For those of us who make it our business to be kind, it’s startling how frequently we’re unkind to ourselves.
We stay up way too late; impose deadlines that stress us out; forget to feed ourselves properly; and hustle to market the best parts of ourselves and our work, often while feeling the least best about ourselves.
While we may be confident about the value we bring to others, we often undervalue the simplest thing that can keep us energized about our business, even when others aren’t.
It’s not our passion to beautify the world or desire to be our own boss. I’m talking about something that persists no matter what goals we make.
I’m talking, of course, about mood. And good grief, what a challenge it is to manage in a world where everyone has an opinion.
Own your moods, not your customers’
Navigating your moods can be like fiddling with a thermostat in winter. On super chilly days, it’s tempting to crank up the heat… until you get the energy bill. Likewise, it’s difficult to know when to adjust our internal temperature so that we don’t pay for it later.
That’s because most of the time we’re so sensitive to others’ moods and opinions of our business that we don’t notice when their moods become our own.
Just think about the last time someone criticized your work. Maybe you spiraled into self doubt or wanted to curl up into a ball — or maybe you instantly discredited his or her opinion to shield yourself from discomfort.
This is when it’s okay to be moody in business. This type of “moodiness” encourages you to get right inside your gut reaction and use it to grow, rather than shrink. In yogic terms, this is the belief that where you are right now is exactly where you need to be, even when where you are is a bad mood brought on by someone else.
When you are in this vulnerable space you have a choice: Buy in to the naysayers and the resulting self doubt or recognize that others’ moods and opinions are not your own.
I think you know which path to take.
Permission to be “moody”
My boyfriend said it best when he told me one morning, “Be kind to yourself today, even if no one else is.”
There will be plenty of days when others’ opinions of your business don’t match up with your own. But believing those opinions is the number one way to be unkind to yourself.
Instead, settle in to what you’re feeling when you meet resistance from others. Get moody. Don’t just turn up the thermostat — discover if you need to install double-pane windows. Make sure to ask, do I really feel this way or is someone else causing me to feel this way?
If the latter, send some kindness to the person who gave you the criticism. He or she just helped you to realize that the most important person you should always be kind to is yourself.
If the former? Well, there’s a yoga solution for that, too.
Be kind to your body
A mindful yoga practice helps immensely with managing moods. I know firsthand how powerful this practice is because I’m no longer a yo-yo when it comes to criticism about my work. When I get in a slump, one of my go-to’s is Bridge Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (shown in the photo above). This gentle backbend brings energy to your heart center and blood back into the head, helping you to lift brain fog and elevate your mood.
Note: Practice your pose without a dog on your belly for best results, even she’s a super cute dog. Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury and, if pregnant, consider supporting your hips with a block placed on the sacrum.
1. Lie down and bend your knees, planting your feet parallel and heels close to your glutes. Your fingertips should be close to your heels while keeping your knees stacked over your ankles.
2. Flatten your low back into the mat, lengthening the spine.
3. Gently press your arms and palms into the ground on either side of your torso. Protect your neck by gazing at the ceiling during the pose.
4. Inhale and push down into your big toe mounds to lift your hips toward the sky. Sink your feet into the mat as you tuck your tailbone and move your belly button in to the spine.
5. Squeeze your inner thighs together, but don’t let the knees touch. You can use a pillow or block between your knees to assist.
6. If you’d like to go further, clasp your hands together underneath you and gently roll your onto your shoulders, one and then the other, to lift off the shoulder blades.
7. Take deep breaths here, gently lifting the chin away from the chest to open up your throat. Stay for 1 minute or until you begin to fatigue. You can choose to stay longer if you support your hips with several rolled up blankets or a block placed under the sacrum.
8. To come down, unclasp the hands, gently roll off the shoulders and extend your tailbone toward your heels as you articulate your spine back onto the ground.
9. Don’t forget to relish in the energy surge in your heart.
Your turn: How do you manage your moods when you’re challenged in business? Share your wisdom in the comments.
|Caren Baginski is a certified yoga teacher and writer on a mission to show you that everything is going to be okay. Through Happy Momentum, she helps those struggling with sadness, depression and emotional burnout to rediscover hope (which happens to be her middle name). She’s partial to little dogs and big hearts and writes about both in her Weekly Dharma. Sign up and receive two mantras that can change your life.|