I wanted to share this video with you in hopes that it might provide some useful ideas for when you’re going through a tough day or just having a moment of overwhelm, frustration, or feeling stuck. I call it the 7 Step Pattern Interrupt for Positive Change, mostly because that’s easiest to remember 😉
I don’t want to pretend or gloss over the fact that life is hard and we face MANY challenges. I consider myself very fortunate, that despite my struggles with depression, I have lived a very good life, free from extreme suffering.
The ideas in this video are just steps that seem to consistently be part of the formula that helps me bounce out of the negative zones I get into. Sometimes they last a long time and I don’t actually get out of them due to anything I’ve done…often I’m too depressed to WANT to change my state and I prefer to wallow in my depression.
I don’t know if you can relate, but if you can…I understand and I’m sending my thoughts and energy out to you and hope that through our connection, I can provide something useful to you in your life to increase your moments of joy.
So, these steps came about the other day because I was in another pattern of feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, uncertain, and not knowing what to do to make a change in my life.
I decided that the best thing to do was to just start writing in my journal and asking myself some questions. Pattern Interrupts are something I first learned about from Tony Robbins. Although I value Tony’s work, I’ve never been able to just change my state and suddenly catapult my life into some extraordinary place. Now I don’t discount that this can happen, but in my experience, the shifts for me are more subtle and slow moving, not to mention cyclical.
Maybe I’m just not as mentally strong or am lazy in building a more consistent psychological state, I don’t know. All I know is that I desire to have more good days than bad and would like to grow into a better version of myself…
The first question I asked myself is “what is ONE thing that I can do right now to feel better?” – that answer came back as breathe.
As I began to take some deep breaths, my nervous system began to calm down and as I relaxed, the corners of my mouth began to turn upwards into a slight smile.
I can’t tell you exactly what’s happening chemically when you’re breathing deeply and smiling, but I do know that the dopamine and serotonin begin flowing and correspond with a state of contentment, peace, and well-being. So, it’s no surprise that in this state, I started to appreciate the beauty around me. A quick Google search will show that low levels of serotonin and dopamine correspond with depression…so obviously we need ways to increase their amount if we’re ever going to stand a chance of moving OUT of depression.
Once I was smiling, breathing, and appreciating the beauty around me, and obviously now being flooded with dopamine and serotonin, I wanted to get up and move around.
Walking has been shown to increase creative inspiration and boost your mood and, as I waited for inspiration to strike in answer to what I needed to do to feel better, an idea came to me to just start writing about this experience.
Interestingly enough, a Stanford study showed that creative inspiration was increased by 60% in students who walked for anywhere from 5-16 minutes during, and after walking. They noted it was especially helpful in those searching for an answer to a problem. Pretty cool!
I realize that I’m not expressing anything new, but in writing things you already know and likely already have used in the past, my hope is that this post serves as a catalyst or reminder to create a useful method for you to add into your day.
The last two steps are just to take action on the idea/inspiration you’ve received and then to celebrate that positive action.
Taking action is one of the hardest things to do in my experience, but it’s also the only thing that creates a change. I think the thing that excites me most is that by just priming yourself through breathing, smiling, and moving with appreciation for the beauty of life/nature, taking action then becomes MUCH easier.
Once you’ve done something to move yourself into taking action, you’re likely already feeling much better and I think that it’s really important to honor and celebrate that. Be proud of yourself that you actually took control of your mental state and actively changed it. That is pretty incredible and is good evidence to show that YOU have the ability to be in control of your thoughts and feelings.
Now I know that it’s not that easy all the time. As I said before, I often lack the desire to change and oddly find comfort in my depression, but I KNOW this is limiting and it doesn’t serve me. My goal for myself and for you would be that we more consistently practice an active changing of our mental states.
Don’t we deserve more? Don’t we deserve to live with as much happiness and joy as we’re capable of creating? I feel the answer is yes and I hope you do as well.
I hope you have gotten value from this and also that my song “The Best Day” that plays at the end of the video can be part of stoking the fires of joyfulness. You can get that song, as well as many more in a similar vein in my Studio Classics Collection.
In closing, try these 7 Steps out (It can literally just take a few minutes or less) and see if they work for you…
1.) Breathe deeply a few times
2.) Smile, even if just slight…it will get bigger
3.) Notice the beauty around you/appreciate or practice some gratitude
4.) Stand up, go for a walk, or just move around for a few minutes staying in this relaxed breathing/smiling state
5.) Wait for an answer or inspiration to come for the question, frustration, or dilemma you’re facing
6.) Take immediate action towards that, no matter how small. THAT is your momentum for continued action
7.) Now celebrate what you’ve done. Feel good about consciously making a change
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below and if you’re not already subscribed to me…you can do that below.