OR WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL TOO LOW TO CHANGE ANYTHING
When you’re really down, there seems no way out. What you know and remember used to work, doesn’t work. You can go through all the right motions of the right things to do, but it all gets you back to feeling
- overwhelmed, it’s just all too much,
- powerless, “outside” negativity invades and overpowers you,
- exhausted, your body expresses all different kinds of symptoms from tiredness or weakness to even pains,
- wired, nervous, like you’re not yourself or you’re not grounded,
- dysfunctional, like you just cannot do anything or get things done,
- hopeless, like you’re stuck and it’s always going to be like this,
- doubtful, as if this might be your fault or weakness, and
- separate or unnormal, because, why does this always happen to you?
Sometimes we get so low and feel so overwhelmed that we just can’t get “out of it”. We don’t have an idea of what to do in these situations, no energy to give to ourselves, and frequently we don’t even know why we feel so low.
It’s definitely an option to get help. Another person’s energy, outside perspective and distance can do wonders for being able to figure out the root of the problem, and to shift the experience you are having. But as you grow and mature, it’s important to rely on yourself and to find your own strength and ways of dealing.
A client said to me this week, that she would need an action list for when she is handling such a state by herself. And I thought, great idea! You are not alone! I bet that many of the people in this community will like this idea and make use of it. So I meditated about it and came up with this list of 13 steps and actions that will help you when you are absolutely down and feel stuck and without access to the things that can create a shift.
Here they are:
1. Stop Action, Breathe, and Be
The first thing many of us do when things are getting really bad is trying to act. And because we’re already in negative energies and emotions, we keep trying to “push through” a specific problem and getting more and more exhausted – or we act in a way that allows us to distract ourselves from feeling bad.
I notice this kind of action mode, when action is not called for, in the following ways: I either get a sense of fighting against life and not being supported, which leads into more exhaustion and feeling worse, and it brings up all different kinds of negative emotions, like anger at life, that it’s not fair, or frustration.
When I am too exhausted to keep pushing, I tend to go into strategies that make me feel better, but are very short-lived: Binge-watching series, reading something that allows me to escape into a different world, eating sweets or lots of carbs… Everyone has their own “vices”. But we all know, they are just an escape and they solve nothing.
All these strategies have their place. But there comes a point when we really need a shift, we just cannot continue. And the first step towards that shift is, to stop all this action that helps us to bear the situation, but not to create a change. Frequently when we stop, we create a time and space for looking into ourselves, maybe meditation, or going for a walk just reflecting and observing and breathing. When we stop trying to change things we can start to feel, and that’s the way of getting the information available to us on so many levels, and understanding WHAT EXACTLY it is that we need to do in order to progress. It may just be an inner action, an inner transformation, understanding, or a shift in attitude. But until we’ve figured out what it is, all other action goes in circles.
2. It’s Just an Experience
Whatever we feel and think, however dark it looks – we have to remind ourselves that it is just an experience. Our thoughts and sensations arise from a field of energy that we are exposed to, or have become a part of. As soon as that energy field disappears or dissolves, we feel totally different.
You know this is true because you know how you feel when you are on top of the world, creative, in flow, and connected with yourself positively. Right now, you cannot feel that. But you can remember it, and remind yourself to step out of the story that is playing in your mind: It is not real. It is only as real as the energy you are experiencing. Or, if you prefer, think of it as a part of you. There is a part of you who sees this dark reality and believes in it. But it is not all of you. And the other parts of you will weigh in and come into your awareness again.
This negative experience is not who you are, or how you are. It is just something you are experiencing now, and something that can and will change – because you intend it to do so!
3. Perceive Your Body
A good thing to do as you stop “doing” something is to draw your attention from your mind towards your body. The goal is to perceive what you feel in your body without resisting it. It is a technique that brings you into the moment NOW, away from ideas of what happened in the past and may happen in the future. Because as your mind thinks you can ask yourself
- How does this feel in my body right now?
- How is this for me right now?
You can learn to observe the sensations in your body without judging them. When you judge, the next flood of thoughts will arise and keep you restless. And all you have to do is observe those thoughts and ask again and again “Ok, and how do I feel about this in my body now?”. You can notice feelings, emotions and sensations, and the more you practice, the more you will be able to understand the signals of what you feel in your body – and they give you information that is different than what your mind can come up with. It may even be information that you don’t understand – images, or seemingly unconnected ideas. But they are important, and they will help you shift the energy.
At the very least, focusing on you body will make you aware of how much resistance you have towards this experience. In other situations, it will already calm you down and allow you to let go. But in any case, it is necessary to enter into a process of being present with yourself – which in my experience, is the basis for reaching the big shifts and release.
