How Do I Get Out Of This FUNK?
Practical suggestions for moving forward.
Life is hard…and sometimes it can be overwhelming. The weight of our problems can be heavy. Really heavy. Sometimes even unbearable.
It is easy to get down in the dumps. To wallow. To feel self-doubt. It doesn’t matter what circumstances we may be going through, we are wired as human beings to focus on the negative when the going gets tough.
We have all been there. There are varying degrees of difficulty, but no matter who you are or where you are on your journey, life is certainly full of ups and downs.
I am a firm believer that it is at the tough times we need to dig deep and take actions that positively impact our perspective. For me, this has always started with ithrive31 core principle#1: Be intentional with your thoughts.
Whenever I feel like I am going through a valley, I reflect on this principle and take action to change my thinking. It doesn’t happen overnight and yes, it is a process, but here are some practical ways I wade through the muck to get unstuck.
Be mindful of where you are spending your time.
Your time is valuable. Give it the respect it deserves by engaging in positive and uplifting activities. Be intentional about what you let occupy your time. Trashy TV, unproductive behaviors, negative self-talk, gossip and destructive habits will not help you feel better about yourself or your situation.
Seek positive, inspiring messages.
Don’t have the time? That is never an excuse. We make time for the things that are important to us, so make this important. Start by spending 10 minutes 2-3 times a week listening to a motivational YouTube video, podcast or TedTalk. There are a lot of good ones out there. Here are a few of my favorites — Weekly “Take 5” with Mel Robbins (www.melrobbins.com), Daily Mentoring with Darren Hardy (www.darrenhardy.com). Brene Brown’s weekly “Dose of Daring” (www.brenebrown.com). You can also try asking your friends for recommendations.
Read a book.
Reading is the perfect way to introduce yourself to new insights or new ideas. Don’t like to read? Audiobooks/podcast can be a great alternative for non-readers and there are subjects on pretty much everything. Listen in your car, take 10 minutes before bed, get up 15 minutes earlier….be deliberate with your time (ithrive31 core principle #2).
It’s no secret that exercise provides countless benefits. Just 20 minutes a day can have a tremendous effect on your physical and mental health. Don’t want to? Don’t like to? Start. Just start small. Take a walk in a different place than you typically go. Visit a park or walk a new trail. Get some fresh air, and just get moving.
Exercise is also great for mental clarity and creativity. When you clear your mind you will be amazed at what ideas and thoughts fill your head. My greatest creative inspiration comes on my elliptical machine. Invest time in yourself!
Whenever I am in a funk – I lean into prayer. For me, prayer is foundational. Keep in mind that prayer is not a magic lamp that is rubbed and you are granted your wish. God has a plan for each one of us. Sometimes it is patience (i.e “you need to wait”), sometimes it is clear guidance and sometimes it is just enough light for the step I am on.
Prayer is a way to center your heart and fill your mind with a clarity of guidance for your life. It is a way to be still and stay connected. Use the stormy season to get closer to God.
Commit to spending as little as 5 minutes a day in quiet reflection. Meditation is little more than silencing your mind to be present and manage your emotions. Don’t know where to start? Search the internet for a how-to guide, or download a daily mediation app like HeadSpace (www.headspace.com). Meditation increases self-awareness and can give you the perspective you need to reduce stress, curb anxiety, and improve concentration.
Surround yourself with your biggest supporters
During the rainy season of your life, it is important to be mindful of who you are hanging out with. If you are down, don’t hang out with friends or family members who will join you in wallow-world. Find people who lift you up and encourage you. Share your struggles with someone who will be empathetic but also hold you accountable for taking steps to create positive momentum in your life.
Not sure where to find them? There are compassionate caring people out there. Seek help to get unstuck. Counseling centers, support groups, or religious institutions can offer great help and encouragement.
Find a coach. Set a plan. Take action to gather another perspective on your situation. Do not let pride or judgment prevent you from seeking help.
Most important, be patient. This will not last forever. Allow yourself time to go through the stormy season. We all have them. That is the reality of life. Don’t compare your circumstance to others – everyone has some kind of mess in their life at some time. Some work harder to hide it.
Your circumstances are yours to own but you have the power to change your thinking. It won’t happen instantly but by being intentional with your thoughts, it will get better.
Over the next 31 days, identify 2-3 actions that will help move you forward, and write them down. You can download the ithrive31 goal sheet here. List the specific actions that will help you. Share it with someone who can hold you accountable. Post it on your mirror. Revisit it daily.
Remember, the power to move forward originates from the 6 inches between your ears. Be intentional about what you put in there. It is sacred ground!