By Reino Gevers
What makes some people happier, more successful and healthier than others? Although research pinpoints some heriditary factors the real clue that makes those rare individuals stand out from the rest of the crowd, is how they deal with the natural up-and-down cycles of life.
The common denominator of highly successful people such as Nelson Mandela, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, businessman Richard Branson or writer J.K. Rowling is that they all learned ways of kickstarting themselves out of terrible down cycles, that would have destroyed most other people.
The natural reaction to a major setback in life is a type of “shock-freeze paralysis.” The kick-starters however, have adopted habits of how to get out of the down cycle as soon as possible. Lets face it life is not all sunshine and glory. We have bad days and they can sure knock us out of all that we trust and believe in. The loss of a loved one, a life-threatening disease, job-loss, bankruptcy, divorce, and an unforeseen accident. Life is full of unforseen circumstances.
While we can’t control external events we sure have control of how we react to them. So how do you get out of the down-cycle? For me walking the Camino in Spain has been a test of up-and-down cycles every time, a real analogy of life. Going on a pilgrimage, or taking a complete time-out for reorientation, has for me been a major help, like leaving a dysfunctional marriage and a well-paid job that was fast pulling me into a burnout. Simply being in a completely different setting with no electronic distractions and having alone time is really important in stimulating creativity – and more importantly – learning the lesson from the down cycle. People with a generally high energy level and thus physical and mental resilience, will also find it easier to get out of the down cycle. So if you are in a dark spot, here are some tips:
- Get moving with physical exercise to get those happy hormones going and start boosting the body’s immune system with nutrients from power foods.
- Find room for alone time, prayer, meditation or any other ritual that gives you energy.
- Meet with friends, family, or any other people that you know will lift you up with positive vibes and to strengthen your feeling that you are part of a community.
- Create a mental picture or vision board where you want to be in six months, three years, five years.
- Givers Gain: Are there any ways of where you can give to others in serving the community and making a positive contribution to society? It helps get you out of the rut of endless negative self-reflection.
Reino Gevers – Mentoring for Leaders and Achievers