It happens all the time, we’re floating around on a cloud of contentment, having a lovely day and suddenly, we’ve got worked up over something and we’re in a mess. Your mind begins to spiral downwards rapidly and you know that tears (or hulking out!) isn’t too far away! It could be anything- you can’t find your shoes or even worse – shoe, the bus never arrives, you forgot to turn the water on, the car won’t start, the milk is sour, someone didn’t thank you when you let them into your lane, plans are changed last minute- whatever!
I’m a spiraller (not sure if that’s a real word!) Actually, I used to live at the bottom of the spiral so I’m quite familiar with the scenery there! I’m sure you know that it’s not the happiest place to live so I worked really hard to get myself into a new, happier state of mind. I’ve visited the bottom of the spiral a few times but happily, it’s not my permanent place of residence anymore. But the past few weeks have brought me there a few times more often that I like to admit yet here I am admitting it! It’s a good reminder that the pattern of behaviour is still there. I’m conscious of it now so it’s a reminder that I still have a long way to go with myself! I know myself well enough at this stage to know exactly what I need to do to stop spiralling – so I need to detach just long enough to decide to stop it!
I was so relieved to hear one of my mentors, who I would consider to be so calm and centered, describe how she had totally lost it last week. Her laptop broke and she was on the phone, back and forth between the manufacturer and the supplier, both trying to pass it off to the other. She laughed describing how she was almost wailing down the phone, pleading for someone to just accept responsibility but to no avail. With tears streaming down her face, she grabbed the dog and headed out for a walk. (She lives in the countryside so no one would see her!) She walked to the top of the hill and then screamed, scaring the dog and a few sheep in the process! Unsurprisingly, she felt much better after! She had a hot shower, headed to PC world and was grateful that she could afford to treat herself to a brand new shiny laptop!
It happens all the time, doesn’t it? When it feels that you’re just going to burst if you don’t release the frustration or anger you are experiencing. Ideally, you want to catch yourself before you enter into the downward spiral but this is easier said than done. It takes a lot of practice but I guarantee you that if you get the hang of it, your life will flow a lot smoother. I definitely need to get the hang of this again but I know that it works and it will just take some practice to regain control! Don’t sweat the small stuff as they say!
So this week, I want to share with you 3 tips that I have found useful in times of impending spiralling!
1. Take a deep breath and count to ten
Despite the age and simplicity of this advice, it does work! As soon as you feel yourself starting to spiral– take a deep breath and count to ten. Not only do these few seconds allow your stress to decrease, but it gives you an opportunity to think before you react. In addition, deep breathing stimulates oxygen circulation, which can increase energy and reduce anxiety. If you can go outdoors and do this, even better!
2. Get moving!
Listening to music is a great way to change your mood. What’s your favourite song? Play it loud and sing along. You’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel. Also, start dancing. Good music has a magical quality that makes us live in the moment. When we are feeling stressed and tense, we hold our bodies in a stiff, constricted way which adds to the tension. When we shake it off and move our bodies, we can change our emotional states. It works, I promise! (I was doing it earlier today!)
3. Acknowledge the emotion
Our emotions are amazing gifts because they convey messages to us about what’s going on in our world. But if you ignore the message, it can magnify and become overwhelming.
If you find yourself feeling frustrated with a project you’re working on- you have two choices. You can either acknowledge the frustration (message) and recognise that you’re feeling it because your brain knows you can do better- which is a positive thing OR you can try to ignore it, spiral downwards and tell yourself things like ‘I can’t’, ‘I’m not able’, ‘I’m not good enough’ etc etc
There are so many strategies that you can use and you’ll find something that works for you! Remember that it takes practice to regain control and catch yourself before things go pear-shaped so persevere – it’s worth it. (That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!)
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you have any strategies for keeping cool, calm and collected, then please share it on the facebook page! Hopefully we can get a collection going!
Until Next Time,
Take a deep breath!