Let’s face it. With every high, there is a low. After you’ve finished a project and you get that buzz, there’s a tendency to come down from it.
At the same time, you can only truly experience a high of productivity when you’ve struggled. But it can be overwhelming when you feel deflated, and it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have felt stuck in my own negativity. I almost try to rush out of it but by doing so I end up feeling anxious and panicked. So, what do I do to get out of it? How can I make myself feel better, empowered, enlightened?
I have to trust in myself, in the universe, that I will feel better. Life’s experiences have taught me that I always feel good eventually.
With every low, there is a high.
I must remember to trust that everything happens for a reason. It will only help me in my journey to success. In fact, the knowledge of this means I am already successful. Every challenge is a step forward. Every low is just another step towards achieving my goal.
I have to drum this into myself, so I can drum it into you as well.
I trust that the universe is working to give me the best ideas yet.
I trust that the universe is working for me, well, because to think otherwise is frankly quite depressing.
So it must be working for you as well.
While the universe is working to help you, how do you occupy your mind during those lows?
Here are a few tips that not only give me a break in the cloud of negativity, but they also keep my inspiration up. You may have already adopted some of these and if not, I suggest you try at least two of the below for a month and see the results for yourself.
I read first thing in the morning and right before I go to sleep at night because that’s when my child sleeps and I can give 100% of my attention to it.
You may find other times in the day to do that but make sure your reading experience is positive, i.e. read about good things — self-improvement, mindfulness, success stories, positive news stories.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is basically my go-to. It’s a book based on her film with no fluff, only love. If you’re looking for words of inspiration, that’s all she gives.
The more pleasurable your reading experience is, the better your mood will be.
I especially read to learn. I can be researching ways to increase productivity for my writing or how to entertain my 18-month-old at home. Whatever it is, I am constantly seeking to learn because it makes me feel motivated and fulfilled.
If I am going through a period where I’m not writing very much or I don’t feel my articles are interesting enough to publish, I’ll occupy my time learning other things so that I keep giving myself that stimulation of overcoming challenges.
For example, I started gardening just because I felt like learning to do something physical without tiring myself out too much. I got a sense of achievement straight away when I saw the results — a more colourful garden. Very cliche, but it did the job for me.
You can learn things that may do the trick for you, too, to keep your mind feeling good while you take a break from a bigger project.
Stay away from the news.
If knowing about every scandal and tragedy happening in this world makes you feel depressed, just stop.
Ask yourself what’s more important: your mental well-being, or knowledge of the news — and how each option affects your life.
And if you can’t help yourself, then you must accept that there is a part of you that craves the misery. Period.
When the pandemic hit the UK, I found myself Googling the number of cases each day for a couple of weeks straight until I realised how awful it was making me feel. It affected my quarantined days with my son and it was a generally miserable time for us. I decided to stop searching the news and the amount of information that reached me via word of mouth or social media was enough to keep me informed but not scared or depressed.
I have a limit before becoming overwhelmed with negativity and I won’t cross that line anymore.
Know your limit.
Ask for signs, even if they burn.
This is a little mystical and a bit tricky to explain without you thinking I’m talking a load of nonsense, but hear me out.
I recently started asking the universe to snap me out of negative thinking. I literally said out loud to no one in particular “please, every time I start feeling a little down and my thoughts try to get ahead of me, do something to interrupt me.” I credit Rhonda Byrne here, as she suggests exactly this in The Secret.
I’ve got to say, it is working.
I was in the kitchen making my morning coffee the other day and this was my train of thought:
- My writing is getting me nowhere compared to other writers because I don’t have enough time in the day to get ahead.
- My husband gets 8 hours a day or more to do what he loves.
- I only get 2.5 hours.
- I am jealous of my husband.
At exactly that moment when the feeling of jealousy entered my mind, I threw away the used coffee pod but it missed the trash, fell on the floor and some boiling water splashed out of the pod and onto my barefoot.
I snapped out of it very darn quickly.
Do you see that?
First of all, I found a way to complain about how I work fewer hours than my husband.
