Everyone loves Fridays and looks forward to the weekends. But starting on Sunday, many of us begin to feel the “Monday blues” – the sad feeling that the weekend has come to an end.
If you feel sluggish or overwhelmed on Mondays, you are not alone. We all have such feelings from time to time, but experiencing this regularly, especially at the start of the work week, can affect our productivity.
Whether it’s stress, anxiety, or a feeling of being overextended, there is something we can do about it.
The past few years have been tough, and there have been many days when I needed motivation to get out of bed. It became even more important to stay positive and inspired. I started to look for ways to beat the negativity and find reasons to look on the bright side. Having been a long-time proponent of meditation, I researched how I could utilize this and other techniques to counter the negativity in life and become happier and more content.
Interestingly, despite having things that are going great for us, we tend to spend more of our time and energy thinking about negative events. Positive psychologists, who specialize in helping people lead happier, healthier lives, call this tendency “negativity bias.”
Did you know that we have thousands of thoughts daily, and a large percentage of them are negative? Stress, worry, and irritability are direct results of our negative thoughts, which often are either regrets about past actions or events that we cannot change, OR worry about the future, which has not happened and cannot be controlled.
I came across a wonderful quote by the Dalai Lama, “Just one small positive thought in morning can change your whole day.” It prompted me to start reading positive, inspiring, and motivational quotes every day, which really helped me to keep myself going.
So, what can we do?
Words matter! What we read and view and practice have an impression on us. The good news is that we are not our thoughts, we are the thinker who has the thoughts, and we have the power to change our thoughts.
There are many techniques, such as mindfulness and affirmations, that can be utilized to help us counter our negative thoughts:
1. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment. Mindfulness has many benefits for us at work and in our personal lives, such as increased focus and happiness. It can help us reduce stress and anxiety. Read more about how to practice – and the benefits of mindfulness.
2. Affirmations refer to carefully drafted statements that resonate personally within yourself and cultivate an attitude of positivity and self-empowerment. The article, Why we need affirmations in our lives states that, “Affirmations go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety, increasing self-responsibility for your actions, having directed goals, and also in reducing negative thought patterns.” A ground-breaking study also found that positive affirmations help in controlling our tendency to linger on negative events.
According to Harvard Business Review, mindfulness is a buzzword in the business world, but many don’t know that the hype is backed by hard science. Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have” – a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress.
Bill George of Harvard Business School also makes a case that Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader. Mindfulness will help you clear away the trivia and needless worries about unimportant things, nurture passion for your work and compassion for others, and develop the ability to empower the people in your organization.
3. Gratitude. We can retrain the brain to focus on what is good in life with the practice of gratitude. The practice of deliberate gratitude can be a daily journal to remind ourselves and write down everything that we have and are grateful for. By writing the blessings we have, we can start to look at all the wonderful things we have and feel good about our life.
Why we created Motivational Mondays
Mondays can be an opportunity for a fresh start, so we in Merkle’s DEI Wellness group have created an ongoing program, “Motivational Mondays,” to practice techniques such as breathing, stretching, and guided meditation with positive themed quotes and affirmations.
Merkle and denstu employees meet every Monday at 8:30 am & 1:00 pm EST and have new themes every quarter. We are continuing to expand and have added additional Wellness Wednesdays sessions.
Launched in November 2020 as a pilot, the group now has 250+ members and has had 100+ sessions. The program is generating overwhelmingly positive feedback from Merkle and denstu employees. Here are just a few of the hundreds of comments we have received in the past year:
“I am not the negative thoughts in my mind, and I have the power to change those thoughts”
“I will observe and acknowledge my negative thoughts by letting them pass and not embracing them.”
“I realize I’m in the future a lot. This was a good reminder to be in the NOW! Can’t tell you how much the meditation helped me focus my Monday! Thank you!!!”
“My thoughts do not control me. I can observe what I am thinking, but they do not have to rule over me. I often have trouble with spiraling thoughts of anxiety, like a train rushing by that can’t be stopped. If I just look at my thoughts and do not judge them, I can let the train go by without being affected by it."