How to Get Out of a Downward Spiral and Back into Flow
When we are on a path of self-discovery and creating our unique vision we are inevitably going to run into shit days (in truth I’m 100% certain that every human experiences these days at some point… and that’s tough to say about most things in life).
You know the days I’m talking about, where we feel completely inadequate to chase our dreams and end up running ourselves into a negative downward spiral. It can even feel like the more inspired we become, the more abundance we receive, and the more excitement and creativity that we have to dream big- then the more pain we can actually feel.
I read a book recently that talked about this phenomenon. The author calls it the Upper Limit Problem (the book is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks). Essentially this problem pops up whenever we are feeling more abundance, creativity, success, love and connection in our life than we think we deserve. Then we do something unconsciously to self-sabotage. This brings us back down to a level that we think that we’re worthy of. The book has a ton of amazing insights and tools to help you overcome this problem and I highly recommend giving it a read.
I had a big Ah-ha moment after reading it and forgave my past self for not knowing any better. Surely had I known this information I would have chosen to act differently?
So of course the Universe sent me a nice little test to see if I could put my new found wisdom into practice…
It came recently in the form of one of those shit days I mentioned above. I was completely stuck in it. To make sense of how random this day was, I’ll share with you what happened the day before.
I had the most AMAZING day spent with a girlfriend that is truly a 10/10 for me! Every time I’m around her energy my heart screams, “Yes! This is the type of person I want to surround myself with!”. We treated ourselves to a decedent brunch and had a soulful self-care day including massages, book store browsing, and oracle card readings. We talked deeply and playfully about our dreams, desires, and struggles. I felt so inspired and uplifted. To top the day off we spent the night decorating a friend’s home for Christmas and basked in a sense of community and connection while eating home baked treats. I met new people and heard their stories and felt inspired and expansive. It truly felt like a perfect day. I went to bed feeling so full of gratitude and love for my life.
Then in the morning I thought I’d channel all that feel good energy into my blog and business To my horror though, I felt completely blocked. I sat there staring at the screen frozen in fear. I sat there long enough that I started wondering what the hell do I even have to say? Why am I even trying? What’s the point? Who do I think I am to follow my bliss?
Ugh. It was soooo the opposite of everything I felt twelve hours before!
My inner critic was going bananas on me! I got sucked into that nasty black hole of suffering. I sat there sobbing and feeling useless.
Then I had a realization. Don’t I know better? Can’t I choose to react differently?
So I took a moment to actually question my thoughts and ask myself “Is this true? Or is this just a story I’m telling myself to play small and keep me safe and comfortable?”.
I knew the answer right away. It wasn’t my truth. It was just my ego playing tricks on me. So I made the conscious choice to shift my mindset. I told myself that just because I wasn’t feeling inspired to write, didn’t mean that I should give up everything and beat myself up over it. It just meant that I needed to shift my inner state.
(Side Note: I want to say that I believe in fully expressing our emotions when they come up. But I also think there’s a fine line between when our emotions are true for us or suppressed and need healing; or if they are completely self-generated by nasty self-talk, an unhealthy mindset or a limiting belief… In this case it was the second one.)
So I changed my mind. I told myself I am enough. I put into practice what I’ve been learning. And I chose to put writing aside and do some play instead. I went into it with the intention of opening up into my flow state, getting out of my head and into the creative zone of timelessness where my thoughts didn’t matter. If I wanted to write and silence my inner critic then I was going to have to raise my vibes. It was non-negotiable.
So I chose to do something that I knew would reinforce the belief that I am enough. I started to paint. I know I love art and being crafty.
Before I knew it the entire afternoon and evening had passed and I had forgotten all of my negativity from the morning. I felt completely relaxed and was no longer in the mood to be harsh with myself.
In fact, I felt super accomplished and even proud of my work. I had dialed in and connected to Spirit (or Higher Self, God, the Universe, etc… whatever you believe to be true for you), and I had shifted my mind from feeling “not enough” to enough.
Afterwards before bed, I was so full of inspiration and ideas that I had a hard time going to sleep. I journaled about all the different ways I could create, write, and serve others. I felt passionate and clear minded again. But I wouldn’t have gotten there had I not shifted my state.
Looking at my past patterns I would have most likely decided to dwell in that shitty mood all day. I probably would throw on Netflix, drink a bottle of wine, beat myself up about “doing nothing” and being unproductive then probably order a pizza and eat the whole thing (read between the lines- numbing!). But I didn’t know any better then… and now I do.
I’ve found that sometimes to unlock our creative genius in one area, we just need to open up to flow in another area. I believe we are super connected in all areas of our lives and our mind, body, and spirit. They aren’t separate. If you can shift one, you can affect the others.
Painting helped me generate creative ideas, feel inspired, and ultimately be a better writer. But I never would have gotten there had I listened to my negative self-talk. I knew that my mind was upper-limiting itself and self-sabotaging me from the amazing day I had before.
So if you ever find yourself feeling stuck, uninspired, or your inner self-talk is sounding less than lovely, I want to recap and share with you the steps I took to get myself out of my negative downward spiral.
1. QUESTION IT
Start by asking yourself if it’s true? (yes or no). Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (yes or no). How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? Who would you be without the thought?
If questioning your thoughts is a new concept for you then check out “The Work” of Byron Katie (which is where those questions originate). She’s got some amazing books on the subject that will do more justice on explaining this process than I can.
2. CHANGE YOUR STATE
What can you do to change your state, get out of your head, and get into flow? Do you like exercising, art, writing, playing music, dancing, learning magic, having sexy time…or whatever your “thing” is? Go do that!
3. FIND EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH
Practice gratitude for the gifts and talents you do have and how much joy they bring you (find a way to see that you are enough!).
4. ACKNOWLEDGE YOURSELF
Build that self-esteem muscle, and confidence by acknowledging yourself for choosing a new self-loving path and open yourself up to the good feelings that come with it.
5. LET GO
Surrender and know that inspiration and motivation will return. All things are temporary, including feeling stuck. Don’t be surprised if shortly after this practice that you are back on your feet in no time and brimming with more ideas and energy than ever before.
I hope that this helps you on your journey if you’re ever having “one of those days” and feel trapped in a downward spiral. Remember to be gentle with yourself and just do your best. It will pass… and this process helps me make that happen sooner and easier.
In the meantime, you get to enjoy getting in the zone and doing something fun!
Rise & shine,