What Would Feel Better Right Now?

As a solopreneur, it can feel very strange and lonely working for oneself day-in and day-out. We no longer have a source of endless annoyance or inspiration in the form of other people. No one with whom we can brainstorm our brainiest thoughts or off of whom we can bounce our bounciest ideas. No one to wish away so we could just get some friggin’ work done already.  Sometimes we lose perspective. Things can start to feel crappy. We realize we have been wearing the same sweatshirt for a month and a glob of yellow mustard from earlier in the week. Stuff like that.

One of my favorite tools to combat this state of extreme loneliness is to ask myself,  “What would feel better/great right now?” Borrowed from genius Law of Attraction expert Jeannette Maw, this simple phrase is a great way of staying in the flow of positive and productive energy even when you would rather assume a fetal position with your childhood blankie somewhere underneath the dining room table. I may or may not be speaking from experience right now.

So ask yourself: What would feel better right now?

When I ask myself this, my response is usually “A shower”, which, unfortunately, speaks volumes as to the overall state of my personal hygiene. Your answer could also be “to shower”, or it may be a variety of other activities – to cry, to go for a walk, to tidy up the kitchen because it vaguely resembles a crack den, to take a nap, to call a friend. The key is that you want it to propel yourself from the current state of “funk” to a more elevated state of – at the very least – “meh”. If it takes you all the way to “huh” or even “not too shabby”, then that is marvelous!

However, what if the answer to the question, “What would feel better right now?” is “A milkshake.”

This is where it gets tricky.

Let’s break it down into three possible scenarios:

Scenario 1:

  • Your mental state right now: “Blah” to “Wah”.
  • Your mental state immediately after drinking a milkshake: “HOLY SHIT, THAT WAS DELICIOUS! I THINK I’LL ORDER ANOTHER ONE! THIS TIME WITH MALT!”
  • Your mental state 5-20 minutes after drinking a milkshake: “Oh my God! What have I done! I have no will power! I am weak! I am terrible! Please God, smite me for my frothy transgressions!”
  • Verdict: Don’t drink the milkshake.

 Scenario 2: 

Your mental state right now: “Blah” to “Wah”.

  • Your mental state immediately after drinking a milkshake: “Oh shit. I’m lactose intolerant!”
  • Your mental state 5-20 minutes after drinking a milkshake: “Oh. Shit.”
  • Verdict: Don’t drink the milkshake.

Scenario 3:

  • Your mental state right now: “Blah” to “Wah”.
  • Your mental state immediately after drinking a milkshake: “My, my. What a delicious treat. It’s a shame I couldn’t finish it, but my tiny inverted belly was full. I dare say I feel a modicum of delight creeping back into my viscera once again.”
  • Your mental state 15 minutes after drinking a milkshake: “Mmmm. I think I’ll have a quinoa salad with radicchio and soya beans for dinner tonight. But now, off to pilates.”
  • Verdict: Drink the milkshake. And I hate you.

The truth is that sometimes when we are feeling crappy, we will revert to decoy behavior – the mental or physical activities we’ve used in the past to avoid feeling our feelings – in order to help us cope. So sometimes the milkshake is just us reverting to old habits or behaviors in order to avoid feeling crappy – scared, angry, afraid, frustrated, homicidal –  and sometimes it is a joyful treat that helps catapult us into that better-feeling state. Remember, you do not need to feel amaaaaaazing after your better-feeling activity, the key is that it moves you in the direction of something that feels not-too-shabby versus something that helps to make you feel even worse. Ususally feeling our feelings – rather than avoiding them – is exactly what the life coach ordered!

So when you find yourself sitting in your own filth or your eyelids drooping out of overwhelming boredom as you force yourself to answer one more email or write one more blog post, ask yourself this very simple phrase, “What would feel better right now?” And be sure to listen for the reply.

Now pardon me, I hear a cupcake calling. (Milkshakes aren’t really my thing.)