Ever feel like you are in a funk? On the edge of a funk? Or maybe you are all the way down in the funk and wish you could be up on the edge. I’ve definitely felt that this week. My days were filled with a slight turmoil in my gut, an occasional shallowness of breathing and a general yucky feeling in my soul. Not a place any of us want to spend much time!
This place can get triggered by almost anything — a low bank account balance, a massive headache, watching the struggles of your children, a slump in business, a project gone awry. Often we ask ourselves, “How did I get back here again?” Sound familiar?
Here are four steps to move you out of a funk:
It happens to everyone. Let me say that again — it happens to everyone. This is common. Our first step in getting out of the funk is to accept it rather than run from it. My first response to this week’s funk was to say, “No, this is not happening.” “No, I’m not going here.” “No, I can manage this.” BUT a better response is: Yes, this is how I feel. Yes, this is common. Yes, I’ve been here before. Let me sit with it just for a moment and put my finger on what exactly I am feeling — sadness, fear, frustration. When we resist, the funk grows!
Feel the Emotion
Emotions are like ocean waves; they ebb and flow. If we fight against them they will knock us around or pull us under — just like waves, but if we move back and forth with them they will eventually deposit us on the shore. Take a minute to accept the emotion you are feeling and ebb and flow with it rather than fight it. Maybe that means you let yourself cry for a moment or you scream while driving in your car alone or you sit down and write it all out in a junk journal. Simply turn and face the emotion. What am I really feeling? What is it trying to say to me? Assume it’s a friend and we need to spend a little together.
Dance it out
Once we admit we are in a funk and let the emotion come, now we can dance it out! No really, start to move your body. Much of our mind - body connection is overlooked. When we turn up the music and dance, our body can begin to release. I dare you to dance like a crazy person! Or go to yoga class, or walk the dog, or ride your bike through the park. Research suggests that moving our bodies can reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood, boost self-esteem, minimize stress, and enhance cognitive functioning. Go ahead, Google it. Moving our bodies increases chemicals in the brain like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine associated with improved mood and decreased stress. Seriously, dance it out! It works for me every time and I can’t dance.
Confront the Problem
When the feel-good chemicals start getting released in your brain from the intentional movement we engage in, it opens up our mental capacity. Now we can start to solve the problem: What has me in this funk? What concrete steps can I take to get to the other side? If it’s the bank account, find a second job. They are plentiful right now. If it’s the children, set boundaries, attend a parenting class, find parents who are ahead of you and learn from them. If it’s the business, either do the things you already know you need to do or consult with someone who has more experience. Take some kind of action step toward a solution. It’s okay if the step doesn’t accomplish what you wanted it to. Simply take another one. Taking action is a sure way to move away from the funk.
These are some great first steps for getting us off the edge of the funk.