I love my mornings – they’re peaceful and sacred to me. That is, until the dual leaf blowers start. As I’m pouring my first cup of coffee, on cue the maintenance crew of a nearby grocery store fires up not one but two blowers that are so loud they could be in my living room. This aggressive noise is one of my pain points (especially in summer when there were about two leaves but they kept at it for the requisite 15 minutes).
When I worked for an interior designer I noticed that much of her job was to remove minor but daily irritations. She’d replaced banging trash cans and toe-stubbing ledges and viola… a happier homeowner.
It’s not so easy though when a pain point is coming from a source you have no control over. A car alarm during your precious meditation time or a co-worker who stops by to chat when you’re in a state of creative flow – certainly your familiar with these sharp pokes.
Annoying? Yes. But they also can take you from feeling light and cheery straight into a dark scowl, or worse, the dreaded downward spiral.
Wave goodbye to the sunny mood momentum. And with it, there goes your intuitive guidance and sense of flow.
So what can you do instead?
After a number of irritable mornings, I tried a new response. Between sips of warm coffee and bites of sweet fruit, I opened my notebook and wrote pages about all of the pleasurable stuff in my life. Immersed in my own thoughts as they tumbled onto the page, the annoying noise seemed to disappear. I didn’t even notice when they turned off.
And that’s the key. Create a bevy of pleasure point go-to’s and grab onto one immediately when a pain point arises. Sensory experiences are a great way to counteract your irritation and replace it with what you truly deserve – peace and joy.
A car alarm flairs up during your meditation? Light some lavender incense and do a couple yoga poses till it passes. As your over-chatty co-worker appears, click into your collection of cute kitty photos or serene landscape shots and glance at them frequently as they prattle on.
These small moves can prevent the downward slide that can wreck your whole day. You might not be able to eradicate the pain point, but when you focus on your pleasure instead you keep control over your experience of it.
Here’s the 3-step way to stay in control of your good mood momentum:
1. Know your pleasure points. Make a list of easy to reach feel-good experiences. Think about what feels good to look at, listen to, taste, touch, wear and do. Gather supplies and be prepared.
2. Know your pain points. When you’re aware of what pushes your buttons you can have a conscious response instead of succumbing to a sneak attack.
3. Be ready to shift gears as soon as a pain point surfaces. Choose how to react and remember how good your pleasure points feel.
The biggest payoff may be this: What you focus on expands. The more attention you give to your pleasure points, the more satisfied and in control of life you’ll feel.
My pleasure point list is long and highly satisfying. Good thing now that it’s autumn… Bring on those falling leaves.