You know you’re successful when you love what you do so much that you want to do more hours of it.
The set up my husband and I have arranged for work and bringing up our child actually works very well. It is something we agreed on because I want to be with our son.
- I did not want to go back to my office job.
- I did not want our son to go to a nursery.
- I did not want to force my husband to cut down his hours to share child-care.
= I don’t actually want to write more than 2.5 hours a day at this point in my life, but if I did, it would be possible.
So, why the heck was I complaining?!?!
Because it is in my nature.
Because it is in many people’s nature to just complain.
That’s why the news is so scary and negative. It is easy to consume yourself with negativity, so asking for a sign to stop you from spiralling is just another way of taking control of your thoughts.
Engage with others who are doing what you want to do, and spot the signs that tell you you’ve got this.
Talking to others who are into the same things as me makes me feel like I am on track.
For example, since I write about self-improvement, I like to read other people’s articles and books about exactly this and reach out to the authors. Ayodeji Awosika is a legend in that sort of thing and I like the way he thinks.
Ayo and I both used the same image as the cover for our articles recently. He doesn’t know me, and the two articles are about completely different topics, but I saw that as a sign.
How is it that, after carefully choosing an image for my article, he also chose that same image for his? We don’t know each other, I hadn’t published my article yet, and I only saw his article after I finished editing mine. There are thousands upon thousands of images to choose from in various websites, and somehow, we used the same one.
(this was the image:)
I just cannot believe that all the small coincidences in my life are pure coincidences. Can you?
Here’s another one.
Seconds after I deleted an entire paragraph of an article I was writing because I felt inadequate and stupid writing it, I received a notification for a piece published by the one and only Tim Denning about self-doubt and how even top writers feel that their content is bad sometimes. His message was simple — keep writing. I immediately recovered the paragraph I deleted and worked on it.
The point is, find others who are into what you like and see them as walking examples of the success you seek.
They are your motivators.
They are your signs.
Use the little coincidences in your life to help remind you that you are on the right track, even during difficult times.
Do something mindless sometimes.
You just can’t always stay focused — it’s impossible. And the more you try when you’re feeling low, the more you’ll fail.
I recently wrote about how I let my mind wander very innocently, and how during those few seconds, my 17-month-old at the time climbed up the stairs without me.
. . .
This is probably the most important point.
I must always be appreciative of everything in my life. Not only is this vital for your emotional wellbeing, but it is also good for keeping your mood above the happy bar and it allows you to deal with the negativity that creeps up out of nowhere in a better way.
With gratitude comes silver linings.
I no longer see bad situations for bad situations — I see them as lessons to be learned and I am thankful to be learning.
Whenever you start feeling a little under the weather, list the things you’re grateful for just to lift your mood.
Literally changing the subject in your mind will be helpful in the short term, and if done enough, you’ll gain perspective on the things that do make you pessimistic.
You won’t feel as bad as you would have without gratitude, and you’ll be in a better mindset to make changes to your circumstances.
And that’s the goal, right?
Keep up the morning routine.
I particularly list the things to be thankful for in the mornings, so that sets me up for the day. I cannot stress this enough, the morning routine is vital.
Once you have a well-established routine, make absolutely sure this continues even during a period of low motivation and self-esteem. This acts as a constant pillow of comfort and ensures I don’t spiral throughout the day.
Do you have a good consistent morning routine? If not, think about the things that make you feel good, and just spend a little time doing them in the morning.
. . .
If your attitude sucks and you feel low, unmotivated, or uninspired, treat each tip as a tool to help build your new attitude.
Be patient, consistent, and thorough in your changes because it will take time to adjust, naturally.
- Trust that this feeling will go away. Without this, the rest doesn’t matter.
- Read every day about positive things to keep your mood balanced.
- Seek to learn something relatively easy but stimulating nevertheless.
- Detach from the news.
- Ask the universe for signs to stop you from spiralling emotionally.
- Engage with others who do what you love.
- Set time apart to think of nothing in particular.
- Practice gratitude.
- Keep a great morning routine.
Let me know what works for you.
This post was previously published on Change Becomes You.
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