This morning my alarm was set for 5:30am. That’s a normal time for me. I typically wake up a few minutes before my alarm, turn it off so it doesn’t wake my wife, and spend a few quiet minutes in bed before I get up and go about my day. Today things took a turn I wasn’t so happy with. It wasn’t a big deal by any means, but it got me to thinking that when things don’t go my way, how do I handle it?
A few days a week I wake up, go for a 45 minute trail run, come home, get ready for my first client at 7:30am. This time of year, in Southern California, the sun doesn’t come up until about 6:30, so most of my run is in the dark. I love it though. I love being the only one out on the trails, it feels like the entire National Park is for me and the animals. I even wake up some birds as I run by. I love breathing the fresh morning air. And most of all, I love watching the sun come up over Los Angeles.
Some unforeseen circumstances were going to rob me of my beautiful morning trail run this morning. My mind started down it’s negative spiral. “What a bummer. I’m not going to see the sunrise. I’m not going to get my workout. It’s going to make me stressed out all day,” I thought. The last one is a little exaggerated because I wouldn’t allow a missed workout to stress me out all day, but you get the picture. The mind pattern started heading in the wrong direction: down.
Then I started to shift my thinking. I was late, but I could go for a run on the road. I could completely bail on the run, stay home and be grumpy for a bit. Or, I realized, I could go to the trail head, go a different route, and still get in the climbing I love, still breathe in the mountain air, and still watch the sunrise. I did just that and instead of a 45 minute run, I got a 30 minute run with all the wonderful benefits. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this guy is totally spoiled, and you’re right. When it comes to my trail runs, I go after what I love and if I can’t have it I get a little upset. But the point is that this morning made think about my solution.
It made me realize that instead of dropping everything and being upset, I made the best out of the situation. I was able to still reap so many benefits that I would normally have, even though my morning got side tracked. That is the lesson. Life will always throw us the unexpected and as I’ve said many times, it’s never what happens to us in life, it’s always how we deal with it.
Here are 3 steps to avoid a downward spiral and actually come out on top:
Stop. I know it’s hard, but the first thing you must do is stop that negativity from going any further. Do what ever you can to stop the madness. Shake yourself, take a few deep breaths, do something!
Assess. Take a step back to see what’s possible. Often times, when we’re in that spiral of negativity, we can’t see the forest through the trees. If you take a moment to assess the situation and look at your options, you will be able to make a much better choice for your well being.
Take Action. This is the most crucial step. Regardless of what’s happening, you must move the energy. I’m a very physical person. I love to move my body everyday. It not only helps me stay strong, but it helps my mind deal with 50-70,000 thoughts I have every day. I recommend you walk, run, do yoga, sweat some way everyday. Even if what you’re up against isn’t a physical problem like mine was this morning. Moving your body will have profound effects.
Remember, course correction is good. It can be the precise remedy for a doomed situation. The next time you’re feeling down, look for that silver lining and understand, there could be a deeper meaning than what we’re attached to having happen. Be open to that deeper meaning as you begin to understand that your mind isn’t always correct. Of course, reach out if you need to. I’m always here for assistance. @teddymcdonald
Originally published on the author’s website.