I remember a period in my life when everything just seemed to be going wrong. I wasn't in a great place emotionally or practically. This particular day, I had woken up feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate and the day just got worse and worse as it went on.
I determined to get through the day, and through gritted teeth, steeled myself to get on with it.
The breaking point came when I received a phone call with even more disappointing news. I'm pretty good at hiding my emotions and I stifled the tears. When I eventually got home I dumped my bags at the bottom of the stairs and ran up to my bedroom. All I wanted to do was to throw myself on the bed and let the deluge of tears out. As I swung open my bedroom door, I stopped in shock. To my horror, I saw the bedroom ceiling had fallen in. The deluge had happened, but it wasn't my tears, it was a leaky water tank in the loft which had caused the damage.
I don't know if you have ever noticed, but when you are continually in a negative state, things just seem to get worse and worse? When I saw the destruction in the bedroom, I completely shrugged off my negativity and got busy in solution mode. That was a turning point for me. Once I stepped out of my "poor me" attitude, everything around change for the better.
We block the good when we focus on the bad
We are continually programming our subconscious mind with our thoughts and conclusions from what goes on around us. Just start thinking of your favorite make of car in red, and hey presto, you will notice that particular make and color of car seems to be everywhere.
When we focus our attention on what goes wrong, guess what? Everything seems to be going wrong, and your mood and negativity can, if unchecked, continue on a downward spiral. We do normally snap out of it, but often it only happens when things just get so bad, like a ceiling falling in, you have to do something different.
Lots of consistently successful people don't let their thoughts or emotions linger on negativity, much less get into a downward spiral. When they are in a downward spiral, they know how to get out of it. I am a bit of a late bloomer, as pivoting my thoughts and emotions didn't come naturally to me. I had to learn the formula to achieve a good feeling state very quickly. This is the formula I came up with.
1. Become conscious
Our subconscious mind stores all the data we just can't cope with in our conscious minds. Along with this data are tapes which run without noise in the background of our minds and create an unconscious stream of thoughts. When that stream of thoughts is not in alignment with our true selves which is positive and optimistic, then we feel bad. The first step in the formula is to allow yourself to become conscious of your thoughts and emotions which are creating our negative experience. This might take some time and effort if this is new to you, but the process of becoming conscious speeds up when you've practiced it often.
2. Change your self-talk
We are creatures of habit and our self-talk will go down the route we allow it to. If our self-talk is negative and focused on the bad things that happen, then like a rolling snowball, your thoughts will gain momentum, and unchecked, will become more negative. To change your experience, you have to take charge of your self-talk and consciously and deliberately pivot your thoughts into more positive channels.
3. Do what it takes to feel better
You have to be honest about your feelings, trying to stifle them is just repression, which usually always comes back to bite you. But when you are feeling negative for a long period of time, it's easy for that state to become the habitual norm, and your subconscious mind gets stuck and seems to create even more to feel negative about. If you do what you can to feel better in any given moment, then you will begin to create a welcome upward spiral which, if focused on, can build and eventually make you feel much better. Try contacting a great friend, or listening to music, or think about times when you've felt happier.
4. Create a healthy perspective
When I was a child if I cried about anything trivial, my mother would impatiently say, "I'll give you something to cry about if you don't stop". Not that she ever did give me something to cry about, my mother was a lovely woman, but she had no time for any self-pity. Of course, just because you're having a negative day, doesn't mean you are indulging in self-pity, but the essence of my mother's message was along the lines of "there are worse things which could happen,". Creating a healthy perspective means you look wider and gain some insight into the reality of your situation, and build in some optimism. With a healthy perspective, it is easier to tap into solution mode, and finally, you realize that "this time will pass".