Ever find yourself…
- filled with negativity?
- caught in a downward spiral?
- making a tough situation worse?
- unsure if what you’re doing is the best use of your time?
Like many of us do so often, not long ago I began making a tough situation even worse. In the process, I nearly trapped myself in a downward spiral.
Escaping the spiral
Thankfully, many factors helped break me out of that negative cycle fairly quickly.
Additionally, asking myself one simple question made a significant difference.
(This question is quite useful since it has a wide range of applicability. It works even if you don’t have friends or family around. It works even if you’ve never practiced mindful meditation. More so, it works in a large variety of scenarios and circumstances.)
Asking myself this question brought my conscious attention to my own actions, attitude, and mindset. It opened my eyes to the impacts resulting from these things.
That conscious attention marked an important step.
It opened pathways for improving my situation. It expanded my vision and awareness. It allowed me to see new options I’d closed myself off to.
The question that broke my downward spiral
The powerful and simple question I asked myself was:
“How is this helping?”
On it’s own, it may sound silly due to the simplistic nature of the question.
However, a powerful thing happens when we ask that question.
By asking it honestly, we increase our awareness and reframe ourselves and our perspective.
- We look to see what our actions and their impacts are.
- We acknowledge the responsibility we have in our actions and interactions with life.
- We put ourselves in a position of power.
- We recognize we have some level of input into our current circumstances — even if it is just in how we respond to them.
- We automatically widen our view to begin considering others and our impacts on the world around us.
- We begin to work towards acting more skillfully.
From there it keeps growing.
The growing nature of this simple question
Asking this question acts as a catalyst for taking positive action.
That is partly why it is so powerful.
Taking my situation as an example, I began asking, ”How is this helping?
From there I reworded the question a little, asking:
- “How are my actions, attitude, and mindset helping?”
- “How are they helping me?”
- “How are they helping others?”
- “Are my actions, attitude, and mindset helping? Or, are they making things worse?”
Through these questions I became more aware of what my actions, attitude, and mindset were. Up to that point, I acted without much awareness.
At the same time, I began to see the impacts of my actions, attitude, and mindset. I started to see what they did to me, my environment, and those around me.
As a result, I recognized the need to be more conscious of my actions, attitude, and mindset.
This also led me to consider how I might do things more helpful in nature.
So, I asked questions like:
- “What can I do that will help?”
- “What can I do to make the best of what is?”
In other words, my focus shifted away from looking at everything that was wrong. Now, I was looking for what was right, what to be thankful for, and what I could do to make things better.
That led me to act in a mindful and positive way. It led me to take actions that improved my circumstances, and got me on a road to a quicker recovery physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It also improved my interactions with others. That made the struggle less burdensome for them. It also made it easier for them to help me, thus improving the overall situation.
All in all, just by asking, “How is this helping?” I redirected myself towards a much different direction.
This question broke me out of a negative, downward spiral. It pointed me onto a positive path, one I had influence over. With that, and it’s growing nature, my overall circumstances changed quite quickly as well.
Like many of us tend to do, not long ago, I began to make a tough situation worse. In doing so, I nearly got caught in a dangerous, downward spiral.
While many factors helped break me out of that negative cycle, asking one simple question made a significant difference.
The question, “How is this helping?” is a powerful one. Asked honestly, it gives us greater awareness, shifts our mindset, and reorients us to take more skillful actions. Additionally, it grows upon itself, acting as a catalyst for positive change.
As such, it is a great tool to use when looking to break out of a downward spiral.
Key mindset shift:
- Actions and mindsets which aren’t beneficial can be discarded or changed.
Realizations to consider:
- Considering the impact of your actions provides a point to begin changing them.
- You have the power to change your mindset, actions, attitude, and impact when you are conscious of them.
Actions to take:
- Particularly when you find yourself in a negative state, ask yourself, “How is this helping?”
- Try phrasing the question in other ways. Such as any of these: “How are my actions, mindset, and attitude benefitting me or others?”, “Is this beneficial, or harmful?”
- If your actions provide little to no benefit, give yourself permission to discard them.
My question for you:
What are some ways you break out of a downward spiral?
Leave a comment below, or tweet me @bigskyrise
Be well and thank you for sharing your journey with me today,
Fellow Journeyer @ BigSkyRise
Find this one simple question helpful? If so, please share it with the world around you.