It happens to all of us. Life is flying by, swirling around us at a million miles an hour. At its best, life is exciting and full of thrills. At its worst, it is monotonous and full of the dull pain of being overwhelmed.
It is not uncommon to just feel off. To feel as if we are slightly off our axis. We call it ‘being in a funk’. And it can be more than boring – it can be painful, breeding apathy, lulling us to sleep as we feel like life is passing us by.
There are many ways we approach getting out of a funk and most of them are terrible. At best, we are hoping it passes. Like a disease that might give one symptom an off day. We’re thankful when it goes just as mysteriously as it came. But these three approaches will help us understand what puts us into funks and what we can do to prevent them in the future (as well as escape them in the present).
The easiest thing to do when in a funk is to blame others. ‘They’ are to blame. It is ‘their’ fault. We look at the people and circumstances around us and turn them into villains, making them responsible for our current state.
What we unwittingly do in these situations is hand over our power to chose and influence. If it is ‘their’ fault I am in this state, it is up to ‘them’ to fix it. There is nothing to be done but sit and wait.
We hold ourselves hostage by blaming others. Even if someone or something is culpable for helping get us into the funk, they are not responsible for either keeping us there or getting us out.
My uncle used to say that if you are pointing the finger at someone else, there are four other fingers pointing at you. If we want to get out of our funks, we have to take responsibility.
Out of Bed
One of the defining characteristics of ‘being in a funk’ is the malaise. We feel stuck, crippled, as if there is nothing to be done but wait it out.
In a sense, we are waiting on magic. We are just doing the same things for the same reasons and hoping that something else will one day result. Since we are so good at lying to ourselves, we can actually make this happen. But we end up trading one malaise for another.
Waiting on magic is not an effective long-term solution. We need to be intentional about action. This idea is something like getting out of bed on a rainy day. It is simple and unavoidable, but can be very hard to do. Also, once we are up, the grogginess is well on its way to being defeated. The same is true with the sleepiness of ‘being in a funk’. Acknowledging we have to move is half the battle.
The most important method for getting out of a funk is realizing the power of our choices. There are three things we can control and all of them help us get out of a funk. By owning our choices and our ability to influence (both ourselves and the world around us), we change atmosphere and attitude, people and perspective.
Life is a confusing maze of cause and effect. Oftentimes, it is our choices that are at least partially to blame for the funk we are in. As simple and obvious as it sounds, making different choices might be just the thing to get us out.
It makes sense that we would feel dissatisfaction after a string or series of choices that do not align with our values. Perhaps it is our lack of self-awareness playing tricks on us. Making choices consistent with our values leads to peace. Choices outside our values leads to confusion and complacency.
If life feels rotten, dull, or off track, perhaps it is time to make a different choice.