4. Notice Blame and Choose Compassion
On top of feeling badly or not functioning the way we want to, we oftentimes accumulate blame. We think that we are too sensitive, or that we just cannot live like this. When we buy into the thought pattern of blaming ourselves, everything gets worse.
So a big step is noticing how you blame yourself and hold yourself responsible in a negative way – and to choose compassion for yourself and your situation instead. If you had had a choice not to feel this way, wouldn’t you have chosen to feel better?
Having compassion for yourself means allowing yourself to be the way you are now. even if nothing changes. Recognize that you are human, and that for you, on your path, meeting these kinds of situations is a challenge, something that will help you process, let go, and grow. Remind yourself that as the year has its seasons and there is always winter before spring, you can go through this low time and it opens up something that allows a shift to occur, invariably. There is always contraction before expansion. And accepting these phases of the process is a great step forward that alleviates your experience.
5. Bring in Positive Energy
This step is a very practical thing we can do. We constantly are affected by the energy of our surroundings – and exposing ourselves to high(er) energy will make us feel better and help us shift and transform what is going on. You may want to
- drive or travel to a place that makes you feel good (nature is always amazing for clearing your energy!)
- surround yourself with people who uplift you
- do something that raises your energy (I love singing, dancing, going into nature, painting, cleaning LOL, sleeping, walking barefoot, swimming or taking a bath, a massage, therapies and personal growth experiences … but there are a million possible actions and you know best what works for you)
- bring in positive energy through music, recordings, books, or movies.
I would recommend for you to make an ongoing list of actions of self-love, self-care and raising your energy. The items can range from small things that take a few seconds, to bigger investments of time and money. That way, when you feel down, you can just go through the list and find the thing that you CAN DO right now.) You can even set a daily timer on your phone to remind you to pick and execute one of those actions!
Any actions of self-care, anything you can do to give to yourself what you need in this situation, will help raise your energy. So ask yourself, what would make me feel better now? What do I need now? If I could have anything I wanted, what would I get or do for myself to be nurtured?
6. Find Someone to Be Present with You
As sensitive people, we may have a tendency to draw back and be alone when we don’t feel bad, because other people see to be more of a burden and may give too much input. But when I think about my sessions and why they help to create so much change, I realize that there is a huge value in someone just being present with you, listening, feeling with you, going into these negative experiences with you. That person doesn’t need to say or do anything. But they need to be ready to feel with you.
Often, when we tell a friend how we are doing, they only take this as an impulse to tell us about their opinion, their idea, their solution – and that is what is often not helpful in the real down-moments. However, if someone just sits with us and mirrors back to us what they perceive and feel, that’s easier and more helpful. And in some situations, we may not even have to talk. We can just sit and feel together.
An easy exercise is just looking into a partner’s eyes for a few minutes, without words. You can do this with a friend or a partner, or even with yourself in the mirror. That presence, that awareness, that space someone makes for you, it can really help you get clarity and feel and explore what’s going on in a different way. The person holds a space for you in which you can be more present – and at the very least this is a beautiful connecting and deep experience.
There are many ways in which we can find support and presence in other people. One possibility is to join my community’s private facebook group and contribute and benefit from a space of sharing, support and mutual presence.
7. No Need to Understand
We often keep ourselves from feeling because we are trying to understand. We think and analyze because we’ve learned that if we understand the reason, we can change the effect. But if that was always true, you would probably be able to feel much better a lot of the time.
The process I am proposing to you includes letting go of wanting and needing to understand and discovering how you can transform your inner state, even when you don’t understand. It all starts with a simple decision.
When you are feeling so down, you can really ease the situation if you decide that you don’t need to understand why you are experiencing this or what it is. That decision leads you right into serenity and acceptance of the situation and lowers your resistance (step 8.). It also opens up a space for our intuitive knowledge and intuition to come out and shows us new ways of processing our emotions and inner states that don’t involve the analytic mind.
8. Encounter Your Resistance
When you get out of action mode and you start looking inwards, at first, it will surely be uncomfortable. Because when you’re not doing well, it means that there are negative energies passing through your body and your awareness, negative thoughts and emotions. And we just do not want to feel that. In fact, our primal impulse is to move “away” or “out of” it.
It’s possible that you cannot feel or perceive what your emotions are. But what you encounter right away is your own resistance – towards calming down, sitting still, and being with what ever is your experience.
