Reversing the Spiral

Yesterday, we explained what a downward spiral is and how we might get caught in one. Today let’s talk about some things that can help us climb up and out.

If you’ve ever been caught in a downward spiral of failure and negative thinking, you know how hard it can be to find your way out. But there are some things you can do that will make it easier. You can start by listing things you’ve succeeded at or felt good about in the past. Everybody has these moments, so don’t deny yourself the experience of remembering them. And yes, write them down! We’re rebuilding neural pathways here, and need as much of the brain involved in positive reinforcement as possible.

Read the list every day, remembering as vividly as you can what each experience was like and how you felt. These experiences are all stored in your subconscious memory; they just need the opportunity to come back to the surface. Remind yourself that the qualities that helped you succeed then are still very much a part of you today.

Perhaps the most effective thing you can do is to take control of your mental environment. There may not be much else you can control – at the moment. But if you control your thoughts and your responses to the situations you face, you’ll feel much more on track again. Keep a close “eye” on what goes on with your internal conversation, making sure that it is positive and reinforcing of what you want – and not what you don’t want.

Instead of dwelling on unpleasantness in the past, picture a positive future instead – the future you want. Grab hold of this replacement picture and experience it every day, multiple times a day, as vividly as possible. Remember to feel how good it will feel when you’re really there. The human mind “works” on pictures, and you are creating a magnetic draw to the picture of what you want. Teams, organizations, indeed any group of people, can do this same thing to create a more positive future.

There are many things we can do, as a part of making this reversal happen. Physical activity can help quite a bit. It burns off the fear, and gives your mind something different to focus on. So can reading inspirational books, watching uplifting films, or if necessary, getting professional help. And by all means, laugh. A good, long, belly-laugh helps your immune system and it’s a wonderful contagion to give to those around you. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins and promotes an overall sense of well-being.

These are powerful belief-mobilizers. Rallying them is a vital first step in retaking control.