We’re all familiar with the idea of the downward spiral, right? Where one bad choice can lead to another which can lead to another which leads to another and so on…but did you know the opposite is also true? Good choices can lead to more good choices which lead to more that lead to more and more and so on. We call that positive momentum an upward spiral. It’s a positive impact on our heart and mind, a collection of successes and positive choices we have made along the way.
Practice Gratefulness – Do you ever notice that when you’re in a bad mood it’s easy to stay that way and anything and everything seems to make you mad? That’s because when we are looking for something to be upset about we will find it. The opposite is also true. When we look for and appreciate the good in our lives we find it. What if, while stuck in traffic rather than focusing on the frustration of traffic (can I get an amen!), you focus on the blessing of having a car in which to be stuck in traffic? Or you could focus on listening to your favorite songs on the radio or podcasts that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise have time to listen to? When we practice gratefulness and really look at all we have been given rather than what we feel we haven’t we will automatically feel better about ourselves and our lives. When we start to feel better we have more confidence and more energy to do other things that maybe wouldn’t get done otherwise.
Get Honest – How often do you answer honestly when you’re asked how you’re doing? Do you ever say what’s really going or do you brush over it or minimize it? We live in a culture that often tells us to “get up and get on with it”, “don’t cry over spilled milk”, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and any other down home saying you can think of. And while these are often meant well the message received is to keep quiet and keep moving. This is where shame can reek havoc in our lives and keep us isolated. This is where the downward spiral can really begin. When we choose to let a safe and trusted someone into our struggles we no longer feel isolated and alone. The shame we may feel begins to lose some of its power. We begin to learn we are not alone in our struggles, we are not the only one and we don’t have to do it alone. We can gain a sense of freedom we’ve been missing which allows us to move forward in our lives.
Pace Yourself – I think we can all agree we live in a fast paced world with 24 hour news cycles, the constant connection of social media and cell phones. It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with it all and the truth is we can’t keep up with it all. It’s ok to admit when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a break. I’ll never forget my first day of seminary when a professor told us sometimes the most spiritual thing we could do was take a nap. He gave us permission to take a break and relax. If you don’t pace yourself, trust me when I say your body will force the issue, usually in the form of illness. So begin an upward spiral, if you’re overwhelmed take a break.
“Dress for the job you want” – Many of us have heard, in reference to our professional lives, to look at where we want to be and dress the part. You don’t have to go far to find articles all over the interwebs that give you tips and tricks on how to “dress for the job you want”. What does this have to do with starting an upward spiral you may ask? Well if dressing for the job we want can help us achieve it why not dress for the mood we want? On those days when you feel down in the dumps, it can be a helpful little self-esteem boost to look your best, to pull out your favorite outfit, your most flattering pants/dress/shoes/top and wear it. The Journal of Experimental Psychology did an experiment on this very concept. They gave participants a white lab coat, half were told it was a doctor’s coat, half were told it was a painter’s coat. Those who were told it was a doctor’s coat showed increased attention within the study. What we wear matters, it influences our moods. We can begin an upward spiral by wearing our most happy, confident outfit.
This is by no mean an exhaustive list, we’d love to hear from you steps you take to create positive momentum in your life or as we’ve called it hear an upward spiral. If you’ve found this to be a challenge you don’t have to struggle alone, we’re here to help. Contact us today.