ought to be, either out of proportion to positivity or simply in excess volume. In turn, I’ve started to feel that expressing the frustrations that are inevitable in my (and anyone’s) work is actually leading me to dwell on the negatives, rather than cathartically relieving me of them.

In an attempt to rectify this situation, I embarked on what I’ve been calling “Positivity Week”. The principles of Positivity Week are simple:

  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. Ie, no negativity, no rants, no complaining.
  • Do not worry about how much work you have accomplished; focus on what you HAVE accomplished.
  • When given an opportunity to have fun, take it! (As an independent contractor, I don’t get vacation time, and burnout is a real risk. This week I’m blowing off Friday to ride a horse on a beach, and no one is going to convince me otherwise!)
  • Express something positive about your workday each day.

That last one has really been key for me. I think if I were denying myself the Right of Rant alone, I’d probably be getting really frustrated. Instead, I’ve replaced my negativity habit with a sort of forced positivity habit. Each day, I’m making myself sit down and come up with about three positive things about my day. And strange as it may seem, it’s actually making me FEEL more positive as well. Pretty cool, actually.

At any rate, it’s now Wednesday and I’m three days into Positivity Week. So far, I’m feeling pretty positive (ha!) about it. I might go ahead and make May Positivity Month! We shall see.

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