Maybe you get a sense of disconnection, or you feel nervous or restless, or angry and annoyed… chances are that those first perceptions express your resistance, and are like layers that are covering up what is REALLY going on. Don’t be impatient. You don’t have to know, perceive or understand anything that is not there – you get to just be with who you really are in this moment. So one idea is to say hello to your resistance, to your not-perceiving, not-understanding, not- knowing.You just breathe and perceive the resistance in what ever form it may come up, and you explore it. You let go of the thoughts or judgments about it. You focus on your breathing, and every time you exhale, you let go a little more of whatever you just perceived.
You can go directly by asking: What is the one thing that I don’t want to feel? What am I resisting most?
As you find and let go of your resistance, you will get to the heart of things, and you will calm down. In fact, it’s important to know that the problem is not a really low energy or a really negative feeling – but the resistance we have towards it. When we resist, it get’s stuck in our system and stronger in our experience. So letting go of the resistance my fist make it be more obvious, but then, it actually is a great way to dissolve negativity within ourselves.
9. Ask Yourself for Guidance
I don’t know how many times I tell my clients: You have it all within you! Trust your intuition, trust your inner guidance! You know best what you need, what is your next step, or what relevance something has for you.
If everything is energy (and it is!), then everything is connected, then you can access whatever information is relevant for you. All you need to do is believe that it’s there, covered in your subconscious self, and that your subconscious is ready to tell you what you need to know and understand. And when you get an inner image or thoughts that come up from that calm, mindless place, you need to give it importance for you, and believe that it’s relevant and true.
I believe in this so much, that I try to make this my main form of decision taking. I experience every day that I know perfectly well what is the right thing for me to do, focus on, decide – even when I don’t know why. I trust this inner instinct – and I know that the same is valid for you and everybody: Your inner guidance is available and beautiful. It leads you into a joyful and self-approving way of being.
All you need to do is, when you sit down in “meditation” and focus on your breathing, as you notice your body relax, you ask a question. You can ask things like
- What is it that I need to understand?
- How can I step out of this fight?
- What do I need to return to a better and stronger inner place?
- What do I need to learn that will stop this situation from repeating?
- How am I mirroring the very aspect of my life that is difficult for me?
- What is important for me to see, be aware of or process?
- What is the most important thing that needs attention right now?
Think of this question as the frequency of a radio channel. You set the radio to this frequency, and then you only receive. You wait and are open to recognize the signal that may appear on your radio channel.
It is not about thinking, and analyzing. All the opposite. It’s about clearing your mind, and connecting through your body, through your awareness, with your subconscious self. I always do this in sessions, too: I just sit and wait until something comes up. And you learn to differentiate between the things that “come up” and those that your mind can produce without a connection to your deeper self. But you just have to do it, to experiment – that’s how you learn to access and trust it.
10. So What?
“So, what?!” It’s one of the easiest and most powerful techniques that I teach people. It is especially useful when we are blocked by fear or experience a very high level of resistance.
The idea is to connect with the absolute worst thing that could happen. Your worst case. And then open yourself up to experiencing how this would be. And as you explore the aspects that make you feel as bad as you can possibly imagine, every time, you say to yourself “so, what?!”. It is a way of accepting that things are out of your control, and that if life brings this really bad experience, you would accept it. It could go like this:
- So what if my partner leaves me?
- So what if I end up alone?
- So what if I get depressed and loose my job?
- So what if I cannot pay for my apartment?
- So what if I loose all motivation, friends and meaning?
- So what if I die?
Every time you say “so, what?!”, you let go of a little resistance.
When we accept the worst thing that could possibly happen, it looses all the power over us. Fear disappears, fighting stops, and the illusion that was so real for us dissolves within ourselves. The funny thing is, when we process the situation as if we already experienced the worst, then we are free, and it doesn’t need to happen. Or if it did happen, we would be ok.
“So, what?!” let’s us know that we are ok. That we will always be ok, no matter what. And we don’t just know it, we feel it. Isn’t that beautiful?
“So, what?!” is a specific technique that helps us surrender. But the concept of surrender is bigger, and there are different approaches. For me, surrender means letting go of the illusion that we are in control. Surrender means accepting that life has its own plan, and that we need to surf the wave.
I’ve adopted the attitude that if I have to fight too hard, if life doesn’t support me, I am just hitting my head against a wall – and I can choose not to. Life can be easy. Life can be light and beautiful and in a flow. But we need to learn to let go and surrender to what is, and to find the beauty and abundance in where we are now and how things are.
Surrender also means letting go of how we get to where we want to go. It means trusting that your visions and ideas and dreams are there for a reason, that you are guided, and that you are meant to reach these goals. Life knows better what experiences you need to get there, and how you can. And even the negative experiences are necessary, because they teach you how to become an energetic match to what you so desire. Negative experiences bring out the parts of us that don’t believe in us, or are full of doubt, small, limited, or not enough. We need to transform them and become our full-potential self, a little more every day. Surrender is a big part of this process. Because as we let go of forcing things about, we can be open to receiving what life has to give us – and as we enjoy it and value it, it multiplies and energizes us!
