Green Yellow Red — Which State of Being are You in?

Here’s one of the secrets to a joyfully productive life:

To become sensitive to your state of being, many times throughout the day.

And, if you are in a less than optimal state of being, to do what you know, right away, to move you back to a good state.

​To keep it simple, this is the question I ask myself multiple times a day:

“Am I in green, yellow, or red right now?”

Green = feeling deeply peaceful or happy. When I’m working, Green means being in flow, feeling confident, skillful, or curious. When I’m resting, Green means feeling nourished and content.

Red = feeling exhausted and negative. Symptoms may include sadness, fear, hopelessness, overwhelm, anger, and easily giving into addiction.

Yellow = the boundary between Green and Red.

If you practice your awareness of your own state of being throughout the day, you then have a choice to maintain flow and balance, no matter what you’re doing.

Let’s get familiar with each state of being.

Green: Flow, Happiness

When you are working, and you are in Green, then you are joyfully productive.

If you are doing something you know how to do, then Green means you are feeling confident, empowered, and in service to your higher purpose.

If you are doing something new or challenging, then Green means you are feeling in the mode of exploration and learning. You are playfully curious.

Take a moment and think about the last time you felt the above. You were feeling Good (with a capital “G”) — you were feeling in your higher self!

Notice when you are in Green today.

The more you can become observant, aware of when you are in Green, the more often you’ll find yourself there. It is how humans work: we tend to subconsciously create what we consciously notice. ​

Green is not about the activity you’re doing. You can be in Green when doing any useful activity, no matter how “boring” or challenging. Your state of being is habituated based on practice, which is your choice.

​Red: Negativity

This is when you are desperately needing recovery and balance.

Ideally, you will rarely, or never!, allow yourself to get into the Red zone.

I know the reality is that many of us do go into Red. This is where relationships with others become strained. It’s where we start going into addiction. It’s where we become so frustrated with our work that we quit prematurely.

When in Red, we tend to make very short-term decisions based on impulsive negative emotions. We are also easily manipulatable, or we are so exhausted that others are forced to make decisions for us that are not in our best interest.

Let’s do our very best to never have to go into Red.

How did we get into Red in the first place? We weren’t aware enough while we were in Yellow.

Yellow: The Boundary / Warning State

This is the boundary between GREEN (flow & balance) and RED (unhealthy emotions.)

Yellow is important because it is a warning sign.

Do you know when you are in Yellow? It is not easy to recognize, except by practice. That’s how you become aware and sensitive to this state.

The way to practice is to check in with yourself regularly. Once every waking hour, take 5 seconds to ask yourself: “right now, am I in Green, Yellow, or Red?”

  • When you are no longer in Green, and heading towards Red, what does it feel like?
  • What type of situations trigger your Yellow? (With practice, you’ll eventually be able to stay in Green at all times, but in the beginning it’s useful to know what tends to trigger your Yellow leading to Red.)
  • What time of day tends to find you in Yellow?
  • After what types of activities do you tend to be in Yellow?

Be able to describe your Yellow so you can catch yourself, and use certain tools to bring yourself back to health, back to balance and flow.

You always have a choice.

Tools for Getting Back to Green

​Everytime you see a traffic light, let that remind you of your own internal traffic light: Green, Yellow, Red?

The first step is regular awareness of what color you’re in.

The second steps is to know what you need to do to recover.

It’s different for each of us, so you’ll need to discover what works for you.

For me, these tools help me stay in


★ Tool #1. Whenever I catch myself in Yellow (or Red), immediately take a moment to take an easy, deep breath.

Then I do what I call an Energy Reboot.

For some of you, tapping (EFT) can be enormously helpful. If so, be sure to use it regularly!

★ Tool #2. Having a solidly good evening routine so I get enough sleep, and a morning routine that makes me feel great about starting the day.

This means being diligent to end my workday on time, so that I can have the evening be about relaxation and renewal.

Most of us tend to be in “work” mode too often! Some of us don’t have enough planned and guilt-free “down time”. Without enough recovery, we cannot be as focused and effective.

My evenings as well as weekends are my “planned” down-time from work. It’s not that I “never” do work in the evening or weekends, but it’s rare, and I never feel any obligation at those times.

During the evenings and weekends, I aim to have as much “boredom” as I can, because that means I truly have nothing planned, and completely free time to do whatever I want. That is helpful for renewal and refreshment of our mind.

★ Tool #3. Sticking to my scheduled breaks during the working day:

8:30am — 8:50am post-breakfast Nap
10:30–11:30am Nap and dog-walk
1–1:30pm Lunch
1:30–2pm post-lunch Nap
4:30–6pm snack, Nap, and a dog-walk

Depending how much time I have, my naps are 12–22 minutes, where I simple lay down, relax, and breathe in “Good” or “Love” and breathe out “Healing” or “Joy”. Occasionally, I fall asleep, but even if I don’t, it feels good to just lay down for awhile.

…and being sure to end my work day as close to 7pm as possible, so the evening can be about relaxation and renewal.

★ Tool #4. Ambient tools to get back or stay in Green:

* Deep, gentle breaths

* Smiling

* Music (when working: soft, instrumental)* Aromatherapy (e.g. candle or essential oils)

Commit to Awareness of Your State of Being

​I encourage you to commit to becoming more aware, everyday, of whether you are in Green, Yellow, or Red. And commit to practicing the tools that always bring you back into Green.

If you have tools that help you stay or go into Green, I’d love for you to comment below and give us all some additional or reinforced ideas.

When people are in Green, great things happen in the world. There’s happiness, kindness, optimism, confidence, and good things get done.

When people are in Red, there’s stuckness, wallowing, violence (emotional, psychological, physical), and people dump negativity on each other.

Let’s change the world by helping each other notice Green, Yellow, Red, and to move into Green as much as possible.

Let’s start with ourselves.​

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Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"