10 Ways to Bust Out of a Mental Funk

Post written by Warren. Follow him on Twitter.

Bust free of your mental funk.

Bust free of your mental funk.

We all have times when we just don’t feel like we have the energy or inspiration to be creative.  Of course, it is during these times that we need that creative spark the most!

While there are certainly a number of factors that can lead to a mental funk, there are also just as many ways to break out of it.  The next time you find yourself feeling a bit “blah,” try some of these tactics…

  1. Do something different. Routines are great for providing a sense of security and for getting things done, but they can hold us back, too.  Try doing something different, and you may just find that you are suddenly reinvigorated.  Chuck your agenda out the window and do things in a different order.  Or, substitute a boring task with something that really ignites your passion.
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  3. Borrow inspiration. Sometimes breaking out of a mental funk can be as simple as getting someone else’s point of view.  Spend some time perusing inspirational quotes or reading a book or article on a topic that you find particularly interesting.  This can get you thinking in entirely new directions and put some spring back in your step.
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  5. Challenge your thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy works because it encourages people to challenge their own assumptions.  Changing thought patterns can be a powerful way to change your emotional state.  For example, many of us are surprised to learn that we have some distorted thinking when it comes to ourselves.  By comparing a thought to the list of cognitive distortions, it is easier to see it for what it is and move past it.
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  7. Dump your brain. Many times a mental funk is caused because there are too many competing thoughts racing through our minds, and it gets to be overwhelming.  The idea of a braindump is to take some time to write down all of those thoughts in one place.  While they’re still in your mind, your brain is constantly trying to keep track of them all; but once they’re out on paper, it has a much better chance of letting them go.  As a bonus, you can also look at them, categorize them, and start making a plan for how to tackle any urgent issues.
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  9. Take care of yourself. It is much easier to feel emotionally healthy when you’re also feeling physically healthy.  If you find that you’ve been spending too much time in a mental funk, take an inventory of what you’ve been doing to physically care for yourself.  Some simple steps to getting physically and emotionally healthy can be to drink more water, cut out caffeine and junk food, and get a good night’s sleep.  Sometimes the right answer really is the most obvious one!
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  11. Work it out. Along with eating well and getting sleep, exercise is a great tool for improving your mood and mental capacity.  Physical exercise actually increases the production of endorphins in your brain, so a good brisk walk or 20 minutes of aerobic exercise does more than make a healthy heart—it makes a healthy mind, too.
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  13. Let the sun shine in. In an age when we are all so mindful of skin cancer that we slather on the SPF 50 and wear long sleeves outside in July, it can be easy to forget that humans actually require sunlight for healthy development.  Getting about 15 minutes of sun exposure directly on your skin each day can significantly improve your mood, especially if you suffer from certain types of depression like Seasonal Affective Disorder.  This even holds true in the winter time.
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  15. You are getting very sleepy. While I already mentioned that getting enough sleep is important in breaking out of a mental funk, this suggestion has less to do with napping and more to do with reprogramming your mind.  Studies have shown that self-hypnosis can not only help you to change thought patterns, but that the time you spend in a hypnotic state can also have wonderful physical effects on the body.  If you’re uncertain about using hypnosis, meditation can offer many of the same benefits.
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  17. Out with the old. A mental funk can be caused by our reaction to the material things in our lives.  If you have an object that always reminds you of a difficult time in your past, for example, then perhaps keeping it around isn’t in your best interest.  Likewise, general clutter in our lives often leads to clutter in our minds.  Let your environment reflect the mental state you want to have, and it will affect you in all kinds of positive ways.
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  19. Compliment yourself. Once we’ve hit a mental funk, it is far too easy to only see the negative in ourselves.  Combat this by creating a list of positive traits you possess.  These can range from “I have nice eyes” to “I am great at Scrabble” to “I have a good sense of humor.”  Make a nice long list, and look at it often.
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    Whether you call it a depression, the blues, or a mental funk, it can seem like there’s no way out once you’re in its clutches.  Unfortunately, these things perpetuate themselves.  Once you’re already feeling grumpy and sluggish, it’s just that much harder to motivate yourself to do the things necessary to break out of that mindset.  Really, though, you are the only one who truly has the power to put an end to it once and for all.

