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How to Get Out of a Funk When You’re Stressed Out

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How to Get Out of a Funk When You’re Stressed Out

Life seems like it’s getting more and more stressful. Natural disasters, pandemics, and political events can really bring us down, to say nothing of all those day-to-day stressors like long to-do lists and cloudy weather.

We might feel as if we are “supposed” to feel happy or as if feeling sad or anxious means something is wrong with us. The reality is, every single person on the face of the earth knows what it feels like to be in a funk. From actors and comedians to bestselling authors, CEOs, and meditating monks, we all know what it is like to feel sad, stressed out, overwhelmed, and emotionally stuck and have no idea how to get out of a funk.

Right now, more than any other time in history, we need to be there for each other. If you are in a funk, it can be helpful to remember that there are lots of people, even people you have not yet met, who deeply care about your well-being and want nothing more than to know that you are okay.

The 3 Zones of Emotional Life

Pema Chödrön, the meditation guru and best-selling author, teaches that we experience three emotional zones throughout life.

Zone #1 Comfort

The first one is the comfort zone. This is the zone we all want to be in, but that isn’t necessarily what is in our best interest. In this zone, we experience a sense of security and pleasure, but little emotional growth happens. It’s like being on vacation rather than in real life.

Zone #2 Growth

The second zone is one of emotional challenge. Because most of us haven’t trained in how to hold space for challenging emotions, we often want to resist or avoid this zone and head back to the comfort zone.

The more we resist our uncomfortable emotions, the greater the chance is that we will feel stuck in them, rather than the exhilaration that can come from learning and growing.

Zone #3 Trauma

The third zone is one of trauma. We enter the trauma zone when our well-being gets jeopardized in some way. Perhaps there is a traumatic event affecting us, or our stress levels have reached a level that feels overwhelming. Our mind may seem as if it is on a hamster wheel, and our thoughts may be making things worse.

We may also enter the trauma zone when we are triggered, perhaps without even realizing it, and re-experiencing emotions from a traumatic event that happened long ago. Whenever we are in this zone, it is extremely important to reach out and get support.

Regardless of which zone you are in right now, here are some ideas on how to get out of a funk and support ourselves.

17 Ways to Get Emotionally Unstuck

1. Reach Out

If your emotions are too big to handle on your own or you think you may be in the trauma zone, it is very important to reach out for help. Especially during these challenging times, we need to check in with each other, be available for a chat, and be willing to reach out.

Reaching out for help can take different forms. We might call a trusted friend or family member,  physician, therapist, coach, or help lines like suicide or mental wellness hotline.

Asking for help is a sign of true inner strength. As humans, we were made to collaborate, brainstorm, and invent in the community. When we talk to others about our problems, we usually see solutions and answers and gain insights we never could have discovered on our own.

2. Talk to Yourself (Lovingly)

Another helpful tip is to pay attention to that little voice in our heads, making meaning out of what we experience. What stories are you telling yourself about what is happening in your life? Are you putting a positive or negative spin on what you are experiencing? Is there another way to look at things?

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It can be very helpful to have someone who is willing to stay with us through difficult emotions without trying to change or fix us in any way. Whether or not we have someone like that in our lives, it is essential to learn how to be that type of person for ourselves.

Sometimes we feel like we are in a funk because we believe the negative stories about something that may or may not be true. Could there be a reason to hope right now instead of feeling discouraged? Could something good come out of what is happening, even if it is your own personal growth? What is the silver lining?

We can learn a lot by paying attention to our self-talk. What would the perfect coach, parent, or friend who loved you unconditionally and believed that you were inherently good, innately wise, and perfectly okay no matter what say to you right now?

How about something like:

“You’ve got this.”

“You can get through this.”

“You are so wonderful and resilient.”

“Just focus on the present and be here right now.”

The more we can connect with that loving voice that truly believes that we are perfectly loveable just the way we are, the more confidence we will have when facing tough times.

3. Change Your Speed

Our bodies and minds are so connected. Sometimes, when we are feeling anxious, we move quickly but don’t really accomplish much. If this is happening to you, try moving slower. Sit down. Rest. Go outside and lay on the ground. Take a few nice, long, slow breaths.

Remember to connect with your loving inner voice and say, “You are doing great. Whatever you are feeling is completely okay. You are going to get through this.”

Similarly, when we are depressed or in a funk, it can help to move more quickly. Take a brisk walk, even if it’s just around your house. Play an upbeat song you love and dance, even if it feels silly at first. Do a few jumping jacks. Twirl in a circle.

