There are oftentimes negatives in your face.

What is their wisdom?

“Ships sail out, and ships sail west,

By the very same breezes that blow:

It’s the set of the sails,

And not the gales,

That determine where they go.”

The wind in your face, that is for sure a negative, can cause you to despair of going further, or the negative can be the gift that it can be: the decision to reassess and use your for a change in direction.

Then what blew in your face becomes the energy that fills your sails.

Negativity is a warning and an indicator that leads us in another direction. We are not intended to stay in negativity, but it is a normal part of life as an indicator.

We are all going to have negative times and slumps, when we are obviously not operating with all of our cylinders of energy and positivity firing. They are called our BRAC cycle.

Our BRAC cycle happens about every 12 hours, and at one end we are at our highest and best and at the other end we are at our lowest.

BRAC is an acronym for our daily biological clock of our highest high and our lowest low within a 24 hour period. But regardless, this is not an excuse to feel worse, think worse, and expect something worse at the lowest point of your day.

Why does it happen? It is a natural flow of energy.

Why is that we can have a down day, or a down “several days?” When you all get finished asking the wrong question, which is “why”, and come up with a thousand different answers, it doesn’t matter. It just happens.

The question is how do we use it? Use the time gently and be as encouraging to yourself as you would be with your best friend.

Treat yourself as nicely and as lovingly as a friend who was having a slump. Would you beat up on them and ask them a thousand questions until you got to the very “bottom” of their souls? Of course not.

Tell yourself about how good you are when all your cylinders are firing. Tell yourself what it feels like when you’re not in a slump, tell yourself that you know you will bounce back, not only back but that you are very resilient, and that you will be feeling even better and that you will be higher and higher in your UpSpiral.

Use your NeuroPositive skills and tools and manage this BRAC cycle more effectively.

Slumps just are, and if there is a reason for them, the reason will “show up” when you feel better and it will come to you. It will just come to you if you leave it alone. In one way or another it will come to you.

The more you nag at it and dissect it and talk about, the more you create it. The best answers to your problems come when you aren’t thinking about them, or the answers surprise you when they come through someone else or a movie or a book, or just a knowing.

Stop beating your slump and yourself to death, and practice the principles that we teach in our classes and our coaching.

You become the emotions you choose to live in. Lean, just gently, peacefully lean toward the positive, if you can only do it a little.

Every negative is a gift or solution in disguise.

© Dr. William K. Larkin









About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dr. gloria wright

    I think people who are “up” all the time are a bit artificial. I think there is a natural ebb and flow to life. Contrast can bring clarity. What we don’t like can help us define what we do like. Our weaknesses help us define our strengths, etc.
    I’m working on a program, “Dream Makers/Dream Breakers.” I don’t spend much time on the dream breakers – just that they aided you in finding your resilience and righteous indignation and determination. Dream Makers help support us in identifying us in honing in on our authentic selves. But the DB can be the catalyst for us to prove ourselves.
    And so can the down times. The down times can be a place to refuel, to review, to
    redetermine, and just be not “up.” Negativity is like a yellow light to me. It’s warning me that my “ain’t it awful” and “poor me” are trying to get some air time. My daughter says to reboot. I reboot with a few minutes of gratitude and loving kindness meditation. I focus on living life with ease and sometimes for me that means not pushing myself to “do” all the time. Sometimes I just need to chill. I remember in graduate school writing in my calendar, “sit on porch.” I literally had to schedule down time….
    Sometimes I can’t discern being tired from being lazy. Does it really matter? Overall I am
    not a lazy person. And asking why can kick off my obsessive streak. For me it’s
    better if I just go with the flow. I’m going for percentages. I want to be happy most of the time. I want to in an Upspiral most of the time. I want to authentic most of the time (I
    still have some social settings where a social mask is best). I want to be true to me all of the time – and sometimes that means being down – temporarily.

