We all have periods in our lives when things feel bad and we slide downhill and can’t seem to get back up. There’s lots of bad news, frequently random incidents everywhere, and things have been tough for many people this year.
You can make a difference right away to your immediate circumstances, your mood, and those around you by deciding to change your mood! Don’t accept feeling beat up, switch to upbeat.
Don’t put yourself down – INSTEAD recognise your own worth
Overlooked for a promotion? Feeling bad about sales or a project? Maybe you’re writing endless job applications and no one’s even replying. You’re fed up with silly factoids and mantras about how to be great, about what to include in cover letters, CVs, etc. You’ve got mountains of experience, but no one cares.
All right! This is not a time to slump in a morass of angry self pity. Use your anger as fuel to burn for your journey.
Who is the real you? A terrific lateral thinker? A mesmerising presenter? A person who zips through complicated figures? A human thermostat who brings peace to the most fractious team? Think about your strengths and go beyond the usual phrases and descriptions and consider what best summarises you.
Remember how others have recognised or praised you in the past? There are themes and patterns unique to who you are. Don’t crawl into a corner! Consider these positives and step forward once more.
Don’t give in all the time – INSTEAD be assertive and proud
The more you give in, the more you will give in, and the sooner you will forget who you really are. Don’t immediately take the path of least resistance. I know sometimes it is easy to avoid conflict and many things are not worth the battle. But when you give in all the time, you are choosing not to be heard. You are losing your voice and you are forgetting how to speak up, let alone argue. You are being non-assertive and this leaves no room for pride. It’s a short step to feeling BEAT UP!
So brush off that feeling and choose to be UPBEAT, choose to be assertive and speak up and be proud of what you think and how you think – your values – and what you say to others. Be heard! If you assert yourself with tact and principle, you’re the winner in the end.
Don’t lapse into negativity – INSTEAD move forward with self-care
You do it, I do it, we all do it at various times. Sometimes people make demands on you which you feel unable to fulfill because you’re at a low ebb.
At the risk of alienating those people, nourish yourself first. This may mean restoring your battered senses with quiet music, fishing, walking in beautiful gardens – whatever you happen to find soothing and rejuvenating.
A physically unwell person shouldn’t be forced into activity, and neither should one’s emotions. Allow the negative feelings to dissipate by letting your mind drift a little (some call this meditation), or you may prefer to do so via gentle exercise or fixing things, or cooking. Self-care also means gently but rigorously shining some light on old behaviour patterns which may be holding you back.
The important thing to recognise is that negativity holds you back, keeps you stuck in the past. Focus on moving forward. Help yourself to feel good.
Don’t stop learning and developing – INSTEAD unlock your potential
Stagnation happens to the best of us. You’ll recognise it when the anecdotes about your past have become tedious, even to you.
Perhaps you feel threatened by trends and developments in the marketplace? You don’t have to buy into buzzwords, but you can think about positioning yourself to take advantage of current and future circumstances. Start reading and watching the best information channels. Go to public meetings, festivals, interesting forums. No need to over-analyse where your true potential lies; begin with the topics and skillsets that have always interested you, find out where they’ve evolved, and go from there.
Find interesting people, articles, books, ideas – the more you learn, the more the sparks will fly!
Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace.