Staying Up in Down Times

When times are tough, we often feel overwhelmed and worried. However, these emotional states are only reactions to the danger your brain perceives. If instead you focus on what makes you feel good, you will decrease the stress and free your brain to be more creative and productive.

Brain Tips: Follow these 4 steps to help stay up in down times.

1. Determine what you can control and let go of what you can’t. We tend to focus on what didn’t happen instead of what is possible. Free yourself of expectations so you can succeed with what is present.

2. Keep moving forward. There is plenty of noise, from the news, your family and your brain that distracts you from your goals. Set your work priorities each morning. Then periodically, compare what you are doing and what you are thinking about to your list. Ask yourself if what you are working on is the best way to use your time.

3. Don’t judge your emotions. Admit to their presence and they lose their power. Admit when you are scared. Then ask yourself what is the worst that can happen. You can live and rebuild from the worst, as unlikely as it is to happen. Admit to being discouraged. Then ask yourself what it will take to muster the energy to move on. Feeling emotions means you’re alive. Admit to feeling sad, scared, frustrated, disappointed and angry. Then ask your heart or your gut what it needs to feel happy, safe, encouraged, compassionate or hopeful. Your body holds wisdom too.

4. Keep your payoff in mind. Find photos and pictures from magazines that represent your dreams and pin them up where you will see them daily. When you get discouraged or afraid, smile at one of your pictures for inspiration.

Tough times are a fact of life. How you handle them is up to you. Cycles are also a fact of life, so wake up every day knowing that the upturn will come. Practice these tips until they are habits and you’ll learn how to walk the higher ground.
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