Most of us have spent countless hours and serious brainpower designing our dream lives. From applying to your dream college and building your career to starting a family and traveling, planning for the life you want is easy — when you’re feeling good.
But all that goes out the window when you find yourself in a slump. Suddenly, figuring out how to make your dreams a reality seems impossible. Hell, finding the motivation to get out of bed can seem impossible!
To get out of a slump and get your dreams back on track, you have to jump over the mental hurdles that brought you down in the first place and reprogram your human operating system for success.
How Slumps Wreak Havoc on Your Human Operating System
Disappointment, defeat, and loss are a part of everyone’s life, but once in a while, something comes along that really throws you off.
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A painful breakup, losing your job, a sudden illness, the death of a beloved pet — all of these things can send your human operating system into a tailspin we know as a “slump.” You may find yourself feeling down all the time, lacking motivation, and feeling less confident in yourself.
Slumps are a product of misreading your own internal signals, particularly those that indicate that you need to do something differently. The longer a slump continues, more resources are stolen from your healthy brain functions — like creating the life of your dreams. Eventually, your internal drive shuts down, and this slump can permeate other aspects of your life.
Simply put: When you’re down, you’re biologically designed to stay down unless you manually override the system and point yourself toward success. Thankfully, human beings come from a long line of survivors, and overcoming your slump to build a stronger, more robust life is in your DNA. That’s how life builds stronger, more robust winners!
How to Defeat Your Slump
Just because you experienced a life event that was out of your control doesn’t mean that your state of mind is out of your control, too.
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You do have the power to turn things around and get back on track, but you have to make the conscious decision to do so. You must decide to get out of a slump.
1. Declare an end to your slump.
Although the word “slump” is a noun, it describes a process. It may not seem like it, but you’re actively choosing to stay in a slump, and it’s up to you to end it.
To do so, you need to acknowledge your slump, then stop accepting all the excuses that have been dragging you down.
2. Get distracted.
The longer you stay in a slump, the more damage it can do to your life. Once you’ve made the decision to put an end to your bad mojo, you have to find ways to redirect your attention when those negative feelings start to creep up again.
Related: 10 Ways To Shake Off A Bad Mood
Get endorphins pumping and put an end to your bad mood by going for a run, lifting weights, practicing some deep breathing, or enjoying some good sex.
3. Find your fascination.
Figuring out how to move past bad feelings is one thing, but regaining your zest for life is another. Most of the time, slumps begin because you had pinned your hopes and dreams on something outside of yourself — a relationship, a promotion, good health — which ultimately let you down.
Now, you’ve got to reprogram your human operating system by following your internal GPS. If something comes along and raises your motivation, follow that fascination.
It’s nature’s way of calling you back to life. When you’re focused on pursuing your dreams, you’ll be rewarded with the most robust feelings of satisfaction.
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4. Redefine your goals.
Reconfiguring your internal motivation means re-evaluating your dreams and desires. Go through the various categories of your life, and figure out what’s most important to achieving your goals.
Break these steps down into smaller short-term goals, and start working toward the ones that are easiest to achieve so you can begin making progress right away. Make your list visible so you’re constantly reminded of what you’re working toward.
5. Get your body on your side.
It’s not rocket science: If you lie around on the couch all day eating junk food, it’s hard to break out of a slump. These behaviors tell your body that you’ve thrown in the towel and it’s time to commence the withering-away process.
On the flip side, exercising, eating well, and drinking lots of water will give your body what it needs to get focused and healthy enough to stave off future slumps.
Sometimes, bad things just happen. It sucks, but your life is an adventure, and pursuing your dreams is worth the occasional discomfort. Overcoming setbacks and slumps will not only clear your human operating system of damaging viruses, but it will also strengthen your overall performance and help you avoid similar reactions in the future. That way, you can get out of a slump and bounce back more quickly, then get on with achieving everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Devon White is the founder and lead developer of the Human Operating System, a platform for self-optimization and the sharing of behavioral software on individual, corporate, and global scales. He loves to stay engaged on multiple levels and also maintains executive positions at both Huddled Masses and CultureFlow.
Photo by Raquel Pellicano