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The SANE Blog

Battling life's ups and downs

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Why is the cliché 'life has its ups and downs' so difficult to apply when we find ourselves in a down moment?

If you find it a struggle to reverse a down day, remember we have the cliché because 'ups' exist as well.

A negative reaction to a down mood is normal. We're human, it's what we do. But, gaining control of our thoughts before we spiral further downward is key to recovery. When and how we take control determines how much energy and 'will' is required to pull ourselves back up.

Ups and downs

I often experience ups and downs. It's who I am and how my emotions play out. And when it comes to downs, I can spend a little too long moping by myself, choosing to stay in the moment. I over-think, over-analyse, second guess and berate myself. This diminishes what I'm capable of and reduces my ability to pull myself up.

I've also learned that the life I see others leading is theirs and not mine. To compare myself and my capabilities to others is a trap. They all have their ups and downs, I just don't see them.

My tendency to be negative is a personality trait I dislike, but it's part of me. So I've accepted it and learned and created ways to turn it around. This improvement feels a little faster each time.

Back in my retail management days I would always say 'A complaint is an opportunity to improve service and increase sales at the same time'. Your personal down moments have that potential too. You can improve your situation and create something better. You can use your down moments to find your positives.

Make ups

When it comes to ups and downs, there's no instruction manual for climbing out of a down mood. But I've found five ways to accelerate the process. Ways to reverse these downs and create new and improved ups.


Stop the negative thought process. Immediately change the internal conversation and focus on what there is to learn. Educate yourself, look around you. Where are the lessons and what positives are within them?


A down suggests something hasn't gone according to plan. Grab your plan and re-assess. What are the priorities here? What has this change of events opened up? What must be reconsidered?


We've learnt something and moved our priorities. Time to adapt our plan to suit the new environment and what's important to us. The greater our flexibility, the better we'll bounce back.


Our end game hasn't changed. This current down could be considered a hurdle on the way to achieving it. Be kind with your thoughts and try not to let a negative mindset prevent you from focussing on the bigger picture.


Do it now. Show your mood what a reenergised mindset is capable of. The moment you achieve one thing on your list is the moment you begin climbing back up. Allow that snowball of positivity to roll and boost your mindset.

Embrace the downs

And finally, a big one for me is to make sure I'm not heaping pressure on myself. Are my expectations reasonable? Am I expecting too much from myself in too small a timeframe?

It doesn't matter if it's your business, your personal goals, or your hopes and dreams. When you find yourself in a down moment, I recommend one thing. Remind yourself it's an opportunity. And perhaps a big one.

The cliché is correct, ups and downs will always be part of our lives. It's not a contest and for the sake of our mindset it's better not to make it one. A little realism goes a long way.

When that down mood arrives it's OK to go with it. Try to be mindful and arrest the slide. Regain control of your thought process and take some time to learn more about where you are. Do this and your mood will start heading back up. It may be even faster than you think.

Simon is a SANE Peer Ambassador, IT professional and life coach. This article originally appeared on

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