If you are feeling angry, find creative ways to get any negative energy out of your body in a way that is safe for you and others. Find a stick and beat an empty box or a pile of pillows. Go for a sprint in an open field. Punch a punching bag. Jump up and down. Scream. Talk about it. Do whatever you can to get grounded and start to feel safe again.

4. Go Outside

Research has shown that being in nature directly improves our emotions. Head outside and pay attention to the small details around you. Finding something good in the present to fully enjoy and appreciate can help so much. Sit in the sun and feel it on your face. Treat yourself to a blast of vitamin D. Breathe in the fresh air deeply.

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Notice what you are experiencing with all five senses. What do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Taste? How about your intuition? There are so many gifts in the outdoors waiting to be discovered. What do you notice in this moment? Can you find anything beautiful or that you appreciate while you are outdoors?

5. Eat Healthy Foods

Sometimes we fill up with empty calories, sugar, or caffeine that causes an emotional and energetic crash later, especially when you are feeling difficult emotions or feeling exhausted.

Try eating small, healthy snacks that are high in protein, like nuts, meat, nut butter, or something filled with antioxidants like organic fruits and vegetables frequently.

If you are craving sugar, reach for fruit. We often forget how delicious, sweet, and satisfying fruits can be. As you put good food into your body, try to bring your full attention to how it tastes and what it feels like to fully receive the gift of healthy food.

6. Drink Water

When we feel overly anxious or depressed, we might find we have forgotten to care for ourselves and give ourselves the basic things we need, like sleep, food, and water.

Being perpetually dehydrated can lead to other health problems, prevent us from feeling our best, and cause us to feel emotionally and physically stuck in a funk.

Challenge yourself to drink a certain amount of water every day. You might want to start slow, increasing eight ounces a day until you get to 64 to 80 ounces. Try to really enjoy the water as you are drinking and imagine it hydrating, cleansing, and refreshing all of your cells and your frame of mind.

7. Scan Your Body

Sometimes, our moods drop because of physical rather than emotional reasons. Set a timer for three minutes and scan your body, bringing your awareness to whatever you are experiencing with kindness and compassion.

Rather than trying to change anything, just gently send yourself love and acceptance as you slow down your breath and bring your attention to your body. Notice whatever you are feeling with gentleness and awareness, knowing it is all okay.

You might want to stretch, rub your neck, hands, or feet or hug yourself. Or, simply rest.

8. Help Someone Else

One gift that comes as a result of feeling difficult emotions is that we know what it feels like to need support, and so we have a greater ability to be present with others and offer real empathy and compassion.

How can you be of service to others? You might listen to a friend’s sharing or struggles from a place of deep understanding or maybe do a simple task that will really make a difference. You could also drop off food to someone living alone, buy flowers or run an errand for another person, volunteer at a local charity, or offer to help a friend with a carpool and childcare.

Furthermore, perhaps you could be extra friendly with the people you meet. It’s amazing how a friendly smile, eye contact, and a kind heart can shift our whole outlook and realize how much we really matter, even if it’s from a stranger. You can be that person for someone else.

9. Tell Someone “Thank You”

When we are depressed or in a funk, we are very focused on ourselves. When we find ourselves feeling grateful for something that another person has done for us, our brain shifts from a negative groove to a more positive one.

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We step out of our own experience a bit and see a bigger picture. This can set off a flow of endorphins and positive chemicals in our bodies that help us feel better.

Saying “thank you” can take the form of a letter of appreciation, quick email, text or voice message, or just a smile and a word of thanks to a complete stranger for something like bagging our groceries. (Sometimes, the thank you letter we most need to write is to ourselves!)

10. Make a Gratitude List

Another form gratitude can take is making a daily list of things for which we are grateful. Share what you are thankful for with a friend or post photos on social media with the hashtag #grateful.

If you find this difficult to do, think of the love of a pet or a favorite flower or the feeling of the sunset or the ground under your feet. Better yet, spend some time with that pet or appreciate that flower or sunset in real time if possible. Or, take a moment and remember what that might feel like.

You might make a list of the good things in your life and remind yourself about them over and over again. Put them on post-it notes or decorate your refrigerator, computer monitor, or bathroom mirror with your gratitudes.

11. Let Yourself Feel

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to really give in to the emotion. If you feel sad, let yourself cry. Tears can be very cleansing. Sometimes we feel stuck because we are afraid to feel a specific emotion. However, really feeling and moving through a feeling will get us to the other side.

