I recently had an interesting, useful day, and I’ve decided to write about it.
I woke up feeling low. Tired. Bored. Disinterested. This always irritates me; I get frustrated, wanting music to do something to me, wanting to get up early on a fresh Sunday morning and be productive, wanting to bob with energy. I knew this was very much due to a shortage of sleep, increasing workload and perhaps some hormones thrown in, but it was unhelpful and obstructive to wake up like that all the same.
I went downstairs, snapping at my family because the table was cluttered (it was actually in its usual family state- my mood had just decided to properly notice and pick out every piece of paper). I was honestly pushing myself further into an echoing grey box where miserable thoughts prowl around. The almost constant invigorating, thrilling golden syrups of my vision and dreams were being scraped back, and doubting reality was nastily sneering in my face.
This can get turned around. It can. I did it that day. I honestly thought, with a groan and a sigh, that I was going to have to accept that that day was going to be an ‘off’ day, that my feet weren’t going to be pounding down the road of inspiration.
But you don’t have to waste a day like that.
I realised that I needed to feel. I needed to get myself to move into a different hold of emotion, and from there I knew I would be enclosed and taken up into the soaring heights. The heights of laughter, and light-heartedness, stimulating energy and love. I would then love to be going along in my day, living.
I know that this isn’t a quick fix for many things, why, this could be seen as a naive teenage fantasy claiming to solve all ills. I know it won’t.
But this is for the bad, tired, slightly demotivated moods: go and find something which lifts you, makes you smile, makes you question things, stimulates you, energises you, reassures you, distracts you, inspires you.
I will be writing a post soon as to the places where I’ve found these in before, but for now, I can tell you that I’ve found that something in music, dance, people, films, quotes, exercise and the outside.
'We have the stats from that time. You know what they were complaining about the most? Inability to feel.' - The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
'It's all right to wonder' -Reached, Ally Condie
Alexandra Shaw x
Pins&Needles is an idea, an observation, a suggestion, a movement, a mindset.
Recognition, Desire, Methods, Outcome
It creeps into you unexpectedly, releasing its venom in spasms of impatience and cruel playfulness, until it's throbbing, numbing, stabbing. It hurts. Everyone is advising you and telling you to move your limbs, they say that moving about will ease it. Yet you feel if you stay utterly still, the pins and needles will go, or at least they’ll stop hurting for a while.
We are all accustomed to the occasional bad mood, or an unfortunate series of them. We feel tiredness, an absence of motivation, drops in belief.
We can really feel down.
Sometimes, we get stuck in these moments, and we begin to feel that this is what it’s going to be like from now on. At times ,we can find it difficult to see through the utter fog of negativity, or behave without the acidity of irritation. We can see this happening regularly, from sudden snapping parents, abruptly tense teachers, impulsively argumentative friends, to surprisingly curt colleagues.
For a while I have been thinking about bad moods. Just, bad moods. When they come, the effect they can have, what they touch in their outburst. I recognised a thought process I was beginning to try and hold onto every time I was poked by negativity, and likened it to a familiar idea of 'pins and needles'.
"Oh, I have pins and needles."
The most powerful thing is firstly to recognise that you, your emotions, your behaviour, have slipped into something different, something offbeat. When this happens to us, we do, quite a lot of the time, simply continue on being malleable and susceptible to the bouts of feeling low, letting provoked anger or upset govern our actions, our speech, our thoughts. Recognition of the fact that something has moved us into a place which isn't as good for us, presses down on our self-belief, quietens our inspiration, weakens our motivation, reduces our energy, is the absolute base for adjusting it.
This can feel a little like stepping out of yourself and having a look around, but it's important, because without consciously realising that something is up, we won't be in a good position to make it better.
"Do I want these pins and needles to go away?"
After this, there's want. Ask yourself whether you actually want to change your dampened mindset. It is not a question of whether you believe you can do this, or whether you are sceptical of this working, but simply if you want to try. Without desire, we won't be able to truly change it.
I know that this can find you when you are absolutely exhausted, when you have been utterly tested. However, if there is even a whisper of potential inside you, if you will let your wounds sting with the possibility of your hope being in vain, then you can do this.
"How do I soothe or remove the pins and needles?"
Next, there's method; deciding ways in which you are going to clamber out of your current mindset. These are going to be the most effective when they are tailored to you. A song could suddenly invigorate one person, but it could do nothing for you. Craft it. Take out some time for this, and in it, create situations for yourself where you could potentially be lifted. An example would be making the decision to stand up, and then go and lie down on the floor. With your back feeling the firm surface of the floor, choose a song to play to yourself, whilst closing your eyes. Then listen. Don't just hear your chosen song, but listen to it. Another example would be making the decision to search for some quotes, on the internet or in books. Words, quotes, literature; these are a powerful tool to lure the mind into a sigh of appreciation.
There is honestly a myriad of 'methods'. They depend on the outcome you are hoping for, whether it be to calm yourself, or to energise yourself. What they will all have in common, though, is there being the availability of time, from fifteen minutes to an hour to a day, and the decision made by you, to go out and try and pick yourself up.
"I have the ability to make the pins and needles go away" or "I'm going to wait a little, and then try again"
The final piece of this process is the outcome. I won't lie, at times it is horribly frustrating and upsetting, if, after making the effort to try and adjust that mindset of yours, it stays, stubborn and dominant in it's seemingly hopeless negativity. That's the moment when you really are going to be tempted to throw your hands up in the air, and lose self-belief. Just remember, sometimes you might not be able to do it, but the other times, you will.
We can appreciate our ability to turn ourselves around, or, we accept the other outcome; we accept that this moment is one where recharging is going to take longer, and that we can give more time for a change of mindset. Whilst we are going through a period of a loss of motivation or clarity, we really should look after ourselves, be kinder inside ourselves, gentler, until we surface what feels like a bad mood.
You could of course be shaking your head and laughing scornfully, wondering why this is important, why you should bother.
With a mood that is more enthusiastic, with a spirit that is more driven, with energy that is more powerful, not only can you look at your life with more content than disappointment, but you feel you really are more able to achieve. Your mind becomes empowered. Thinking that things are a mess and it's going to get worse and you can't do anything is challenged and replaced by truly breathing, smiling, believing and a greater confidence in your capability.
Without pins and needles, we can move much more freely.
Our view on life and inside life is greatly manoeuvred by our mindset. 'Pins&Needles' is a proactive thought process.
A bad mood can hold us captive, just like pins and needles themselves, but as long as we are aware that it is present and we want to change it, we can try to find our empowered mindset again.