Ad. When old airplanes stalled, they often got into dangerous downward spirals. Aircraft would pirouette in the sky, falling thousands of feet, before eventually exploding in a ball of fire when they hit the ground.
Something similar can happen in our lives. We might have a good income and plenty of supportive relationships. But when wellness emergencies happen, it can feel like you’re tumbling endlessly, just waiting to hit rock bottom in a fiery explosion.
These downward spirals tend to be self-fulling. You start off feeling bad and then you do something that makes the situation worse for you long-term. That then feeds back into your feeling bad and you go through the whole cycle again. Eventually, you wind up in a dark place and it doesn’t feel like you can go anywhere to get the help you need.
The good news is that researchers have found several methods for stopping these downward spirals in their tracks. These really work. And when you combine them, you can prevent your mental health issues from hijacking the rest of your life. Here’s what you need to do:
When things feel bad, take the time to breathe. People often get into trouble because they panic about their situation. Worry prevents the sensible part of their brain from functioning and they wind up doing things they shouldn’t.
Breathing is an incredibly simple act and it’s something that people can do at any time. You just inhale and exhale. It’s all perfectly natural.
When you breathe in deeply through the stomach, it activates your parasympathetic nervous system. After about six deep breaths, you feel much more relaxed and some of the panic starts to subside. If you keep going for around five minutes or so, you find that your body is back to where it was before the trigger occurred. Now you’re in a much better position to make good decisions and fight bad ones.
Being present is one of the most powerful things you can do to control mental health problems and enjoy your life. Rather than thinking about people who hurt you in the past, or worrying about what might happen in the future, being present keeps you fixated on your experience in the here and now.
When you remain in the present, many of life’s problems simply evaporate. Most of our concerns are actually just what we imagine in our minds. If we eliminate them, we automatically feel so much better, almost immediately. The majority of present experiences are actually quite pleasurable and not outright harmful.
Cut Your Expectations About Life
We have this idea that life is here to make us happy, joyful, and fulfilled. We believe that the external world will meet all our needs.
But this attitude to life is incorrect. Nature and society don’t have to meet your needs. And in many cases, they actively work against them.
The trick to happier internal life is to accept that the outside world is, at best, indifferent. It doesn’t believe it owes you anything. And so it won’t give you the life of your dreams most of the time.
Therefore, it’s sensible to adjust your expectations. If pain happens or bad circumstances befall you, that’s all just a part of the process. Expecting better would be anti-life.
Explore The Root Of The Issue
Downward spirals don’t occur because of triggers. They happen because there is some underlying reason why you can’t move forward effectively with your life.
The trick here is to get to the bottom of the issue so that you can really understand it. The more you can learn about yourself, the better you’ll be able to process what happened to you, and why you think the way that you do.
That’s why so many people with addictions go to a dual diagnosis treatment center. It’s not just about treating their dependency. It’s also about dealing with the issues that are causing them to engage in destructive behaviors in the first place.
There are plenty of ways of exploring the root of the issue, but the best is to work with a counselor or therapist. They’re often able to probe and unpick the depths of your psyche and really get to the bottom of why you are the way you are, and why you have the experiences that you do. Once you understand that, you’re in a much better position to move forwards.
Focus On Something Royal
Focusing on something royal might sound like a strange thing to say, but once you understand the origin of the term, it makes a lot of sense. The majority of people have noble intentions. In other words, they want to eliminate their malaise and depression by improving their own lives and lifting themselves out of a rut.
But the people with a royal focus want to liberate both themselves and everyone else. This distinction is critical because it changes your focus. Instead of incessantly concentrating on yourself and your own needs, you make space for others. And when you do that, you paradoxically deal with your own problems at the same time.
Get Some Perspective
When life throws a curveball at you, it’s a good idea to get some perspective. It might seem like the world is crashing down around you, but take a look at the wider context. Observe other people’s lives and how they’re getting on. Focus on something outside of yourself to better regulate your emotions and bring you into harmony with your surroundings.
Start A Conversation With Someone Who Can Help
If you can feel the downward spiral getting underway, start a conversation with someone who can help you. Get other people to talk through your problems and take notes. You’ll often find that they have interesting perspectives and are able to provide you with meaningful insights.
In summary, the good news is that you can stop these downward mental health spirals in their tracks. However, you’ll need to be proactive. If you let them take hold of you, then they become more challenging to get out of.