Downward-spirals - the phenomenon where each less-than-perfect event of the day piles onto one another, and you become more and more upset with yourself as the day goes on until you feel hopeless, helpless, and no longer yourself. Sometimes it happens so quickly, it's hard to remember what got you there. I want to talk about this because I do not think it's uncommon.
For me, my go-to thought pattern on a rough day is that I am a failure, and that nobody wants to be my friend. It's crazy! In reality I know that I am surrounded by a few genuinely loving people (quality over quantity), that I'm doing my best every day, and that I am enough. Yet, once and a while I get lost in the stories I am telling myself. I become completely absorbed into this illusion of separation and imperfection. The other day when a downward-spiral occurred, I chose to get myself out instead of sinking deeper into the storm. Below are my top tips that worked wonders for me, and got me back into balance in just 30 minutes. I hope you find some value in them, as I did.
1. Recognize that you are not your thoughts
This can be the most challenging step but it is the most important. Unlike the other tips in this list, this is not an action, it is a mindset. Once you realize that your thoughts are just energy entering your consciousness you can stop associating your identity and value within them. This is incredibly freeing because you take back the power to control your thoughts and cultivate the mindset you desire. Just remember that nobody is perfect, and falling back into old thinking patterns is totally normal. Like any skill, this takes practice. Try to check in with yourself once and a while and just notice your thoughts passing you by like clouds drifting through the sky. By doing this, you are preparing for moments of despair or helplessness when you need a reminder that these harsh or 'negative' thoughts will not last forever, and that you are not a harsh and negative person - you are love.
2. Take some time for yourself
When my negative thinking patterns reached a peak, I was supposed to go play tennis with my partner. Instead, I asked him if I could just take some time for myself because I was feeling overwhelmed. I decided to not be ashamed to say that I wasn't feeling happy. I think our culture is one that discourages us from speaking our truth when we are unhappy. Think about it, when somebody asks "how are you?" we always say "good" or "I'm fine!" - but are you? Are you fine?? Be honest! Allow yourself the freedom to sit with each of your emotions. Every emotion is human, and normal to have. So say how you are feeling, and people who truly care about you will understand. Take some time for yourself so you won't have to continue in your downward-spiral.
3. Use adaptogens
Fancy word, right? 'Adaptogenic' is a term used to describe plants, oils, and compounds that help balance your hormones and support your adrenal glands - therefore helping you manage stress. My favourite products to help me manage stress are doTERRA's Balance blend and Kate's Magik Moon Goddess jasmine blend. For me and many others, they work almost instantly. If your skeptical, that's okay! At least they smell nice!
4. Write down what happened & reflect
By this, I don't mean start a Pity Party on your pages and describe how unfair the world is. Write down the events of the day without applying your bias about them. Jot down your routine, things that may not have gone as planned, and maybe your reactions to each event. Try not to label the events as negative, because everything that happens is a neutral event until we place a 'positive' or 'negative' label on them. When you're done, look back and pick a few things you could have done differently to avoid becoming increasingly upset. Take the power into your own hands to create the life you want. When I did this, I realized that even though some things (like the rude guy at work) were out of my control, there were things that I could have done differently to make my day better. I had spent way too much time scrolling through social media that day, and not enough time with my own thoughts or working on my own goals. This caused me to have a skewed perspective of my life because I was just watching how many friends other people had and how "perfect" other people were. I became so caught up in these artificial stories that I created artificial stories about myself. Upon reflection I was able to see that I just need some time to let my creative side loose and express more gratitude for how amazing my life is.
5. Do a grounding meditation
Once I reflected on my day, it was time to move on and return to my true self and my safe surroundings. I put on a 'Relax, Ground' & Clear' meditation with an app called Stop, Breathe & Think. It was only 6 minutes, but think it was simply the perfect words I needed to hear to switch my day around. By grounding yourself, you take your head out of the storm clouds that are clogging your vision and return to the supportive and nourishing Earth.
6. Read a book
A book that completely changed the way I see my thoughts, and got me into the mindset I talk about in Step #1, is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. It is easy to read and understand so it is perfect for both beginners and people farther into their spiritual journey. But honestly, any book will do. Read what makes you come alive. Read what makes you happy. Start telling yourself stories that align with who you are to replace the unhealthy stories you have been trapped in all day.
7. Spend time with somebody who makes you feel safe
This does not have to be a romantic partner or even a person - it can be an animal, a fictional character in a book, nature, or a phone call to a parent. This can be anything - it is open to interpretation. Feeling safe is so important and healing after a rough day. When we are safe we feel strong enough to be ourselves again - which is who we need to get back to.
I hope this article helps the next time you find yourself on a negative path. Leave a comment below if you have other tips to share!
All my love,