"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." - Wayne Dyer


Friday, January 23, 2015

5 Simple Steps for Shaking Off The Funk

 Many of us are probably feeling a little burnt out by now. The holidays are over and all of those happy Christmas feelings are long gone. The motivation we had to achieve our New Year's Resolution has dissipated, and we are back to the same tired routines of the year before. 

Those are just a few of the many causes of the build up of negative emotions that make up what I like to call The Funk. 

It is not quite as easy to overcome as the Winter Blues, and it is not as intense as depression, but it certainly is unpleasant. The Funk has a variety of symptoms including lack of interest, body soreness, apathy, fatigue, and a general hopeless feeling that nothing will ever make you smile again. 

A common belief is that the cure to The Funk is finding happiness. I don't think that is accurate. Yes, happiness can relieve some of those symptoms for a while, but it is a fleeting feeling that eventually wears off. Soon you will find yourself looking for the next happy high to pull you above the surface just long enough to catch a few deep breaths.

There is a more permanent solution to eliminate The Funk for good and I believe that solution is finding the joy within you. Joy runs deeper than happiness. It is a lasting emotion that leads to inner peace and psychological rest.

According to dictionary.com the definition of joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

What if I told you that "something exceptionally good or satisfying" could be found in your own mind? 

Many times, the key to lasting joy is trapped in our thoughts, but can be brought out by following a simple defunkification  process. 
(Yes I just made up a word)

Step 1: Kill all incoming negative thoughts. It is much more simple than it sounds. Whenever you have a thought that produces a discouraging emotion, counter it with a thought that produces a positive emotion. For example, if you are mentally putting yourself down for not sticking with you resolution, challenge that by remembering a time when you actually did follow through with something. Consider how good you felt and remember that one failure in no way defines who you are.

Step 2: Get some fresh air. It may be cold out there, but being inside, staring at the same walls you've been staring at for weeks, months, or even years, can be depressing. So is browsing Facebook, stalking people who are enjoying their lives more than you happen to be at the moment. Go for a walk and take 10 deep breaths. Every time you inhale, imagine yourself sucking up a bit of your Funk, and every time you exhale, imagine yourself letting it out. 

Step 3: Occupy yourself. Chose a few new goals; pick something long term and then plan a short term goal that will help you achieve the long term one. Get a new hobby, maybe something that you have always wanted to do. Plan an exciting vacation to a new country and learn a new language to help you prepare! Some times we can fall in to The Funk because our spirit is telling us that we are not making progress. Human beings are meant to do amazing things! If you are doing the same thing as last year, something's gotta give. 

Step 4: Take a break. You are back to school, the Christmas decorations at work have come down, and life is pretty much back to business as usual. So take a break from life. If you can afford to take a mini weekend vacation do that, but taking a break doesn't have to mean going away. If you have a flexible schedule, try taking a nice comfortable nap in the middle of the afternoon! If you are shackled to consciousness by your responsibilities, make time before going to sleep at night to get wrapped up in an exceptionally good book. (I recommend Liars Like Me by yours truly!)  

Step 5: Count your blessings. I mean this in the most literal sense. If you tried everything on this list and you are still trapped in the suffocating fog of sadness, start to make a list of your own. We all know that life is unfair, and, if we are being honest, we tend to realize that fact even more when we are not enjoying it. Life kicks you when you are down, so the best thing to do is get up as quickly as possible. On a piece of paper start to write down things that you are truly grateful for, even if it was a long time ago. Better yet, start a blessing jar, or jug, or bowl; pretty much any empty container you have around the house will work for this. Everyday write down something that you are grateful for, or a blessing that you have experienced and put it in the jar. If you can't think of one, start with the fact that you are alive and able to read this post! 

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