10 Ways to Bust Out of a 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
Posted on August 31, 2009