Action: the Precursor to Feeling.
A couple weeks back I was in a slump.
Without going into too much detail, I don't think there was any particular reason behind it - it was just a natural drop-off from my positive state of being. We all go through these down-periods, and this was no different.
However, what usually only lasts a day or two, turned into a prolonged 10-14 day slump. Each day I would wake up feeling increasingly burdened & overwhelmed.
When you feel this way for a consistent period of time, it's only natural that your behaviour adapts in response - at least mine did.
The negative state of being I was experiencing led to the adoption of a set of behaviours I knew weren't conducive to well-being.
My nutrition was off (nothing crazy, but I was consuming more sugar than I would normally). I was moving less - daily walks had ceased & strength training was at a minimal. I'd stopped engaging in self-growth/learning behaviours - reading, studying, podcasts, all receiving no love.
These negative behaviours led to increased feelings of stress & exacerbated the negative state I'd already grown familiar with.
At this point, I'd given full permission to my feelings to dictate my action. I felt sorry for myself, yet wasn't prepared to do what I knew I should to change.
Around the 10-14 day mark I reached breaking point. Fed up, I came to the realisation that I can't rely on a positive state of being to be there to drive my action; sometimes action needs to be the precursor to feeling, not the other way around.
So, I switched things up.
I began starting the day with movement - a walk, some stretching - occasionally a jog.
I began taking conscious control of how I was fueling my body - sugar consumption decreased.
I prioritised my mental/emotional well-being - meditation (not as consistently as I'd like!), deep breathing, social media restriction. Just allowing myself to switch-off.
I continued to value my sleep.
Unsurprisingly, soon after I made these changes I started to feel better. I felt more driven to get things done and experienced more positive emotional states, I realised that once you start taking the actions conducive to good health, the feelings of positivity often come as a by-product.
It's easy to get into a slump whereby our action is contingent on how we feel; even one negative thought can be enough for us to put off doing that bit of exercise we had planned on doing.
But the truth is, those negative thoughts & feelings are a natural part of life - they come and go. Sometimes we just have to switch up the cycle & take control.
That's not to say that there aren't times when we need to allow ourselves to fully feel the weight of a certain situation. But, for those more minor - yet impactful - stressors, sometimes the best thing to do is to just keep it moving.
An idea I find powerful is using action as a gateway to positive states of being.
By this I mean just do one thing - it could be as simple as going on a walk. Carrying out that one action can often provide us with the positive feedback needed for a cascading effect to ensue; you walk, feel good as a result, the positive feeling drives you to perform more positive actions. It's a cycle.
There's a few non-negotiables in this world. Here's one. You can only control your actions, not your feelings.
If you can understand that notion, the only thing left is to apply it. Begin taking control of your actions, and use them to drive yourself into a more positive state of being.
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Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.