Part of the human condition seems to require us to get in a funk from time to time. We find ourselves in a state of uncertainty, confusion, overwhelm, apathy… whatever the flavor your funk personally takes, it isn’t pleasant.
These periods can last for days, weeks, months, and even years. They come unannounced. Sometimes we can rationalize our misaligned mood with external events, other times we can’t make sense of it. It simply is.
Whilst this guide isn’t promising a quick-fix solution to a state like this, it does aim to provide you with a beacon of hope: some tools and strategies you can implement starting today, that can support you and ultimately help you to get out of a funk and take control of life again.
Let’s take a look at how to get out of a funk and take control of life:
1. Acknowledge It
Before even attempting to dive in with any of these suggestions, it’s well worth taking the time to acknowledge the funk you’re in. This step alone will help create distance, as you give the funk some airtime and remember that it does not define you. It’s just a passing state.
Give yourself the space to feel into it. You might give it through words, music or art. You might play a song that captures your mood. Whatever you do, acknowledge that this is a temporary state of being, it too shall pass, and you are certainly not alone in this experience.
2. Define the Problem
In some cases, the actual problem or reason for our funk is clear: we’ve split up from our partner, lost our job, been let down in some way. In other cases, there doesn’t appear to be a real reason for our malaise. On paper, everything is just fine… isn’t it?
It’s well worth questioning how ‘fine’ things really are, and remembering that just because you haven’t lost a limb, doesn’t mean you have to accept your circumstances with a cheery smile. Everyone’s experience is relative to them, and no one needs to justify the funk they’re in.
Instead, you can use what feels like a negative experience as a signal pointing you to something that fundamentally needs your attention. Maybe your job seems fine on paper, but those snarky comments from a co-worker are taking their toll on you. Maybe the lack of appreciation your family is showing you has gone on for too long now.
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the possible problems causing your funk, and make sure to write them down or record your thoughts in some way. This will make them easier to grapple with, and ultimately take you one step further towards making a change that could turn your whole situation around.
As much as the internet may try to tell you ‘meditation is for everyone’, I personally won’t claim that to be the case. However, I do think it’s worth trying – at least once.
It also might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re in a funk: it might feel far easier to numb out and binge watch your favourite TV series.
The reason meditation is so effective for getting through these times is to remind ourselves of one thing:
We are not our thoughts.
If it’s our thoughts that are causing our funk, then knowing this to be true can be a huge relief.
Rather than setting the bar too high, I encourage you to set a timer for just five minutes. Sit in a comfortable position, with your spine relatively aligned and your shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you. Begin to connect with your breath: possibly noting silently to yourself ‘in’ on the inhale, and ‘out’ on the exhale. When your mind wanders, as it will, do your best not to berate yourself for it and bring your attention gently back to your breath.
Even though you might not come out of your reverie feeling problem-free, it is a practice which, over time, can help deal with any storm in the sea of the mind.
4. Move Your Body
Whilst the root of our issues may be in our mind, it’s worth not forgetting the body. Endorphins are produced through exercise, and help us cope with stress and even relieve pain.
Going for a run is a way that some people get out of funks, but if running isn’t for you, brisk walking or other physical disciplines can all help your body to create those happy hormones.
If you think you’re too busy for exercises, here’re 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.
5. Connect with a Loved One
It can be tempting to isolate yourself when under the influence of a funk, but this is the last thing we need.
In connecting with others, we get to share the burden we’re struggling under. Having another person simply to listen, or distract us from any external problems, can be enough to bring us out of a funk.
When you notice you’re in a bad mood, think of someone who makes you laugh or simply feel safe. Whatever you do, try not to isolate yourself at this time.
6. Write a Gratitude List
At first, you may struggle to think of something to be grateful for, and your mood may even take an initial nose dive at the first attempt of this task. However, this is the exact inner environment that the gratitude list thrives on, if you give it a chance.
It’s an exercise that encourages you to seek out the parts of your life that don’t suck. At first, it might be as mundane as ‘a working washing machine’ or ‘the sound of rain.’ Like with all of these practices, the more we return to them, the stronger the effect in the long run.
A regular gratitude practice, for example at the beginning or end of each day, can actually train the mind to spot more instances of positive aspects in our lives. Not only can this be a great pick-me-up if we’re in the depths of a funk, but it can also help combat future slumps we may have found ourselves in otherwise.
If you need some inspirations for your gratitude list, here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life.
Sometimes it feels like time is zooming by, leaving us behind. But you’re capable of getting out of a funk.
By acknowledging your emotions and problems, and actively taking actions to change up your thoughts, you will take control of your life again.
More About Motivation
- How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire
- Stuck in a Rut? 6 Steps to Break Free and Live a Happy Life Again
- Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life?
- 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times
Featured photo credit: Luis Flores via unsplash.com
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