  • Dwayne Paro

    We will always face adversity, this I don’t see as a bad thing. Adversity is what drives us to excel and overcome those things that seem impossible. We grow the most and learn the most about ourselves through adversity. You can certainly use it to your advantage. There is a great book The Obstacle is the Way By Ryan Holiday that is a great resource for understanding how you can use obstacles or negative situations to your advantage. The point about treating yourself well when you are not at your best is sage advice to follow. We tend to make our own situations worse by beating ourselves up over things that have not gone well. Loving yourself more during these times is extremely important and what we should be doing for others in similar situations. We always want an answer and for some those answers need to be immediate. Being able to just focus on treating yourself well will bring up your positivisty and take you in the right direction. This is a key time to rely and focus on your strengths as a guide to overcoming the slump and negativity you are experiencing.

  • Echo Macdonald

    One of my favorite things to do is to create art with watercolor paints. There’s an exciting drama that takes place on the paper as liquid colors swim around on the surface of the paper until the swirling stops and the colors settle into the fibers to create their suggestion. Eventually the “suggestions” form a certain direction and expression toward an idea. The accumulated “suggestions” trigger the semblance of shape and form, inticing the viewer to ponder at the message. As a result, there’s been a stimulation of color, form and idea leading the viewer to a different place, contemplating the possibilities of other suggestions before them. The drama unfolds in the painting as the primary and secondary foci develop. What marks them as focal points is the contrasting values of light opposing darkness. Where is the darkest dark next to the lightest light? Our eye is naturally drawn to that. The artist lives out the drama of the expression of the idea by creating visual contrast at the point of interest. It is where we want to spend the most time. In life, if there were not periods of darkness, storm or downspiral we would not know where we have come from on our journey up to the Upspiral. We know the darkness and we choose to live in the light. Sometimes we just need a retuning.

  • Kathy Lee

    If nature works in cycles, such as the BRAC cycle, it appears cycles are normal and natural. Taking cues from the natural order of things, ups and downs are part of the natural pattern of life. At the individual level this impacts emotions and thoughts, positive and negative. At the social level, societies have ups and downs, too. For example, in periods of increasing social injustice, inequality or tyranny, such conditions can serve as a wake-up call and we see people start taking actions to find paths to social justice, more equality and democracy.

    We learn by opposites: we see darkness and we turn on a light; we see lying and we appreciate the existence of truthfulness; we see disease and we desire wellness and healing; we experience a negative thought or emotion and we want to experience positive thoughts and feelings. But a reminder of the opposite of a negative is not sufficient to moving into the positive. This requires two things: 1) awareness of strategies and tools, the “how-to’s” to get to positive feelings/thoughts and 2) a decision to use these tools to feel better.The tools in Growing the Positive Mind are simple to use and it would be great to find a way to market these to the broadest possible audience possible. They are easy to use, easy to understand, and make a huge difference in cultivating personal mental and emotional health. How can they be more accessible to the masses?

  • Yvette Gauff

    We are a people who like control, and our countenance and how we respond to things is no exception. Actually, many people take pride in their ability to always be able to put on a happy face and be positive. I just had a conversation with someone who said she refuses to be down, ever. I thought it great that she has been able to manage herself and emotions in such a manner that she is always on the sunny side of the street, if you will. However, more realistic is that, as the ebb and flow of life, the sun setting and moon rising, the tide comes in and goes out again, one day turns to another, things can shift and change in ways that we do not control. The lyrics of a song come to mind:

    “Everything must change, nothing stays the same, everyone must change, nothing stays the same. The young become the old, mysteries do unfold. ‘Cause that’s the way of time, nothing and no one goes unchanged…”

    “We are all going to have negative times and slumps, when we are obviously not operating with all of our cylinders of energy and positivity firing. They are called our BRAC cycle.” Here, I am reminded of the mechanisms of a car, particularly my ’79 Camaro. In my experience, It is possible for a vehicle to move if all of its cylinders are not firing properly, but it will not operate at its highest capacity, and may need to be sidelined momentarily to change spark plugs or make other adjustments for its optimum operation.