    In some cases, you may find that you can simply read a few inspirational quotes and start feeling chipper again.  In others, it may take more work, with a change of diet, behavior, and even thought patterns required.  By taking the action steps required to break out of your mental funk, you will begin to view yourself and your mood a little differently, and that is really the most important and powerful tool you have in creating a real change.

    My question for you: What do YOU do to bust out of a mental funk?

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    Posted on August 31, 2009

Happy Comments

26 Responses to “10 Ways to Bust Out of a Mental Funk”
  1. If you’re feeling down, you could always have someone else compliment you

    The book The Artist’s Way is dedicated to helping one reflect through increased awareness using journal writing.

    I took on the 3-month challenge and discovered a lot about myself. Coincidentally, I was much calmer during that time of my life… go figure!
    .-= Pete | The Tango Notebook´s last blog ..My Confession: I Hate My Tango Partner =-.

  2. Hey Pete, first of all, gotta love the Flight of the Concords and The Artist’s Way. Both are excellent, in their own individual ways. :) What was involved in your 3 month challenge exactly?

    Cheers,
    Dayne

  3. The concept of the Artist’s Way is simple:

    1. take a mental inventory of your life
    2. clean out the junk
    3. use journal writing to achieve this

    The mental inventory consists of tracking the people, places, and events that have made you who you are today in order to find inspiration and leap into the next phase of your life.

    The author focuses on finding the negative voice in our heads, which she calls the censor, that keeps us from living to our true potential. For instance, if you really want to make this blog your career, your censor may whisper harmful chatter in your head like:

    - it’s too hard to make blogging your living
    - only 1% of all bloggers make it
    - it will take too long to learn how to use WordPress
    - you shouldn’t spend money on creative writing classes

    Awareness of this voice and the experiences of your past help you break through to a new you by leaving the past behind. She basically teaches you how to trust your gut. Unclogging the negative stuff in your life helps you to keep creating.

    I highly recommend that book!
    .-= Pete | The Tango Notebook´s last blog ..My Confession: I Hate My Tango Partner =-.

  4. Awesome post Dayne!!

    My favourite is the sunshine part. Just like you say, I mostly avoid the sun or use lots of sunblock, but here in South Africa, our winter is very nice, sometimes with rather pleasant sunny days, and it is so relaxing and recharging to just lie in the sun for 10 minutes!

    Of course its great to go out and read new books or try new things too, there’s nothing like doing something you have never done before to expand your horizons!

    Keep them coming:)
    Have a rockin’ day!
    .-= Diggy – Upgradereality.com´s last blog ..Whether you think you can or can’t…you are right. =-.

  5. Nicole says:

    Whatever happened to consuming massive amounts of alcohol?

    Maybe I’m just too old school.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Advocating Laziness =-.

  6. Brad says:

    Dayne this post is excellent! I have to admit that I get in a mental funk from time to time mostly from being overwhelmed with lots to do. Thanks for this post!
    .-= Brad´s last blog ..The Time Is Near – Wish Me Luck! =-.

  7. alternaview says:

    Another good one. What struck me the most was your statement that “you are the only one who truly has the power to put an end to it once and for all.” When I find myself in a mental funk, this is where I always begin…with a reminder that I get to choose my perspective and that I have the power and control to get myself to a better mental place. I then just take some quiet time, know that the motivation and inspiration is right around the corner and then patiently await its arrival. Sometimes it takes longer than other times, but it eventually comes.

    I did like your suggestion #6 about exercise though. I think the next time I may try that. I could see how it could be very effective as well.
    .-= alternaview´s last blog ..Are you OPEN enough? A Rule of Thumb to Live By… =-.

    • Hey Alternaview, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You are SO right about simply taking quiet time and allowing motivation and inspiration to come back…it always does. Thank you so much for your great comment as usual Alternaview, I appreciate you taking time out to write here.

      Cheers,
      Dayne

  8. Pete – I’ve only heard a few things about The Artist’s Way and I’ve only heard good things. I will for sure get a copy after what you have said about it. It sounds fantastic!

    Diggy – I’m like you, I love the sun. I equate it with relaxation, freedom, and joy. Thanks for commenting as always!

