Do you prefer carrot or stick? Do you move toward pleasure or away from pain? Maybe it depends on the situation.
Last week was tough for me but it brought me an insight about punishment and reward.
First my motivation went MIA, then my computer melted down. Boo hoo!
Yes, I found myself dwelling on frustration and anger. That’s very rare for me. Of course I know better and help people get unstuck from unhelpful patterns of thought and behavior all the time. Yet here I was thinking about some things that almost surely would have made matters worse.
Fortunately I didn’t do them. The main reason is because I imagined the results as being like punishing myself. But I continued on thinking of bad ideas and feeling lousy.
All the while, I was very aware that my thoughts were causing my feelings. It was important that I continued to take good care of myself by exercising, cooking healthy food, meditating and laughing.
Yet I remained stuck. I knew it could be much worse, but this was no consolation.
Then came the aha moment!
I didn’t have to do anything to punish myself. The bad feelings I already had were the punishment. As I laughed at myself, I felt the reward of my mood lifting.
Circumstances are never directly responsible for how we feel because we have to think about them first. I started choosing thoughts that produced rewarding feelings over punishing ones and the difference was immediately obvious.
So, dear reader, reward yourself in a healthy and positive way. Attend a laughter yoga class! Locally, I go to Om Shala every Monday at 4:45pm. If that’s not local for you, check the directory of classes around the world, or try the global laughter club on Skype.
Of course, that’s just one way to reward yourself. What are some others you can think of now?
Thanks for letting me share a bit of vulnerability. I almost never do that and I have to say it feels rewarding :-)