Lately, I’ve been experiencing a few mood dips. I might be overtired, it could be hormones, the state of the world, hell, even Mercury Retrograde (ha!). The cause is really not that important here – what matters is how I’ve been shifting my state to climb out of the doldrums. I want to share some of my mindset boosting tools with you.
From time to time, we all experience low mood and, for some of us, those downers can take us to a really scary place.
I know. I’ve been there. I survived. So can you!
I promise you, even when life feels hopeless, there is always hope. In fact, that’s precisely what I was talking about in the video that effectively launched my career. I recorded a really honest short on my iPhone, talking about the times I’d wanted to check out and how grateful I was (I am) that my attempts to check out had been foiled. I shared that video on Facebook, but forgot to hit ‘friends only’.
The result was a viral video, tens of thousands of views, and this then largely unknown pink-haired coach being covered by BBC, Huff Post, Kindred Spirit, DIVA Magazine, newspapers – it was totally bonkers. I’m telling you this because I still get messages, to this day, from people who say that video changed their lives and, in some case, SAVED their lives. That’s how I know so many of us struggle and are looking for help to create a move positive outlook and just say YES to life. Incidentally, if you want to watch that video, you can see it HERE.
So, how do I shift my mood when I need to, and what can you do to move those lows closer to highs? Here are some of the tools I use. I really hope they help you too.
When I was going through some of my darkest times, ‘The Appreciator’ exercise really helped. It’s a simple one, though some people find it tough to build into a habit at first.
Every day, when you wake up, I want you to come up with five things you appreciate in life. Start really simply if you need to – I appreciate the sun, I appreciate being able to breathe, I appreciate chocolate, I appreciate having a roof over my head, I appreciate the smell of roasting coffee. Stretch yourself a little more each day, and try to come up with five different things.
Sometimes it can give your appreciation more power to speak it out loud, sometimes it helps to note your five things in a ‘gratitude diary’ you keep by the bed, so you can flip back through every now and then and remind yourself how many good things you have in your life and how far you’ve come.
Over time, this action will become a habit and it will begin to train your mind to retain a more positive outlook. You’ll find the things you appreciate change over time too… you might even discover you’ll be able to look back at some point and say you appreciate the difficult times you lived through and the lessons they brought for you.
Oh, and if you’re already thinking you can’t think of five things you appreciate, that’s a sure sign you’re allowing that negative voice to dictate to you again… there are always five things we can find, even if it’s as simple as having access to clean water or having a sense of smell. You can do it. And if it feels a tall order? Great! Stretch yourself! Prove to yourself that you can.
Of course, there are other things you can do as well.
The Gratitude Jar
Keep a gratitude jar, where you write a note about everything you’re grateful for at the time you feel it, stick the notes in a jar and read them all at the end of the year. Use one of the multitude of online gratitude journal apps, so you can record your moments of positivity on the move. Use the record function on your smartphone to keep a note of the good stuff in your life. A variant on this is to keep a note of all the small wins – every time you achieve something, however insignificant it seems, log that memory – what happened, the result, how it felt. It could be going for a run and getting that little bit further than you’ve managed before, maybe winning a new client if you’re in business, hitting a new goal or even smashing that recipe you’ve been working on.
Try cathartic writing – write it all out of your system until your mood changes. It absolutely helps – there’s a reason journals have become so popular. If you’re one of those people, like me, who tends to feel a bit overloaded, keep a ‘brain dump journal’, and a pen, next to your bed; when you wake up, just put pen to paper and write anything that wants to come out – don’t overthink it, just keep the pen moving until you come to a natural stop. This last one works a treat for me – it’s like emptying out some of stress and making space for some chillaxation.
Smile – even a forced smile will release positive endorphins – probably the only time I’m ever an advocate of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’.
Get out of the house or office
Get outdoors. Go for a walk. Exercise. Sometimes, movement is one of the most powerful tools available to help you change your state – change body, change state. Check out my video, featured at the top of this post, on changing your state in less than five minutes and follow the instructions to the letter too – I promise it will help.
Sometimes having an ‘attitude for disruption’ helps. It can be as simple as doing something really bonkers to change your state. Sing. Dance. Yell something crazy like “I’m happy because my armpits are clean!” – and mean it.
Tolly Burkan, widely known as the man who brought the firewalking movement to the western world, tells a story of his first skydive where he had to cling onto a bar beneath the wing and let go. Tolly recalls being so afraid and the negative voice in his head chattering to him so virulently that eventually he just screamed “SHUT UP!”; in that moment, he effectively disrupted his mind’s pattern, let go and lived to tell the really powerful tale. That’s a perfect example of having an ‘attitude for disruption’ and you’ll hear lots of the great motivators using similar techniques… Tony Robbins uses “Hooray! My feet don’t smell today!”, I burst into silly, high-pitched singing, or sometimes jump up and punch the air. Anything. Whatever it takes. Just do something different to disrupt those patterns of negative self-talk.
I hope these tools help when low mood hits. Of course, the best way is to start shifting your state before the downer drags you too far below the positivity line, so watch for the signs of a dip and take action as soon as you can. Even when you’re in the depths, though, there’s always a way back up – we just need to take the decision to grab that rope of optimism and start pulling ourselves back up.
Drop me a line and let me know how you get on.
Until next time,