We all have days when we are in very high spirits and days when we feel at rock bottom. Rarely because of a specific cause, and mostly for no tangible reason. In this article I describe the emotions we go through in each phase, why swings happen, how to bring it under our control and make the best of these blessed high phases.
How we’re feeling
“My motivation, creative energy and positivism soar up and I am the most productive, energetic, optimistic and creative person around. I am superman and I can work and achieve almost anything. I work passionately, concentrate on the tiniest details, plan and execute everything amazingly” – That’s me for 2-3 days every couple of weeks. And during the rest of the fortnight, I am at the other end of the spectrum. All of my energy drains away from my system, I’m left without a pinch of optimism or mental stamina. My body and mind refuse to do any work at all! And I lose all hope. In this low phase, I forget all the work I did in those 2-3 days. I forget that I am even capable of being productive or even being happy. This goes on for few days..
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the next spike in energy comes. But I am clueless as to what to do or where to start, as the low energy phase in between would have wiped me clean of all memory of the work I had done in the previous high energy phase. I waste most of my time and energy figuring out (once again) what I want to do with my energy. In other words, I’m back on square one. I have not progressed at all! And I have constructed nothing, because creation of any complete product requires continuous focus.
It is a cycle and I didn’t know it!
For a long time I was completely unaware of the simple fact that this has a pattern to it. I let myself be blindly carried by it’s flow. The low-phases affected my belief of my capabilities. I also let my self esteem be shattered by these prolonged lows. It was a while before I noticed that my system was following a pattern and that it is now up to me to make the most of this awareness!
The first step: Observe!
In one of those blessed highs I figured that I needed a solid way to get over this. As a start, I decided to record every tiny idea I get and every constructive step I take in my highs. A record that’ll direct me very clearly to the next step forward in my next high.
What kind of guidance one needs in these phases varies from person to person and the kind of work one does. So this self help process needs to be customized according to one’s personal needs. But some basic observation, I’m sure, is common to all.
If you find yourself in a similar fix, I think a good start would be to observe your personal patterns. You will have to observe these fundamental things-
Frequency– Observe how frequently you go into your productive moods. For me, it used to be once a fortnight. I have met friends for whom it is more frequent and also friends who suffer longer periods of inactivity between their highs- a month or even more.
Triggers– Some people might get into their highs by external triggers. The trigger might be a piece of music, talking to a particular person or even a scene from a movie or a book. Find out your trigger (or triggers, if you are lucky) and see what you can do to expose yourself more to your triggers.
Inertia breaking– Find out what kind of inertia breaking process you are already unconsciously using and save time by employing it consciously!
Once I get into the phase, my optimism and energy are high. Yet I find it difficult to begin thinking and creating. For example, every time I want to write an article, I simply refuse to believe that it is possible for me. To get writing, I slowly make myself open my blog’s ‘new post’ page and persuade my self to write one line about anything that comes to my mind, and then another line and another. After that it flows naturally and I find myself writing an essay or a poem!
Duration– Find out how long you stay in your productive phase on an average. This will help you plan any specific work that you need to get done, even before your high phase starts.
Negative triggers– Also try to find out the external stimuli, if any, that make you get out of the ‘good phase’. For me, waking up late is an immediate negative trigger.
Once you’ve observed your basic patterns, you are all geared up and prepared to face your next productive-phase and make the most of your own creative life energy!
Good news!! your high can become your natural state!
The best part about this process is that you start getting into you productive phases more and more frequently! And it goes without saying that your focus also increases ten-fold! So with time, your high phase can become your natural state of being. Imagine that!!
Image source: http://tosharethoughts.blogspot.in/2012/11/i-get-wings-to-fly.html