    Likewise, why would we think our mood, emotions and thoughts may not shift at times from the positive? And yes, we will often want to know the “why” of said state. It is, however, what we do in these times, and how we shift away from the ‘slump’ that matters most. As I have heard it said, you don’t want to pitch a tent and get cozy in this. We can however acknowledge that these times will come, and lovingly move ourselves out of them. I use the word lovingly here, as it can be challenging to be kind to oneself when not feeling at one’s best, especially if you cannot explain why. However, kindness and compassion in these times can definitely provide a boost that can assist a person in moving from negative to positive.

    I have learned that the negative is signal that something may be wrong, but I must recognize that ‘‘this too shall pass”. It is not forever. I can take stock of what is happening without alarm, expecting it to get better, especially since I can manage how I respond. I can focus on an ANI tool, garner a strength, focus on a goal – something positive that can help ‘shift’ me. I can listen to music; it might even be taking a nap! Whatever it is that will cause ‘the lean’ toward the Upspiral. Having this knowledge is empowering and having the wisdom to use it, so beneficial to one’s overall well-being. We have been armed with an arsenal that will make such a difference in people’s lives when used!

  • Sheila

    I have always been a cyclical person.

    I am a Recruiter and I can work intensely hard for weeks at a time. Then it’s time for a breather. I have always given myself permission to recover and take it easy for a week, or, two after a long stretch. I have sometimes wished that I could be more consistent, less intense, with less need for down time at the end of a project. I guess, however, at this stage, I just am who I am, this is how I work and it has been successful for me.

    Recently I have noticed I have needed a bit longer to recuperate and I have had some guilt around that, but, on reading this post, I realize it’s just a different version of the Brac cycle and if I need more time, I need more time. I am always ok in the end and when things need to get busy again they do.

    The extra time has provided me with the opportunity to dig deeper about what I want so it has been a boon in that way.

    I have also always been a bit slow to get started in the morning, really coming into things a bit later in the day…….again, I don’t beat myself up anymore if I start my day at 10……I use my mornings for other things and set the tone for the rest of the day…….this post really resonated with me and I shall continue to look at my “down” periods as true opportunities for other things to come in…..

  • Yolanda Smith

    Too much of my life was spent allowing the negatives to take me into a DownSpiral. Unfortunately I would remain there much longer than I should have because I didn’t know how to get out. This can be said of so many people, therefore, unnecessary suffering is happening because of a lack of knowledge.

    The BRAC Cycle is revelation knowledge! It certainly makes sense and answers some questions. Between the lowest low within the 24-hour period, the demands of a stressful career and menopause, it’s no wonder that I am exhausted! However, I am well aware that I must press past all of that negative and catapult myself towards an UoSpiral in order to overcome.

    It has taken maturity through the years, to understand that we can take the negatives and use them to catapult us in the other direction. The blog states,  these  Low Places are going to come  and the best  we can do  is  choose  how to deal with them in a way  that will benefit us  and not subtract from our lives. As I increase in age, I find myself using this tactic more and more, because I don’t have the luxury of time as I used to. Honestly, it really is a challenging and exciting journey if I choose to look at it that way.

    If-I-Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda had this information even ten years ago, I can only imagine where my life would be today. However, I will take all of this amazing, life-changing information and apply it to my life now. As pkanned, i will spread the message to as many people as I can, that they too can have a better life in the UpSpiral.

  • Eddy Macdonald

    This ties in so well with our work in class on the Losada butterfly and positivity ratios. As someone who enjoys sailing, I really appreciate this analogy – it works very well. The wind in your face, regardless if where youa re headed, is an indication that you need to change course (not necessarily objective, just the way you are currently getting there. You can turn to the wind and use it to tack, and either tack back and forth until you reach your destination or until the wind changes, which it often does. 🙂

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