It’s Sunday night.
That familiar dread starts to creep into your chest. You start thinking about waking up early, commuting, all that work you need to get done, and the sea of meetings you need to navigate this week. You feel anxious, overwhelmed, apprehensive, uneasy, maybe even sad and depressed.
It sucks, right?
But, the good news is, there is a way to make it better! And you won’t have to make a single physical change in your life.
The trick is, it all comes down to mindset and thought management.
Thought management is the process of being aware of your thoughts, and being aware of how they affect your feelings and emotions. (See my post HERE on awareness – why it’s important and how to practice it). Once you become aware, you can actually change these thoughts and therefore change how you feel. It’s pretty much that simple, but takes work to get good at.
Let’s go into detail:
Many, many, many people believe that their circumstances are in charge of their feelings. This in fact, is not true. Only your thoughts about your circumstances cause your feelings.
For instance, in the scenario above, you’re sitting on your couch on Sunday night and begin to feel down and anxious about the upcoming work week.
If you think about it, you’re not even AT work in that moment, and yet you feel these negative emotions. You’re only feeling that way because of the thoughts you are thinking.
Your current circumstance at that moment is relaxing on the couch, maybe watching TV or a movie, and you’d think that SHOULD cause pleasurable feelings, but it doesn’t because circumstances can’t actually affect your feelings. Since your thoughts are elsewhere, even though your body may be in a positive circumstance, your mind is in a negative place.
For further proof, take a look at a Thursday night, or even Friday at work. You’re in the exact same circumstance as a Sunday night or Monday day, but yet you feel more positive. You feel happy, gleeful, carefree, and at ease. This is because your thoughts are on the future, on the weekend when you have fun things to look forward to. These thoughts are causing your happy feelings independent of your circumstance.
So, in order to make Mondays suck less, it’s all about shifting your mindset via your thoughts.
Here are some common beginning-of-the-week thoughts:
“I hate Mondays”
“This week is going to suck”
“I have so much work to get done”
“Ugh, another week of work”
Now, it’s impossible to go from “I hate Mondays” to “I LOVE Mondays!” and be genuine about it. You could think that for hours and still feel the same because you won’t truly believe it. The trick is to change the thought slightly to something slightly more positive or even neutral that you CAN believe.
Find anything positive about the upcoming Monday. Do you have good lunch plans? Will it be nice weather? Do you have anything fun planned for after work?
If none of those things, then maybe decide ahead of time to treat yourself to something tasty for lunch, or decide to splurge and get your favorite coffee drink on your commute in. Something you can focus your thoughts on instead of thinking over and over that Mondays suck. Your thought can change to “Tomorrow’s Monday, but I’m going to get my favorite lunch and it’s going to be delicious.” Whenever you catch yourself thinking how much Monday will suck, replace it with that thought.
It’s not necessarily about having something to look forward to, but having something does help you to change your thoughts at first. Eventually once you practice this enough, you’ll be able to adjust your thoughts automatically without necessarily having an event to help.
For instance, I’ve been practicing this for awhile now. I do still get the Sunday-crankies when I think about going to work the next day. But I can catch myself thinking all of these negative thoughts, and once I do, just acknowledging the fact that I know it’s just these thoughts that are making me feel cranky is enough to making my feelings shift and become more positive. It sounds pretty crazy but it really, really works with some practice.
How to practice this to get results:
This coming Sunday night, when you start to feel that dread build up, try to just be more aware of your thoughts.
You don’t even have to change them, just notice them. Then, on Thursday and Friday, be aware of your thoughts again. Notice what they are and how you feel. Once you make the connection yourself you’ll be amazed at how you can feel better without even changing any of your circumstances.
Give it a try and let me know your results in the comments below!
PS – if you like this thought-work, check out my other posts where I discuss it more in depth: