Do you ever experience what I call the bad moment spiral? It’s when something happens and you start to feel bad. And before you know it, it becomes a bad day and the bad day can turn into a bad week. And then it can turn into bad months and sometimes it can even turn into bad years. I can relate. I used to have bad days and bad weeks. And there was a few years that felt really bad to me. Fortunately, I experience less of those bad days and it’s because I practiced these three things that I want to share with you in this episode.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
What’s happening, beautiful friends? Today I want to talk with you about how to avoid bad moment spirals. So I know everyone listening to this can relate especially me. A bad moment spiral is when something happens and you start to spiral into a bad feeling energy. I hear many times clients and friends and even myself have said in the past, “I’m having a bad day.” And if you’re not mindful those bad moments and bad days can spiral into what I like to think of as very dark periods in our lives.
As I was preparing for this episode, I was thinking back to some of my darkest periods. And one of them being when I was struggling so much with my weight, and I thought about how even though I can’t pinpoint the exact moment there had to be a moment in my life where something happened and I started to think negative thoughts about my body and my weight. And it spiraled out of control manifesting as a weight issue and as many years of just feeling bad about myself and my body. But what if these bad moments that we have don’t have to spiral out of control?
What if you have the correct tools that when you find yourself in a moment, which is part of life, you can course correct instantly so that your energy doesn’t keep moving towards what it is that you don’t want? When I think about my life now, I don’t really have a lot of bad days and it’s not because I don’t have things happen that aren’t frustrating, and challenging, and cause me to doubt myself. The difference now is that I practice what I’m going to share with you in this episode. I want us to be women who have less and less bad days and more good days.
So here are three ways to avoid the bad moment spiral. The first way to avoid a bad moment spiral is to accept that you’re having a bad moment. This one is huge and it’s the reason why I don’t have as many bad days. Because when I am in a bad moment, I just accept that this is part of my human experience. I used to believe that the purpose of life was to be happy all of the time. So any time I wasn’t feeling happy or any time that I didn’t feel like I was on top of the world, I would fight against it. And remember, what you resist, persist.
If you’re fighting against something that you don’t want, you’re giving it all of your energy and it just grows. And so for me now when I’m having a bad moment I’m just like, “Oh, this is just part of life.” Everyone has these moments. It doesn’t really mean that anything has gone wrong. It doesn’t mean that things are falling apart. It just means that in this moment I’m feeling a negative emotion based on what I’m thinking. And something magical happens, you all when you accept how you are in this moment. It is the fighting against it that causes us so much pain and suffering.
A good friend called me up recently who was going through a really hard time. She was having consecutive bad days. And she wanted to fix it immediately. She thought that she was supposed to be different than what she was in that moment. And what I said to her is, “Of course you’re having a bad day, so what?” And she wanted to argue for her own misery. But I just kept saying to her, “Okay, so what, you’re human, you’re having a bad day.”
And as we continued to have a conversation, I could just tell that she was releasing tension around it that drew her acceptance, she was relaxing into that bad moment which then made it seem less intense, less critical. And what happened, if you think about energy, her energy began to shift. She didn’t have as much resistance towards the bad moment which freed that energy up to move in a different direction. Because listen you all, everything in life is about energy.
It’s why next month in the School of Self Image we’re going to be focusing on energy because it’s creating your entire life. But what we often want to do is fight against the energy we don’t want which increases that type of energy. And so it has been so freeing for me. When I have days where I’m full of anxiety, or full of self-doubt, or full of frustration just to be like, “Okay, this is my human experience, this is part of life, nothing has gone wrong, I’m just experiencing what it is to be a human.”
The problem is we have been sold that we’re supposed to be happy all of the time. We’re supposed to be in bliss all of the time. But life is about contrast. You can’t appreciate happiness if you don’t know what sadness is. You can’t appreciate calm if you don’t know what conflict is. But what happens is we want to fight against one and hopes to get to the other and it doesn’t work that way. The moment you’re willing to accept your human experience and all that it entails, the less resistance that you have around it.
So for me one of the ways that I avoid the bad moment spirals is just to accept that I’m having a bad moment and that’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. I’m just experiencing the contrast of life. Now, once you accept your bad moment then the process is to look at your ‘bad thinking’. Because the reason why we are feeling bad is not because of what is happening outside of us. It’s because of what we think about what is happening outside of us.
