How to get out of a slump and into success

Have you ever noticed how when things start going wrong in your life, suddenly everything seems to start going wrong? It can almost feel as though the whole world is conspiring against you and even the simplest tasks become an effort. It doesn’t help that the news forecasts are filled with negative news, especially now. And so it can be really difficult to escape from being sucked into a downward thinking spiral. The important thing though, is how do you change that? If you find yourself in a slump, lets be honest, it doesn’t feel very good. If there’s nothing else to motivate you, there should at least be the sense that you want to be able to feel better about your life.

Are you in a slump?

In our previous article we touched on how thoughts are connected to emotions, and how emotions drive our actions or responses to situations, which ultimately also impacts the outcomes. With this in mind, when we find ourselves in a slump and we want to turn the situation around, it starts with a greater awareness of what we’re thinking, and how we’re thinking. You may be surprised by how negative everything feels when you’re in a situation that seems to be sending you on a downward spiral. It’s not a good place to be because you won’t be able to work with focus and clarity and you won’t be able to do your best work.

Recognise your state of mind

The problem is that the longer you stay in that negative and destructive space the worse it gets, and the harder it becomes to break the cycle. Even before the pandemic life was challenging for many people. The added stresses of lockdown and all that has gone with that, has made it even worse. There are a lot of people operating in a low state of mind where mentally and emotionally, everything is negative. Now you may say, “Well that is not me, I’ve adapted and I’m doing fine.” And you may well be right now. But if you’re honest, everyone at some point in their life gets into a downward spiral. The difference, however, is how long it takes to recognise that you’re in a low state of mind and do something about it.

The state of success

The opposite from the downward spiral that we’ve been talking about is that feeling of being on the top of your game. It’s when you feel really positive, when everything seems to be going according to plan and you see opportunities everywhere. Life is good, you’re in the flow, you’re being really productive, you can make decisions quickly and with confidence, and it feels really good. That’s the state of mind that most of us would like to be in most of the time. But the reality is that life gets in the way and challenges get us down, often more than we’d like them to.

So, how do you turn things around from being in a negative downward spiral to being in the green zone where you’re being effective and productive and feeling really good about life? Here are a few tips that you can implement.

How to get from a negative spiral into an effective and positive place

  1. Be more consciously aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. When you find yourself starting to feel down or anxious, or when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by everything, recognise that you’re getting into the red zone – which is what a downward spiral leads to. The interesting thing is that as your awareness grows, in time you’re able to recognise when you’re starting a downward spiral and move yourself out of it more quickly too.
  2. The first step is to quite literally tell yourself to STOP. By doing this you’re interrupting the downward spiral and creating a small window of opportunity to change things.
  3. Immediately after you’ve told yourself to stop, take a deep breath. This interrupts your physiology and helps you to calm yourself. It helps to prepare you mentally, emotionally and physically to take the next step.
  4. The next step is to ask yourself a thinking question. Some people like to write these questions down and put them on the fridge or bathroom mirror or even on the dashboard of their car. You could even add it as a voice note on your mobile phone. Questions are very powerful because they direct a person’s thoughts to a particular topic. It’s also important how thinking questions are phrased, so try to always use positive language because that is what will direct your thoughts. An example of a thinking question is: “How do I need / want to think about this?”

Working through these steps is creating another opportunity to reframe the situation and start to think differently about it. It’s an opportunity to stop the downward spiral, get out of the slump and turn the situation into something that can be used to build success. Initially it may seem hard, but the more you practice this and the more aware you become of what you’re thinking and feeling, the sooner you’re able to get out of a slump and into success.

This article is based on a webinar hosted by Vanilla Recruitment with Gavin Drake of Mindspan. You can watch the full session below from our YouTube channel, or by following this link:

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