After all, let’s say you don’t reach your dream. In a few generations, everything that is so important today will have faded away. In three generations, you’ll be lucky if your name is even remembered. So, you didn’t reach your dream. So, what?
12. What’s the Illusion?
This 12th action is easier to do when you are looking at someone else’s issue. But you can learn to do it yourself. It is a line of observation and questioning that allows you to step out of what is happening, and to look at it, analytically, from the outside.
Let’s say you experience a deep sadness, and it’s related with a friend moving away or someone dying. You experience a loss. There are certain assumptions, certain beliefs that have to be true (for you) in order for you to experience this sensation. I would call them presumptions. For example, you might believe that the friend is gone, that you cannot connect, that you are separate from them, that life and death are two separate states that are not connected in any way, that you cannot relate to this person anymore, that you are lonely. There is always a set of perspectives, attitudes and perceptions that facilitate your feeling a certain way. (It doesn’t matter if these beliefs are “true” in when it comes to facts. What matters is that thinking such things, or feeling them, is how you hold on to a lot of negative emotions and create a doorway for new negativity to come into your mind and body.)
“What’s the illusion?” is a question that invites you to do two things: To become aware of how your own thinking and perception is – and to realize that your thinking influences the way you feel. In fact, when you are done grieving and you feel at peace with the death or absence of this friend, your presumptions will have changed: You will not see yourself as separate, or you have found a way to remember the good things and relate to the absent person through your memories and through gratitude. You may have found your own way of connecting with “death”, and you may see yourself as nurtured and loved and not experience loneliness. What is new is that you can change the presumptions directly, thereby speeding up your process of grieving, and suffering.
So in a certain way, what you believe upholds your suffering, and you can look at what you have to think or believe to be true that enflames your sadness. Once you recognize your presumption, you can – emotionally or mentally – find ways of removing the opposites (step #13), the judgments, and the separations in your mind.
I work with a technique that is very simple. It focuses on releasing negative belief-systems. I will tell you how to do this quickly, without much explanation (that will be a new blog all together).
The technique releases all the negative emotions and energy that lie underneath a belief. It connects you with something bigger than yourself and helps you let go of this illusion that you’ve bought into. I can have very physical, emotional or mental effects. As you repeat the phrase, observe how your experience / energy changes.
- Identify the negative belief you want to release (e.g. I don’t deserve. Life is hard. I never make it….)
- Use the following phrases, repeating them out loud or in your mind, to cancel the belief: “I cancel the belief “…” I have the power to do so. I am an infinite being and only subject to the absolute truth.”
- Notice how you notice the shift and how you know that you’ve let go completely.
As I said, I will make a new blog only about this technique, because IT’S AMAZING!!!!
13. Dissolving Separation
When we suffer, there is always some kind of separation. There is a black and white, a dualism between two seemingly incompatible things. It’s you or the other person, inside your and outside, success or relaxation, money or moral goodness, life or death. You name it.
When you discover which dualism creates suffering in that moment, there is a beautiful and easy exercise that can help you transform, integrate, and open up to win-win and connected perspectives that bring ease, release and solutions.
You use your body, and let each of your hands represent one of the opposites – and then the task is to watch them come together, to feel when they are, and to stay with everything you experience and it brings up when you encounter resistance or distance, until the hands do come together. You use the physical process of your body, allow it to tune in to the energies and mental separation, and without even knowing or understanding what it is that creates this separation, you can let it transform. I promise, it’s magical.
Here is a video I made where I explain the process in more detail, the relevant part starts at 7’50.
So, this blog post became really long, and I realize that each of the action steps could be its own blog. But I wanted you to have the overview, in case you need to be reminded when you’re going through tough times.
As I see our growth and life progress as a community, I realize that action occurs every time more on the inside first. We change our energy, the way we feel and think, and then it gets much easier to make outside changes. So as we grow, we take more time for ourselves and for our inner world – and we take less action. But when we do take action, it is powerful, driven by an inner drive and truth, and a deep and fulfilling motivation. We all have to learn how to access that flow and how to transform our inner world in order to experience a more and more positive reality, where creating is easy and joy and abundance are your daily companions.
Remember that when you go through these really hard times, it’s because you are making really big steps of growth. In the moments of hardest suffering, there is the potential for the biggest expansion and happiness!
If you are getting into these processes and ways of being, you may want to join a more private space for support and sharing – my community’s private facebook group!