So for example I was coaching a woman recently who was having bad days. And we did some investigation and it all started one morning when she stepped on the scale. She was up five pounds and she made that mean that she was never going to lose the weight, that it was impossible, that it was hard. And that thinking started to cause her to spiral into negative emotion.
And guess what you do when you’re having negative emotion, especially for those of you who struggle with your weight? You want to eat. It’s like you end up creating more evidence for the energy that you don’t want. And so day after day of telling herself a story about that one moment, and then acting off of those negative emotions, and then creating more weight gain, she felt as if she were spiraling out of control. She was spiraling into that dark season.
Another client of mine received an unexpected bill. And she started to tell herself stories like I’m never going to get on top of things, things just don’t work out for me. I’m not going to have enough money. The unexpected bill was just a bill, that’s it. But the way she was thinking about it created that negative emotion that caused her to spiral into bad days that started because she received paper in the mail and opened it and it had a number on it.
That’s the way I explained it to her, I’m like, “Okay, you received something in the mail, you opened it up and there was a number on it and you told yourself the story about it that caused you to feel bad.” So for me once I understand that I’m in a bad moment and I accept that I’m in a bad moment I go in and I look at my thinking that’s causing me to perceive this moment as being bad, that’s putting me into a bad mood.
One of the concepts that I teach is fact versus fiction. Facts don’t make us feel anything, they’re just neutral. But the fiction that we attach to those facts will either make us feel amazing or make us feel awful. And so it’s so important for you to look into your own brain and look at why am I feeling bad right now? What am I thinking that’s causing this bad mood? And once you identify what it is you can begin to crawl out of that bad mood by thinking thoughts that feel a little bit better.
Now, for example, my client who was having a bad few days because of what the scale said she wasn’t able to get to I’m never going to lose the weight to this is going to be easy. But what she could say to herself is I just keep thinking I’m never going to lose the weight. And when I think this way, it makes me feel bad. It’s such a tiny shift in your thinking but it puts her as the witness of her life where she can see that it is her thinking that’s causing her to feel that way.
And as she begins to feel a little bit better, she will continue to reach for better feeling thoughts that will cause her energy to go from feeling bad to feeling a little better, a little better and a little better. It’s shifting the energy of your life into the direction that you want to go and you don’t have to do it overnight. You don’t have to do it instantly. It’s a gradual process of constantly being in tune with your own brain and noticing, am I thinking thoughts that serve me? Am I thinking on purpose?
Am I thinking with intention? And am I thinking in alignment with what it is that I want to create and who I want to be as a woman? And when you’re not, it’s okay, you’re human with a human brain. Don’t beat yourself up for having bad thoughts that just keeps you in a bad mood. Be curious with yourself. Be curious with your own brain. And find out what you are thinking about the facts of your life that’s causing it to seem as if it’s bad.
I just had to do this a few days ago, well, actually I’m always doing this practice but I had this moment, I was in a funk. You all know what I’m talking about. And it was around my daughter’s health. For those of you who have been listening to the podcast you probably have heard me talk about my daughter and her health challenges. And she was doing so good and she had a setback. And I was in a funk because of it. And I looked at my brain and what my brain was telling me about my daughter’s health. And I was like no wonder I feel so bad.
But I know for me my daughter needs the best version of myself to support her in getting through this. Now, of course when our kids are sick or terrible things are happening in the world I personally I want to feel bad about it until it’s no longer serving me, until I realize this emotion is not helping me help my daughter. And so I allowed myself to feel bad. I accepted it. I didn’t make it mean that my life was going astray and that things are terrible. And I didn’t build that story, I accepted that moment and how I was feeling and I allowed myself to stay in it for about 48 hours.
And then I was like, my daughter doesn’t need this energy and I don’t need this energy. It’s not serving either of us. And so I went in and I looked at what my thoughts were around what was happening. And I began to think better thoughts little by little until I was out of the funk and I was back into feeling empowered around it and determined and just pure love for my daughter.
And that is the process, once you accept that you’re in a bad moment you’ll notice that the resistance starts to lessen. And then you can go in and look into your brain as to why you are feeling that way and just reach for better feeling thoughts.
And then the final thing that I do when I’m in a bad moment to avoid spiraling out of control is really fascinating. I do the opposite of what my brain is telling me to do. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a bad mood what your brain tells you to go and do? If you pay attention what you will notice is that it will almost always tell you to go and do things that feed that mood. Why? Because the brain is lazy and once the energy is going in a certain direction it’s so much easier for the brain just to keep going in that trajectory.
