About a month ago, I was coaching an individual who was not living their best life. They weren’t overly struggling, but they also weren’t thriving. There weren’t any specific terrible events, but just a series of minor inconveniences and events that were less than ideal. I could sense that they were simply feeling down on their luck. We had a great conversation on how to get out of a funk.
That conversation drove me to write this blog on how to get out of a funk! We all face them from time-to-time. We teach the strategies of positive psychology here at MPower Co, but we are realistic that life isn’t going to be perfect all of the time – it’s not meant to be.
It is easy to have hope that tomorrow will be better. As Adele would say, “Let time be patient.” Sometimes, we simply need time. What if we don’t want to just wait for time to pass? Perhaps diving in and being a little more proactive sounds like a good idea. There are things we can do, when we are ready, to start turning things around to get back to living a better life a bit sooner.
Start with the golden rule!
The Golden Rule for How to Get out of a Funk
Small wins turn into big returns in the long run. Small wins can create momentum when you are trying to figure out how to get out of a funk, so that you never look back!
Don’t try to upset your life and do ten things differently all at once. That will simply create chaos, minimize your ability to focus, and overwhelm you. That could compound and worsen the situation overall.
Choose one thing that feels easy and authentic for you. That may feel counterintuitive, but if it feels easy and like something you can accomplish, you are more likely to see it through. Once you’ve decided on your one thing, make a plan for how you are going to incorporate it into your life. Then work to focus on that one thing for a day, three days; whatever it takes to feel some momentum start.
According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit.
8 Strategies to Improve Your Well-Being
The following is a list of eight things you could choose to start with as your one small step forward, if you are looking for how to get out of a funk. But you are going to follow the golden rule, and not incorporate all eight of them into your life all at once! Pick one. If you are feeling particularly motivated, perhaps you go with two, but that is all! Leave the rest for another day.
Each of these eight things are known strategies that contribute to a better sense of well-being.
1. Start a gratitude practice.
Take time to write down three things you are grateful for. Doing this before bed can be really helpful to set your mind up for a good night’s sleep – something we need when we are going through a funk! This can be done at any time of the day, though.
2. Focus on relationship building.
Loneliness is toxic, especially when we are in a funk. Start your day by thinking about three people you want to have a positive interaction with. Then build time for that interaction into your schedule. Feeling more connected with others can bring a greater sense of joy. Bonus points if the people you connect with tend to be more positive!
3. Interrupt negativity with positivity.
When we are in a funk, it’s easy for our self-talk to become more negative. We find negative things to focus on about ourselves or what we are going through. Two thoughts cannot occupy your mind at the same time. Listen to your self-talk and interrupt negativity with positivity.
4. Find meaning.
Too much of a good thing is still too much. Getting too much sleep, for instance, isn’t healthy. So, find meaning in your day. Take care of a project you’ve wanted to get to for a long time but haven’t accomplished yet, read a new book, dive into an old hobby you’ve not had time for. Find something that you can be proud of at the end of the day, that gives your day meaning and you a sense of accomplishment.
5. Think about your habits.
If you are looking for ideas for how to get out of a funk, looking at your health habits can be a beneficial place to start. Intake of caffeine, alcohol, lots of sugar, can all add to a funk. Not sticking to a normal sleep pattern and being completely sedentary can add to a funk.
If you are in a funk, and you have increased eating junk food and aren’t getting as much sleep, focusing on rebuilding healthier habits can be beneficial. Focus on taking time to drink more water, add more fruits and vegetables to your plate, and focus on going to bed at a reasonable time. They can contribute to turning things around!
6. Focus on what you can control.
There is sooo much noise in the world. So much of it is outside of our control – social media, news. Let go of the weight of the things you can’t control and focus on what you can. Focus your efforts locally: within your friend group, your neighborhood, your community first.
7. Look for Silver Linings.
There are times where it simply feels like we can’t win or a situation or experience that we had was the worst case possible. Those times are not good; however, looking for a learning opportunity can give one silver lining to the event. If you can learn one thing from a negative situation or experience, you’ve got one positive that you can focus on instead of all of the bad.
8. Focus on your perspective.
Let’s bring this full circle. Sometimes we need to be down in the dumps so that we can really feel and experience joy and happiness when we have it. Remind yourself that what you are going through is temporary. Use your experience and perspective to assure yourself that your current funk is not permanent. Remind yourself that no one has a perfect life all of the time, and if you take a small step forward and give yourself the grace of time, you will be back on your feet sooner than later.
Want More on Positive Psychology?
Focusing on thriving, and using strategies to increase your happiness is what positive psychology is all about. It is about the science of increasing well-being. Dr. Thia is a trailblazer in providing useful, research based methods for increasing happiness.
Ready to read another article by Dr. Thia on a positive psychology topic? Head over to a recent article by her on generosity. Learn how being generous can improve your life, not just the life of the person you are being generous to!
If you want to do a deep dive into increasing your happiness and overall well-being, head over to the course page for Happiness Habitudes. Dr. Thia has written this eight unit, online course, that does a deep dive into eight topics related to positive psychology. There is more information over on the course page about how the course works, what information it covers and more!
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