Degrees of Darkness

CalmUp® photo I of Degrees of Darkness

I tweeted my CalmUp® “How can I…” question of the day:

How can I hang on to this feeling?

It was Friday, and I woke up feeling great—enthusiastic, peaceful, and joyful. Those feelings were short-lived.

ANNOYED. A week ago Friday, I went to the Social Security Office to address a concern about possible identity theft. Seeing a full house, I asked the guard about how long I could expect to wait. After the anticipated wait time of 30–45 minutes, I chose to leave. I had already rescheduled one appointment, and I didn’t want to miss another.

FRUSTRATED. I left the building with a phone number to call the Social Security Office and schedule my next appointment so that I wouldn’t have to wait in line again. I placed the call the following Friday. Due to their long wait time, I requested a call back. When I received the call, I responded according to their computerized prompts, and the system hung up on me. Great.

ANGRY. After three phone calls, I finally got to speak with a live person and was told that I wouldn’t be able to schedule an appointment, since my issue didn’t fit one of their primary topics. I could, however, return to the Social Security Office and wait in line. Are you kidding me?

Feeling Anxious and Wanna Shake It?

You complete your CalmUp® Journey, and your rating of peace and joy doubles from a “4” to an “8” on the 1–10 scale. Then on your way to the office, someone dangerously cuts you off in traffic, and your morning is now anything but calm. Your car is fine, and you’re fine. You just can’t shake the anxiety that seems to have taken hold of you.

What do you do? You have to get to work, and you don’t want to go in carrying the morning’s tension. No matter how much you tell yourself to stop being ridiculous, darker thoughts keep creeping in:

  • That bleep driver!
  • What if I’d have been hit?
  • So much for moving up to an “8.” Now I’m more like a “2.”
  • What if something were to happen to me, and I’m not there for my family?”
  • I’m so mad!

It’s strange how your day can change in an instant. A careless driver is just one example of the type of occurrence that has the power to shift your mood from radiant to fatalistic. Even simple events can become upsetting or disrupting, like a clothing tear or a spill, a bad hair day or a blemish, something that gets broken or destroyed. More serious events can leave you feeling anxious or heartbroken, such as the death of a loved one, learning of a terminal illness, or an unexpected disaster.