(Dr. Norquist is on vacation this week. We are re-running a letter that was published earlier in this column.)
Dear Dr. Norquist:
I never know what to expect from day to day. My job is unpredictable and I never know what kind of a mood my boss will be in. I'm a waitress and my day can go well or not so well, depending on so many things – traffic, the flow of customers, the weather, and how irritable my boss is feeling on any particular day. Sometimes I have a string of bad days and I feel like I have a black cloud following me around. I don’t mean to be paranoid, but sometimes I feel jinxed when several bad things happen in a row. I never know what each day will bring – I guess that makes me anxious each day when I wake up. How can I make my life better? Right now it’s kind of a drag each morning (especially Mondays). I'm writing to you because you always have something positive to say. What can I do to feel better?
Dr. Norquist responds:
My suggestion is that you develop a morning ritual of intending to have a good day. This may sound simple and superficial, but it is really a very powerful practice that takes relatively little time to implement.
Recently, a client of mine shared the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day,
and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is anew day;
begin it well and serenely,
with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays...
My client uses this quote (among others) each morning to set the tone for his day. Sometimes he awakens with anxiety and doubts, but with the consistent practice of intending to have a good day, he is usually able to dispel his anxiety and any negativity he is carrying and achieve a more positive state of mind.
This is a means of taking advantage of your immense inner power to uplift yourself. That “black cloud” is probably your experience of your own fear and negativity. As soon as you change your state, your experience of the “black cloud” will change. Ultimately, your inner experience is totally up to you. Remember, no one but you creates your inner experience.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at email@example.com, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2012 Chaitanya Counseling Services