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Are you on an Up or Down Spiral? by David Wood, Life Coaching Resource

jana beutler life coach

Coach Jana L Beutler, M.Ed.

If life is anything short of amazing right now, find some Positive Actions to give an Up Spiral a chance of finding you!  The stock market is said to jump up and down at random. I do not believe this is true of life. Instead, we instead follow spirals - either 'Up Spirals' or 'Down Spirals.'

The Down Spiral

There are events, then actions, then events, then actions, and on and on.  Negative events can cause negative feelings, followed by NEGATIVE ACTIONS, leading to negative events followed by negative feelings, then NEGATIVE ACTIONS, leading to ... the 'Down Spiral'. 

An example: Greg was neglecting his body. He wasn't eating healthy food, exercising, or getting quite enough sleep. Not feeling the best about himself, he also didn't feel too motivated to keep his apartment clean. Now being a little more sensitive to people's comments, he found himself snapping at people more than usual, drinking/smoking more, and getting less sleep and exercise. 

He started getting into work later, because it was harder to get up, and he felt in a way that he now had reasons or justification for getting into work late. Greg then got the flu, had a fight with two friends, and got in trouble at work for being late. Of course, Greg then felt worse then ever ... "no body cares", "it's not fair", "life is so hard". 

He stopped calling his friends and stayed home feeling sorry for himself. His car broke down because he'd ignored that knock in the engine for two weeks, and from out of nowhere his girlfriend Susie broke up with him! 

The Point

Negative events can cause negative feelings, followed by NEGATIVE ACTIONS, leading to negative events. Enter the 'Down Spiral'. 

But enough of that spiral!  If there's a 'Down Spiral', surely there must be an 'Up Spiral'!  So can you remember a time in your life when things were almost too good? When everything seemed to work out and life just kept getting better? 

The Up Spiral

Mary made a personal decision one day to be early for every appointment. She found herself actually sitting for five minutes with time to think, chat to the receptionist or simply breathe! For some reason, Mary felt less stressed with life, and took time to speak with more people. On one occasion, this led to her being offered a better job, closer to home, and with more pay. 

Feeling good about life, Mary started actually going to that gym she had paid for six months ago, put down a deposit on that acting course she'd been thinking about for years, and strangely found herself naturally listening to others more than talking. 

The next week, positively beaming from the way life was going, she was asked out on four dates by four different men. In this case, positive actions led to positive events, which led to feeling good and more positive actions, which led to the 'Up Spiral'. 


1. Say hello to EVERYBODY. First. 

2. Thank people three times more than you normally would. (For EVERYTHING they do that you like - look hard) 

3. Give yourself at least one treat every week (e.g. massage, 30 minutes at the lake or beach). 

4. Get the sleep and rest you need. 

5. Listen. Find out how your friends are REALLY doing. 

6. Save 10-20% of your income, and have one year's living expenses available as cash. 

7. Handle the background items that are bugging you (filing, untidiness, lawn etc.) 

8. Look ahead, and handle something likely to give you problems down the track (car, apartment, job, relationship, lack of insurance) 

9. Keep it simple. Drop anything that will have you rushed or overwhelmed. 

10. Keep the commitments you do make (be on time, pay bills on time etc.)

Copyright 1999-2001 LifeSkills Coaching. All rights reserved.

Other Articles and Resources:
The Stages of Change
Common Irrational Beliefs
Changing Your Mind
Owning Your Life
Change your Attitude
Self Defeating Thoughts
Allegory of Change
The Up and Down Spiral
Learn to Say No!
Put the Past Behind You