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 good news: 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 have 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 favorite TV series or spend hours on social media.
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 deep 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 that, 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 family members who make 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 nosedive 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 inspiration for your gratitude list, here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life.
7. Appreciate Beauty
When you are in a funk, you may feel like you are living in an empty world without color. Everything seems gray, hollow, and incomplete. When you focus on what you are seeing, you’ll start to experience it in your life.
Appreciation of excellence and beauty is among the character strengths that researchers have identified in human beings.
Taking the time to appreciate beauty can uplift your sense of well-being. You should try going for walk mindfully while looking for things that you find inspiring and beautiful purposefully.
Research studies have shown that people who enjoy spending time in nature tend to appreciate the beauty and enjoy lots of mental health benefits. If you can’t spend some time outdoors, you should find beauty where you are. You can look at photo albums, or read magazines.
8. Flow is Key
Flow is another popular concept that originated from positive psychology. Being in a funk means being stuck in the negative.
When you seek and focus on the positive, you’ll ultimately come out of it. Being in a state of flow means that you are engaged in something you enjoy such that all other thoughts and emotions fade away.
Most people get in a funk because they are unchallenged and bored. If you feel this way, you should experiment with looking for activities that are enjoyable and engaging. You need to find activities that are neither too challenging nor too easy.
Think of past activities or hobbies that used to excite you. Engaging in activities that put you in a state of flow is one of the best ways to get out of a funk. You can’t experience flow and funk at the same time.
9. Find a Mentor
You need to identify someone whom you admire. It should be someone who has been where you are and has gone through the ups and downs. Invite them for lunch or coffee or ask them to take a walk with you.
As you nurture this relationship, you’ll gain valuable insights about life. These insights can boost your mental health and help you get out of a funk.
10. Embrace the Changes in Relationships
All types of relationships are exciting when they are new. Eventually, this feeling of newness wears off over time. Instead of seeing this progress as a bad thing, and a warning of doom, you should recognize that it’s part of life and a healthy progression of your relationship.
Accepting that things change will allow you to experience the relationship mindfully without judging every moment. With this mindset and other tips that we’ve discussed in this article, you can easily get out of a funk.
Bonus: Funk vs. Depression
Individuals in a funk might experience some feelings that are similar to that of clinical depression. However, there are key differences. People who are diagnosed with depression must experience these symptoms almost every day for two weeks consecutively:
- Depressed mood for prolonged periods of time
- Decreased pleasure or interest in almost every activity that they used to enjoy
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness
- Recurrent suicidal thoughts
A funk does not always have all these symptoms. Plus, the intensity and duration are quite different. A funk can last for a few days and it might improve temporarily depending on the activities that you are indulging in.
While the majority of people get into a funk, almost everyone experiences clinical depression. If you are experiencing more than a funk, you should seek help immediately.
Sometimes it feels like time is zooming by or you’re having a bad day, leaving us behind. But you’re capable to get yourself out of a funk!
By acknowledging bad moods and problems, and actively taking actions to change up your thoughts, you will improve your mental health and take control of your life again.
More Tips for Motivation
- 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?
- No Motivation? 7 Great Ways To Overcome Loss Of Motivation
Featured photo credit: Luis Flores via unsplash.com