If you feel anxious or fearful, notice where that feeling is in your body. Breathe into the feeling without trying to change it or chase it away. (If it doesn’t feel safe to do this, or you feel too fearful, trust your instincts. Simply reach out by calling a helpline or contacting a professional like a physician, therapist, spiritual teacher, or coach to help you feel your emotions safely.)

The more we are able to accept our emotions and really feel them, the more we also learn to accept all of ourselves, just as we are.

12. Write About It

Write in a journal or notebook about what you are feeling, thinking, and what is real for you in this moment. Imagine describing how you are feeling right now to a completely loving parent or friend who wants the very best for you and will not judge you in any way.

You might also audio-record yourself talking about what you are feeling and thinking. Then, listen to it with real compassion. Pretend you are a loving friend who loves everything about you, even the tough stuff. Relief comes when we can be a loving witness.

What do you notice? Do you have any new insights or words of wisdom? You can delete the audio-file when you are done. As you do, imagine letting your stories about your experience go so the only thing left is the present moment.

13. Get in “Flow”

Try to get yourself in that magical state of flow where you lose track of time and space and are just doing what you are doing, just for the fun of it. Take time to play.

You might want to sketch, color, or paint. Take some photos. Play an instrument. Write a haiku. Create a collage. Paint. Get out crayons or magic markers.

Set a timer for three minutes and doodle. The end product doesn’t matter. Just let yourself feel the joy of being in flow.

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14. Listen to Upbeat Music

Music has a way of directing our moods. Choose music you really like and listen to it or have it playing in the background as you work.

Try humming along. If you can, try blasting music and making your house your personal dance floor. If you are driving, play the radio and sing at the top of your lungs.

15. Accomplish Something Small

Sometimes, our stuck feeling is a message from our intuition, telling us that we need to do something different or are ignoring an important task. What is one thing that you really need at this moment?

Maybe it’s drinking water or going for a short walk. Perhaps it’s doing that one small thing you’ve been procrastinating. Ask yourself what you really, really need in this moment, the way a friend would.

Take a moment right now to do that thing that is in your best interest. After it is completed, ask yourself again. It’s amazing how we can tend to ourselves one step at a time.

16. Clean Something

There is something very energizing, invigorating, and symbolically powerful about clearing, cleaning, and letting go. Clean out your refrigerator or junk drawer. Throw away 20 things. Wash a window or mirror. Keep it small and doable. When you finish, cheer!

17. Smile and Breathe Deeply

Tell yourself you are lovable, wonderful, and perfect just as you are. At the end of the day, the greatest cure for any emotion that feels too big to handle is love. Send love to yourself and tell yourself that no matter what, whatever you are feeling is perfectly okay, and so are you, just as you are.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember about being in a funk is that you are not alone. We all experience difficult emotions. Accepting them and letting go of our expectations about how we are supposed to feel is the key to emotions shifting instead of staying stuck.

The next most important thing is to reach out. Get support. Imagine connecting with others all over the world right now that would want you to be safe and well if they knew you were struggling. Remember everyone who, at this very moment, is experiencing a funk, too. We always have more support than we know.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that we are each far wiser, more resilient, and more capable than we realize. You are completely capable of growing, expanding, and connecting with the inner peace, compassion, and goodness that is who you really are. You’ve got this!

More Support

I am sending you lots of light and love. Here are some more articles and resources about navigating difficult emotions and finding peace even in the face of tough times.

Tips for Overcoming Tough Times

Emergency Resources

Featured photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Laurie Smith

Inspirational Writer. Coach. Healer.

Understanding the 5 Stages of Life Can Help Navigate Hard Times How to Start Setting Intentions That Set You up for Success 13 Keys to Living Your Best Life and Aligning Your Priorities What Is a Complete Life? 5 Rules to Live By how to get out of a funk How to Get Out of a Funk When You’re Stressed Out

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Last Updated on December 14, 2021

15 Simple Ways To Get Confidence Back

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15 Simple Ways To Get Confidence Back

Confidence is essential to survival. If you’re a man, you can’t even attract a mate without it, as women (and even gay men) are attracted to tenacity. There are times, however, when a devastating or unexpected loss can sap you of your poise. If you’re down, here’s how to get confidence back into your system so you’re ready to take on the world again.

1. Find Your Comfort Zone

Everyone has a comfort zone, whether it’s food, music, art, a favorite book, movie, TV show, a specific geographic location or group of people. Whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable, get into that zone. You’re not there to hide from your problems or dwell on them. You’re there to recharge; just like your muscles and mind need time to recharge, so does your mood. Take a staycation in your comfort zone to regain your composure.

