Ever Upward

Excelsior and what it means to me

Anthony De Francisco
2 min readJul 23, 2021


Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

I watched the movie “Silver Linings Playbook” the other night and really resonated with Bradley Cooper’s character, Patrick. I certainly have had my share of interesting situations along my journey to healing, health, and wellness. I have been through countless therapists, read the books, and started my life over numerous times.

Patrick had a saying every time that he got stressed out. He would say the word “Excelsior” out loud. Excelsior as an adjective means “ever upward.” Saying this word took him out of fight or flight mode, which could send him spiraling out of control. Instead, the motto reminded him that he was in control of his thoughts, and there is a silver lining behind everything.

I am all about tools that we can carry with us throughout life to help us remain in a calm and peaceful state of mind. Plus, I can always use a reminder that there is something to learn in every situation. So I have decided to find my catchphrase when I feel the stress bubbling up. Since “Serenity Now” is already taken by George Constanta, I must continue to brainstorm. I want my phrase to be personal and powerful, to snap me out of my spiral when it happens.

I have decided to say the phrase “Alchemy and me” as my transformational phrase. I thought this word would be a good fit because alchemy means transformation, which I am working on as a human being.

I have already practiced this today while writing this, and it worked very well. It broke up that negative feedback loop in my brain like a short-circuiting computer and helped me get back to more peaceful thoughts and back to center.

I highly recommend anyone try this as a way to reset your brain:

1. Think of a short phrase or one word that means something to you.

2. When you find your word or phrase, say it aloud or to yourself whenever you feel those negative thoughts swirling through your mind.

3. Transform those negative thoughts into positive thoughts and live Excelsior!