So I know for me my brain tells me things like, “Just go and sit on the sofa and watch Netflix, or procrastinate, or go lay down, or grab a bag of chips.” All of those things will actually feed my bad mood. And that is where the spiral comes in because now you’re taking actions that’s creating more evidence that you should be in a bad mood. So pay attention to what your brain is saying when you’re in a bad mood and do the opposite of that. If your brain is telling you to go and sit on the sofa, maybe you need to get up and go for a walk.
If your brain is telling you that you’re not good enough, maybe that’s time when you sit down and write all of the reasons why you are. Do the opposite because then what you’re doing is you’re stopping that energy in its track and you’re redirecting it towards what you want to feel and experience. I do believe that our thoughts are creating our feelings which then are driving our actions.
But I have so much evidence in my life, when I start to act from where I want to be, not where I am, it inspires me to think differently. I start to trust in myself. I start to feel more confident. And that builds a better mood. And it stops me from spiraling. One of the things that you probably notice if you’ve listened to this podcast for a while is that I teach the same concept in many different ways.
Another way to think about this is to think about acting from your future. So when you’re in a bad mood imagine the version of you that’s feeling excited, confident, determined, whatever it is that you’re wanting to feel. And imagine how that version of you is showing up. What are the actions that she’s taking? And begin to take those now. Now, this does require emotional toughness. And what I mean by that, we can be emotionally lazy where we crave comfort.
And sometimes in the moment it feels comforting to go and let’s say eat, or to procrastinate, or to do whatever it is that you normally engage in when you’re in a bad mood. It is the path of least resistance in that moment. But it’s never going to lead to an extraordinary life. In those moments you must be willing to feel the discomfort of creating from your future, from creating outside of the bad mood.
And again if you just pay attention to what your brain is telling you to do and you do the opposite of that what you’re going to notice is that the opposite of that is most likely in alignment with the best version of yourself and the future that you want to create. So if you’re in a bad mood and your brain is telling you to give up, don’t. If you’re in a bad mood and your brain is telling you that you’re going to find comfort in ice-cream, find comfort in something else, something that will lead you towards the life that you want to live.
If you’re in a bad mood and your brain is telling you that it’s not worth dressing up today, go and put on your best outfit. We are all so much bigger than a mood. And when you begin to practice these three principles when you’re in a bad mood, what I can tell you is that number one, they won’t last as long. Number two, you won’t be so dramatic over them and you’ll be able to get out of them so much more quickly.
So to recap, to stop the bad moment spirals first of all embrace them. Nothing has gone wrong; you’re just a human being have a human experience. And life is about the contrast. And once you’ve stopped fighting the bad mood go in and assess your bad thinking. What are you thinking that’s making you feel as if bad things are going on in your life that’s putting you in that bad mood? And then do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do. I’m telling you, when you practice those three things it is a game changer.
So right now, I want to speak to those of you who your bad moments have spiraled into what may feel like a dark season. Looking back over my life I can remember those moments where I just wanted to give up. I thought it was useless, I didn’t think I had what it took. I didn’t feel good enough. And trust me, I had a lot of evidence to prove all of that true. And now I can look back and realize that those moments were growing me. They were asking me to step up into the best version of myself.
And so first of all a big hug to you, if I could be with you in person, I would give you a big hug even though I know we’re supposed to be socially distancing. But I want you to practice these three things as well. Embrace where you are. Stop fighting it. Fighting it only makes it bigger. And then spend some time with yourself. Look at what’s going on in your brain. What are you thinking?
And when you really can assess the thoughts in your own mind you can see wow, this is why I feel so bad, this is what I’m telling myself about my life, maybe about yourself, maybe about a certain situation and reach for those better feeling thoughts. And listen, I know everyone listening to this, even though you may not think so, you’re tough. You’ve experienced tough things. You’ve overcome hardship. You’ve got it within you.
So I want you to have that emotional and mental toughness to feel the discomfort of change which again is going to require that you do the opposite of what your brain is telling you to do. And I promise you you’re going to come out of this dark season and you’re going to look back on it and realize that it was here to grow you.
Thank you all so much for tuning in and I cannot wait to see you in the next episode. Cheers.
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