Ever have those days where you are inexplicably tired, unmotivated or you can’t shake the negative self-talk? Well I have those days too. In fact, they always seem to occur when people I would normally reach out to, are unavailable. On those days, I’ve had to take it upon myself to maneuver my own emotional turnaround. This month I’m sharing a tool I created that has helped me overcome what I call the “downward spiral of doom.” You’ll see an example of responses below each question to get an idea of what this might look like. All you need is a willingness to dig deep, a journal, pen and the following prompts… Step 1: How are you feeling? The intention behind this question is to acknowledge your feelings and accept the situation for what it is, in this moment. I’m tired, bored and lonely. I am don’t have the energy to read. TV drives me crazy. No one is available to do anything. I feel stuck inside this house bored and unmotivated, like I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel stuck. And I’m mad because I wanted my “stay-cation” to be fun. Step 2: What triggered these feelings? By recognizing the experiences that triggered the downward spiral of doom, we are better equipped to deal with them when they pop up. Consider your environment and the weather, as they too can serve as triggers. This awareness can prevent us from going down the spiral of doom in the first place or help us recover more quickly. The past two months have been busy for me with work. I’ve been alone a lot. I was looking forward to connecting with friends and getting outside. It’s raining and I feel stuck in my house. Step 3: What are your current thoughts about the situation? I want you to be really open and honest about how this is affecting you. Write down all of the thoughts that are spinning through your mind no matter how crazy or irrational. To use a metaphor, I want you to give yourself an oil change. Start by draining the old oil out of the engine. Go for it - let it all out. I finally have a few days to get away from work and get out of the house but I’m tired, it’s raining and no one is available. I should have done a better job planning something. I’m wasting this opportunity. This is vacation time is going to suck. I should have booked a trip instead of a “stay-cation”. Step 4: What would your perspective be if you were to feel grateful for this situation? What if you could think of this as something that is being done for you rather than something being done to you? Now I realize that with this question, you may want to reach over and punch me in the throat because I’m asking you to perform a huge mental shift. I know it’s tough. Push yourself anyway. It’s this maneuver that is the catalyst for the emotional 180° turnaround. Back to the figurative oil change, you’ve drained the broken down, contaminated oil, and now it’s time rev up your engine with something fresh. The truth is, I am tired. And actually, I am lucky that it is a rainy crappy day because now I won’t feel like I’m missing a beautiful day if I park it in front of the couch and watch movies and nap. Step 5: How do you want to feel? You’ve acknowledged that the current situation is really sucky. So how do you want to feel instead? Time to refocus your energy on what you do want rather than what you don’t want. I want to feel rested and energized. I want to have fun during my time off. Step 6: What thoughts will support how you want to feel? When we quit a bad habit, experts suggest we replace it with a new, healthy habit. In this instance, I’m asking you to trade your old negative thoughts for more positive ones. Restate how you want to feel when you phrase this question to yourself. For example: “What thoughts will support me in feeling energized and motivated?” This is a bad day, not a bad vacation. I always feel better after I’ve rested. I can relax today and reach out to people tonight. I’ve had trouble transitioning from work to vacation before because I wanted to go do something fun right away, but I’m tired. After I’ve chilled, it usually works out that I enjoy my “stay-cations”. Step 7: What do you believe about yourself that will support how you want to feel? In order to get the most out of this question, it’s important to take the perspective that you are operating from your highest self. From that perspective, what do you know about yourself and your ability to overcome challenges? What strengths and character traits have helped you overcome obstacles in the past? After writing down your beliefs, say them out loud starting with the stem, “I believe …” I believe the best thing for me is rest even though I’m fighting it. I believe I will have a better outlook tomorrow. I believe this rainy day is not what I wanted, but what I needed. Step 8: What behaviors will support how you want to feel? Different results require different behaviors. Time to explore what new behaviors will get you the outcome you desire. Well, if I want to feel energized then I need to rest. I will rent some movies and nap on the couch. Tonight I will reach out to friends and try to create a plan for tomorrow. If it stops raining, I will go for a short walk to get out of the house.
That’s it! You have successfully maneuvered the emotional 180 turnaround. Your engine is revved up and ready to create the desired outcome you want. So the next time you find yourself in a funk, or needing to rebound after a major disappointment, try maneuvering your own 180 degree emotional turnaround using this tool. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you! Best wishes, ~Laura