Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Managing The Funk

Waking up in a funk this morning – I decided to dissect it and try to figure out some strategies for getting out of it.

A Definition

Confronted by disappointment, mismanaged expectations and quite possibly by things out of your control. You're heading into despair when things often seem insurmountable. Despair leads to inaction, causing stagnation.

If this is the definition of funk (and I am open to interpretations!!) then in the immortal words of Cher in Moonstruck how can we "Snap Out of It!" or my favorite – Knock it off?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Action inspires energy inspires movement forward. Sometimes any movement forward is exactly what you need to get out of a funk – which is a stagnation of energy. Make a phone call, write an email, identify a baby step toward a goal and take it.
  2. Distinguish between disappointment and depression. Oftentimes I'll declare "I'm depressed" when I'm feeling low energy I can't quite identify when really, I'm disappointed by something or someone and generally the "what happened" is something that is out of my control.
  3. Recommit to focusing on the things that you can control: Your thoughts, beliefs, actions and responses. Honor that Event + Response = Outcome. If you are unhappy with your outcome – the one variable you can control is your response. If the dog barks like crazy and puts you into a psychic tailspin – shift the response. The dog is barking because dogs bark. And remember the all important: He's just a dog. (or a 3 year old, or a 38 year old!!)
  4. Watch your negative self-talk and actively turn your critic into a coach. Click here for more tools on how to do that and/or refer to Principle 32 in The Success Principles. I just spilled some milk and heard myself say "ass". Chill self! It's just some spilled milk. I'll be more careful next time!
  5. Clear your clutter, pay special attention to:
    1. The area you spend the most time in
    2. Your work space
    3. The space you are creative
    4. The space in which you relax

    Remember – clutter represents incompletes. Incompletes can create overwhelm which can lead to despair and we're back to inaction. Clutter clearing can be a good action item (see number 1). And while I am Queen of "I'll do it tomorrow" especially in relation to cleaning and organizing, five minutes at the end of the day can make huge difference come morning. There's nothing worse than a desk full of reminders of everything you didn't accomplish the day before. Clearing your space does NOT necessarily require a whole day (or week!!). Schedule 10, 20, 30 minutes a day and remember the 3 D's: Delegate, Decide, Dump.

  6. Employ the five senses:
    1. See: Put a flowering plant on your desk, fill blank walls with inspiring art, create a vision board of all the things you want to create in your life, look at people smiling…
    2. Hear: Hear a child laugh (if you want to cheer up, click here for my favorite), listen to soothing music (or rock out!!), or rustle your windchimes.
    3. Smell: Light some incense or aromatherapy or sage and let it wash over you. I also love going into coffee houses just for the smell of the coffee!
    4. Taste: A Hershey kiss, a cup of hot tea or coffee, a sweet fruit, a refreshing glass of water with lemon.
    5. Touch: Carry a smooth rock or piece of fabric, get a massage, or ask for a hug.

    Being creative can help with all of the senses – start digging in the garden, paint a picture, write a poem, bake a cake, go dancing…there are so many ways to be creative…

  7. Identify what you might be getting out of your funk. When we are on it or in a funk or angry at someone – there is usually something we get out of who we're being in the moment (stingy, angry, withdrawn, depressed). Identifying what you might be getting out of it (and then getting present to the costs) might help you snap out of it. Some possibilities:
    1. Dominating (You better do what I'm telling you to do) / avoiding domination (You're not going to tell me what to do)
    2. Being Right / Making someone else wrong
    3. Avoiding Responsibility

    Don't forget the costs:

    1. Love / Intimacy
    2. Self-Expression
    3. Vitality
  8. Write a Pobresita (poor little thing) letter. Be as dramatic and pathetic as possible. Why you are in this funk, how horrible your life is, etc. And then read it out loud in front of a mirror with as much energy as possible for as long as you can stand yourself.
  9. Help someone in need. Not only do you feel like you've made a difference – you can put your own life into perspective. Helping a friend in need, giving a homeless person a blanket (or a fan – it's hot in the States everywhere, isn't it??), volunteer at an old folks home or battered women's shelter. You get the picture. You get to make a difference, step out of our own world and gain some perspective all at once.
  10. Last but DEFINITELY not least: Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude. Write out (in detail) all the things you are grateful for. Whether you feel connected or not – we are constantly plugged in to one outlet or another. When we're in a funk, we connect energetically to the universal funk – or everyone else on the planet who is in a funk (who needs more funk energy??!). If you spend some time focusing on gratitude – suddenly your connected to universal gratitude. Which plug would you rather be hooked up to?

Well, I'd certainly like to hear your definitions of funk! And any more suggestions that you might have for getting out of one.

Love to you,


Rowena said...

Funk. noun. 1. unpleasant smell, often but not always related to sex. 2. unpleasant mood, often much like the unpleasant smell, and not often related to se. 3. earthy, sexy style, often incorporating that which is ugly or uncomfortable and making it attractive. see,George Clinton, King of. (Dictionary of Rowena, an incomplete, possibly erroneous and absolutely un-researched listing.)

How to get rid of the funk? Open some windows. Go for a walk. Let some air in and breathe deeply. Get rid of whatever is causing the bad smell. Clean it all out. Find a new home, move, and leave the landlord to deal with the mess.

Or, alternately, embrace the funk, say, "this is me, love it or lump it." Go with it. Revel in it. See where it will lead you. Ultimately, you will get accustomed to it and won't smell it anymore, although others will.

Sugar said...

It's amazing how things can pile up in our minds and then all of the sudden, there's this stench coming from the corner that wants to just stink up the good vibe you had going on. I like the clearing the clutter idea. Always a quick fix that lightens the load. And of course, going outside (for a bike ride, preferably) and breathing deeply.

But sometimes, rather than analyze it all, we just have to sit still and feel it. Like you said, honor it. I think sometimes we get so busy minded trying to get out of our funk when all we really needed was maybe just a few more minutes there.

Thanks for this list... very inspiring!