    Nicole – Hmmm, well, I don’t advocate massive amounts of alcohol. But then again, to each his/her own. I could see that creating more of a funk vs. less of one (esp. the next day). :)

    Brad – Thanks for commenting. Getting overwhelmed can certainly lead to a “crash” and mental funk for sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  9. Great, uplifting post! :) Thanks for this!!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..look for opportunities (to read!) everywhere =-.

  10. Dayne, great post. You’ve got me happy and thinking.

    Short and snappy ways I use to bust out of a mental funk – in no particular order:

    a) grab my bass guitar and play some funky slap – out LOUD;
    b) grab a chocolate biscuit (I keep a funk-busting pack in the freezer);
    c) go to youtube and watch lastest release movie previews (short and interesting);
    d) walk in the garden with bare feet and tune into the birds and the fragrances;
    e) put on a load of washing (I’m old school – physical work makes me feel better);
    f) ring a friend and ask how they are;
    g) do a couple of clues from the cryptic crossword in the daily newspaper.

    Yes, I’m really into state management and wont let mental funk slip into anything more disempowering.

    Best to you and all your readers,

    Robin
    .-= Robin Dickinson´s last blog ..An incredibly effective writing formula =-.

  11. @Robin – I have a fender Jazz and an Ibanez with a whammy bar on it. You should see it!
    .-= Pete | The Tango Notebook´s last blog ..My Confession: I Hate My Tango Partner =-.

    • Hey Pete,

      Sounds great. My “lady with the long neck” is a fretless Fender Jazz with a ‘glass’ fret board (fiberglass). Amazed at your whammy bar. Need to see the pics.

      Best, robin

  12. David Damron says:

    Hey Dayne—

    Great ideas. I love number 6. Sometimes when I am just over worked (aka been reading digg links for too long), I get up and go for a short 10 minute run. While on that run I become motivated to start working and usually it gets me going.

    Thanks for the great thoughts to get out of a rut.

    Dave
    LifeExcursion
    .-= David Damron´s last blog ..Changing the Mindset to Healthy Living =-.

  13. Excellent suggestions!

    I would add one of my own: help someone today. Helping others is one of the best ways to help oneself out of a funk, mental or otherwise.

    Karen

  14. Kaushik says:

    Great pointers, but in the end what really makes it crystallize, click, and go–I don’t really know, but when it happens, it’s grand!
    .-= Kaushik´s last blog ..Our Days of Discontent =-.

  15. What about having a jello fight? I’ve done that before… great stress relief and lots of laughs!
    .-= Pete | The Tango Notebook´s last blog ..My Confession: I Hate My Tango Partner =-.

  16. JS Dixon says:

    If I’m in a mental funk, I look for something active that will help someone else out. If I’m helping them out, I don’t have time to keep myself in a funk. It boosts confidence, helps your friend or family member out, and just makes you feel good.

    I honestly have to use the brain dump method sometimes just to sleep though. (very active mind)
    .-= JS Dixon´s last blog ..Harness the Power of Your Surroundings =-.

  17. Pete, that’s amazing. I’ve never seen such a thing, and HAVE to get one.

    Dayne, interacting with generous and responsive people who comment on your blog posts is surely a fantastic way to bust out of a mental funk.

    Best to you both,

    Robin
    .-= Robin Dickinson´s last blog ..Effective tweet: featuring Diego Saenz =-.

  18. @Robin

    If you do decide to try your hand at a bass whammy, take my advice. Go to a pawn shop and pick up a decent bass for under $100. The tremelo system alone cost about $200 and another $150 to have the cheap bass routed out to install the whammy.

    No matter which bass you choose, a clunker or an awesome one, the whammy will always affect EVERYTHING about it’s settings so keep it inexpensive if you want to experiment.

    @Dayne – instead of getting out of a mental fun, doing your homework (like for the conversation above with Robin) can keep you from getting into a mental funk.

    I’d rather prevent than evacuate!

  19. haim korkus says:

    When you feel down, with no energy to move things, don’t let it pull dipper.
    Do something, Dayne sujest good 10 way to change it.
    There are more ways, every one can find for himself.
    .-= haim korkus´s last blog ..Short term To Do List =-.

  20. Maik says:

    Hi,

    You simply have to change your believes and the way you think to bust out of a mental funk !

    Maik
    .-= Maik´s last blog ..hypnosis transformation =-.

  21. Sid Gieck says:

    Dead pent written content , appreciate it for information .

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