When you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
-- Dr. Seuss
During the 1965 baseball season, Hall of Famer Willie Mays went went through an 0-for-24 slump. Twenty-four consecutive times, he got up and got out.
Game after game. Day after day. Nothing but failure. Nothing but outs. Imagine if he had just quit right then? More to come on Willie later...
One of my best friends is currently in a slump except he's not a baseball player. He's an entrepreneur, a dad, and a great guy. And he feels like a complete failure.
I had coffee with him last week and listened to the despair in his voice and the hopelessness. I could relate to everything he was saying.
You see, I've been through many slumps in my life. Slumps that felt like they were going to last forever. Slumps that I thought I was never going to be able to get out of.
But I always did.
These 13 simple techniques can help you become more positive andmotivated, and break you out of any slump.
1. Acknowledge it.
A slump is no different than any other problem or obstacle in life--you can't simply stick your head in the sand and deny that it exists.
Admit that you feel really low right now. Acknowledge that there is a problem. Start here.
2. Accept it.
This is how you feel right now. There is no getting around it. Accept it. Say a couple of things like this to yourself:
- "This won't last forever."
- "I feel like a failure but I know I will get better."
- "This too shall pass."
And it will...
3. Be open to letting it go.
Do you know someone who always has some kind of drama in their life? And they always seem to love to tell you about it?
They are stuck in perpetual victim mode, and it's an easy (but painful) place to live.
If you want to get out of your slump, you have to be willing to let it go. Don't look for sympathy--look for solutions.
4. Talk about it.
When we get stuck in a dark place, we start thinking that we're the only ones who have ever felt this bad. But once you start to talk to people and really open up, you begin to realize that everyone has been there at different points in their lives.
5. Don't throw a "pity party."
You feel down, you feel like a failure, you feel like things are never going to get better. So what do you do? You throw a pity party.
You tell more and more people about how unfair things are. You want their pity. You want them to tell you that you are justified and that you should feel bad.
But this only has the effect of prolonging it. When you're in this mode, you're not looking for any solutions, you're just looking for people to feel sorry for you.
Cancel your pity party. Focus on getting out of it instead.
6. Go on a positive mental diet.
While I was talking to my friend and trying to help him get out of his slump, he started to tell me about all of the terrible things that were currently going on in the world. It turns out that he's been watching the news. A lot. His mind is getting filled up with negativity and it's making things worse.
We have to be very careful about what we allow into our minds on a consistent basis. The news, negative people, darkness--it can all make us feel worse. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply.
Read, watch, and listen to things that are going to uplift you, not depress you.
7. Raise your energy level.
When you are feeling down, you need to do things that are going to raise your energy level. The old adage "Move a muscle, change a thought" is certainly true.
Go for a walk. Do a quick workout. Do a few pushups. Do anything that is going to get you out of yourself for a few minutes and get your blood flowing.
8. Thank it.
Everything in life is a lesson; it's just up to you to see it that way.
What can be learned from this slump? What is it telling you? How is it helping you to change?
As hard as it might be, be thankful for this experience. Be thankful for the lessons it is teaching you.
In the words of writer Haruki Murakami,
And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.
9. Surround yourself with positive people.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
-- Jim Rohn
Are you spending most of your time with negative people? Take a close look at whom you are with the most and what their attitudes are like. If they are disproportionately negative, make some changes. Start seeking out people who are positive and are going to lift you up.
This one might be hard at first (who wants to be around a really happy person when you feel like dirt?) but it's crucial.
10. Shock your system.
Sometimes it's a matter of changing everything up. Or just changing one big thing to shock your system.
Many time slumps come from getting in a rut and then they slowly get worse as you get more and more comfortable in that rut (even though you gradually feel worse and worse). So you need to do something to shock your system into action.
- Are you a night-owl? Try waking up early for a week.
- Are you super serious? Make laughter a priority for a few days.
- Always online and on your phone? Try a digital detox.
Here are 25 more good ways to shake up your routine.
11. Help someone else.
One of the best ways to change your entire mood is to help someone else. It's quite possibly the most effective (and gratitfying) way to truly get out of yourself and give back.
As product designer D. Keith Robinson points out:
Often, when I'm not sure where to start, or have a mountain of daunting tasks piling up, I begin by asking someone else if they need help with anything.
To me it's probably the single best motivational/productivity tip I can think of. Sure, it's slightly counterintuitive, as you're potentially taking on work, but the rewards are mighty. I find that after I spend some time helping someone else get started (or finished), I'm refreshed and ready to get going on my own stuff.
Try it. It works every time.
Feeling overwhelmed and down? Simply help someone else.
12. Be grateful.
When you are stuck in a slump, it's easy to feel like there is nothing good in your life, but I've found that this couldn't be further from the truth.
No matter what was going on in my life (business problems, I was sick, someone cut me off in traffic, whatever) there was always something that I could find to be grateful for.
All you have to do is think about one thing that is good in your life. And now add another one to the list. And another. Soon you will see how blessed you really are.
13. Take action.
It's now time to take action. Decide on one step that you can take to pull yourself out of this slump.
What are you going to do right now? Start really small. The whole point is to just do something. Something that will make you feel better.
Start right now.
And as for Willie Mays: How did he do during that horrible season in which he went 0-for-24?
He wound up breaking the National League record for home runs and being named MVP. Not a bad way to recover from a slump.
You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!
-- Dr. Seuss