Just Don’t give a Funk about it!
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.
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 (Positively)
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?
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. Talk it Out
First, I suggest talking out what you discovered in step one—to a friend, to a co-worker, even to yourself (just be sure to warn people around you if it’s in the office). As you probably learned from experience, saying stuff out loud helps you process. When we speak our thoughts, we put a tangible feeling out in the open, and it’s suddenly easier to manage than in our heads.
So try it. Sit down with a colleague and tell him or her what you’re struggling with, or go for a walk and talk it over with yourself.
4. Pull out your journal.
Kind of like the trusted friend solution above, writing down your feelings in a journal can help you process what’s really going on. Complete honesty is a must here, so go ahead and purge your feelings onto the page, even if they seem stupid or irrational.
By the end of a good journaling session, I find that I’m also jotting down problem-solving ideas, which helps me walk away feeling more energized and reminds me that I can choose how I respond to challenging circumstances. Seeing them on paper is one of the best ways to shift your perspective.
Smile more often.
It’s very simple, but oftentimes we forget to smile because we’re too caught up in our day-to-day life.
A positive attitude can go a long way and affect the mood of everyone around you, especially if others are having a bad day as well. Smiling isn’t just good for your health – it makes other people feel happier. Additionally, there’s evidence that smiling triggers happy feelings.
It’s a simple little thing you can do to put yourself in a more positive mood and feel better! Just make it a habit to smile at everyone – strangers, family, friends, dogs…you name it!