"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." - Anais Nin
We’ve all gotten sucked into those days, weeks or even months where we just couldn’t seem to be productive, get excited about our lives or see a clear path to our goals. No matter how much of an accomplished, positive person you are on a regular basis, these times are bound to happen and are a part of life. While this is undoubtedly true, it doesn’t mean that you just have to sit back and wait for the storm to pass. When you’re stuck in one of these downward spirals, what you’re really experiencing is a low level of energy. The lower levels of energy, referred to as the catabolic levels, can manifest themselves in victim mentality (Why does everything bad always happen to me?) or in a conflict mentality, which is characterized by blame and always wanting to be right at the expense of others.
No one really wants to be stuck at these levels, but sometimes it just happens and it can be difficult to find ways to dig yourself out of the hole. We all know that life is much better when we’re seeing it from one of the anabolic levels of energy, where we see challenges as an opportunity, are worried about the other guy as much as ourselves and appreciate each moment for what it is. So what can you do when you’ve identified that you’ve sunken into a low level? Here are five ideas that might help:
Write Down Your Accomplishments. When we’re drowning in a sea of doubt, it can be incredibly easy to lose sight of all the wonderful things we’ve accomplished in our lives. Sitting down and just writing them in a journal can be very beneficial as they’ll be in black and white and difficult to ignore. Never written the Great American Novel or won the Pulitzer? No worries, these don’t have to be ground-breaking wins. Entries as (seemingly) mundane as raising a well-behaved child, getting your degree or being named president of a local networking group are perfect examples of accomplishments you may not be giving enough thought to.
Change Things Up. Some of us start flagging on energy simply because we’re bored. Maybe our lives have settled into such a routine that we no longer look forward to getting up in the morning. Just taking a different way to work or eating at a new restaurant for lunch can be enough to shake up the same ol’ same ol’ and remind you how cool the world we live in really is. If you REALLY need a shot of ‘different’, traveling (especially internationally) has always done the trick for me.
Make a Choice. One of the most common ways we get ‘stuck’ in lower levels of energy is when we believe we don’t have a choice in a situation. We may think we have to stay at this terrible job because it pays the bills or that we can’t get out of a miserable relationship because then we’ll be alone forever. When it comes down to it, we always have a choice in every situation, from the largest of quandaries (like those mentioned above) down to the smallest (choosing to feel road rage when you’re cut off in traffic). Think deeply about your current situation and identify where you’re feeling a lack of power or control—then make a different choice.
Volunteer. What’s your passion? Do you love animals or enjoy reading? Sharing that passion by volunteering some of your time is not only a great thing to do for the community, but it’s also a sure fire way to change your perspective, elevate your mood and help raise your energy. When you take shelter dogs for a walk, read to children or help serve meals to the homeless, you connect with others, feel good about helping and inevitably see how lucky you are for what you have in life.
Stop Complaining. Seriously, completely stop. Complaining helps no one, achieves nothing and leads to more complaining. When you put a total ban on any type of complaining, from the minor (my French fries are soggy) to the major (my co-workers are a bunch of cliquey nags), you’ll be amazed how it improves your outlook on life. Not only will the negativity start to seep out of you, but you’ll also notice that others in your life will follow suit.
Life can get you down, there’s no doubt about it. What’s important is to identify when you’ve started slipping into the catabolic levels of energy and employ effective ways to change it as soon as possible. The five above tips can be just what you need to see the world (and your life) for what it is and start turning the tide.
Trish Cody has over 18 years of experience consulting with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 Companies. Today, as an ICF and iPEC Certified Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with clients to uncover their core values and beliefs, clearly see how they are showing up in their behaviors and impacting their success, and to shift their thinking to naturally attract positivity and success. For more information, visit www.TrishCody.com.