2. Change Your Thoughts

Actively make a conscious decision to change your thought processes. Every time you doubt yourself, counter those thoughts with ways you can overcome. Remember most of your problems are in your head. That’s not to say they don’t exist – merely that you’re allowing them to affect you. Stand up to and for yourself, and you’ll learn ways to stand up to and for everyone else.

3. Smile Like You Mean It

A smile goes a long way. Even if you’re not fully sure of yourself, you’ll exude a sureness that encourages people to perceive you as a confident person. You’ll be seen as a leader rather than a follower, and things will be more likely to go your way. The media portrays Special Forces soldiers as killing machines, but one of their most used weapons is a friendly smile. Diplomacy is strong, so put a smile on your face, and make the world a better place.

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4. Don’t Slouch!

Your posture and the way you carry yourself goes a long way in determining your appearance. If you’re slouched over, people assume you’re weaker. This is how nature works – every plant and animal species on this planet understands survival of the fittest, and you need to look like you’re fit. Make an effort to sit up and stand up straight and tall.

5. Take Baby Steps

Everything happens in steps. Don’t get discouraged if there’s no magical change that suddenly makes you confident. Focus on your path, and understand it’ll take baby steps to get where you want. You’ll soon be taking baby steps from confidence to full-on success in life.

6. Clean Yourself Up

Cleanliness is close to godliness (or so I’ve heard). Hygiene is vital to your confidence – it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re stained, sweaty and smelly. No matter what your circumstances in life are, do your best to stay clean, as it’s the key to your confidence.

7. Face Your Fears

Everyone has a list of fears and phobias, although many don’t want to admit it. I’m afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, loss of control, drowning, the dark, other people, and just about everything under the sun. I’m even afraid of the sun since I have moles and have a high melanoma risk. These are natural fears that everyone has on some level or another – it’s a fear of death and the unknown. Face at least one of your fears. When you survive, you’ll be that much more confident.

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8. Define Yourself

You are your present choices. Your past decisions and future aspirations determine how your present choices are perceived, but you are your present choices. Learn how to define yourself. Set your rules and boundaries and follow them. These are your morals and ethics, and they’re the foundation of who you are. Never forget that.

9. Embrace Mistakes

Looking back (even while it was happening), we judge Michael Jordan on his successes. People quote him as the greatest basketball player of all time and use his wins, championships and statistics to back it up. Jordan himself, though, reached that level by focusing on his failures. What drove Michael Jordan wasn’t the high from making a game-winning shot, it was the low of missing one.

10. Live In The Present

Learn to appreciate everything around you. By practicing gratitude, you’ll change your perspective. Instead of being upset about losing an important client or failing a test, you’ll be grateful for the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and the people you love. Focus on the now, because it’s all you truly have.

11. Take Inventory

If you’re reading this, you also have a lot of secondary stuff, such as a computer, the Internet, the knowledge to use it, the ability to read. You have a lot of skills and resources available to you, even if they’re not the ones you wish they were. Figure out what you have, and find ways to use them.

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12. Socialize

Talk things out with friends and family – they’re normally happy to help you regain confidence. If they (or lack thereof) are the reason you lack confidence, expand your social circle. Go to public places and interact with strangers. If you fail to make an impression or completely blow it, who cares? They weren’t in your life before, and you won’t miss them.

13. Play A Game

Video games are great for a lot of reasons, and gaining confidence is just one of them. In real life you may be a boring file clerk with a dead-end life, but in a video game, you can be whoever you want. Every video game console (as well as the majority of computer and mobile games) has achievements. Hunt down some easy wins to jumpstart your spunk.

14. Do Something Crazy

I’m a firm believer in spontaneity being the spice of life. Go out and do something you said you never would. When I reached a point in my life where it felt like nothing could go right, I jumped out of an airplane. As I fell through the air, I had several epiphanies that forever changed my life. No other decision in my life had more of a direct impact on my life than that one crazy act.

15. Try Again

If your lack of confidence is caused by failure, pick up and try again in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be immediately – you can practice, learn and evolve prior to trying again. This time, however, go in as an experienced veteran who took a few licks and got back up stronger, faster and smarter than before.

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It’s easy to lose your confidence. Unexpected things happen, and you can very easily find yourself on the short end of the stick. Even though it seems like you’re the only one it’s happening to, we all experience inequalities and failures. Stick it out, and you’ll eventually get the confidence it takes to succeed.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Mowe via unsplash.com

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