7 Ways To Get Yourself Out Of Any Funk
When You’re Stuck In A Rut
Being stuck stinks, not literally, but it leaves you feeling lacklustre with an increasing tendency to spend your days looking back at times when you were succeeding, or life was, at least, easier. Now, it’s just stagnant.
If you’re still reading this article, I suspect you’re either in a rut, you’re keen to explore the quickest way out of a funk next time around, or how to avoid it altogether.
Just like Hansel dropping pebbles for him and Gretel to find their way back home, foiling his wicked stepmother’s plan for them to perish in the woods, there is a trail that led to you being stuck in a rut. Sometimes, you don’t need to find the path that got you here to crawl out of your ‘stuckness’, but if it’s a recurring pattern in your life — you may want to trace it back to where it began, so you can do a bit of ‘rewiring’ to change future outcomes.
“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow. Our life is the creation of our mind.” Buddha
I’ll admit, I have a ‘slight’ [ahem] obsession with patterns, so if clients are feeling stuck, I can quickly ‘see’ where the same themes have played out in other areas of their lives and what’s contributed to it. Being naturally clairvoyant helps, but that doesn’t make me immune to getting stuck myself.
Below, are 7 actions I regularly use, which will help get you moving again.
Walk — take a 20 minute walk in the morning. If you have woods or parks nearby, go there. Obviously, think safety first, especially on dark winter mornings; use your intuition and logic to discern the best place for you to feel free to walk and daydream. Give yourself permission to let your mind wander as you soak up the benefits of being out in nature.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, it’s likely that you’re feeling down, which means that’s possibly being reflected in your posture. Take a moment to check in. Straighten your back, bring your shoulders up to your ears and back down, to loosen any tension you’ve been carrying and periodically look up as you walk. If you’re feeling down, you’ll be looking down. Instead, look skywards, as things will soon be looking up!
2 Lift Your Mood
Dance — when you’re in a funk, dance it out! Your unconscious mind likes instructions, and Funkadelic’s One Nation Under A Groove gives you that opportunity, “Here’s my chance to dance my way out of my constriction.”
For the next 7 ½ minutes, park everything — work, politics, finances, your to-do list, the dog giving you ‘feed me’ eyes — to one side and get moving. Can you seriously refuse to dance around your kitchen like you’re a 70s Disco Diva or Danny Zuko in Grease when the lyrics order, “Feet don’t fail me now!”?
Grooving to that Funkadelic classic will wake up your nervous system, raise your vibe and your mood. Or you can always opt for a more contemporary track like Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Either way, when you’re stuck in a uninspiring meeting, your morning antics may leave others wondering what you’re smirking at.
3. Balance Your Breathing
For the more reserved reader, if you’re recoiling at the mere thought of dancing to music that conjures up mental images of glitter balls and roller skating discos with garish flares, there’s always biofeedback machines. Research by the The HeartMath Institute into the heart as an intelligence has shown that positive emotions like compassion and appreciation are more powerful than negative emotions like anger and frustration. They’ve measured it.
To achieve what they call heart coherence, practice diaphragmatic breathing — inhaling for a count of six and exhaling for a count of six. The benefits of doing that for just 2.5 minutes a day is heightened mental clarity, improved decision making and increased creativity. Oh, and it balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of your autonomic nervous system, so you’re not stressed, nor depressed.
4. Food is Fuel
Review your diet. As my kinesiology trainer said, “Junk in. Junk out.” He was talking about the quality of questioning when muscle testing to elicit information from the body’s energetic field, but the same applies.
- Food is energy. You need to absorb it to get moving again. If you’re eating foods that do not support gut function, consider seeing a kinesiologist to discover what your body needs you to eliminate from your diet and what it’s lacking. Also consider consulting a nutritionist.
- Restoring gut flora, if you’ve been eating junk food is important. Anecdoctal evidence of improvements to conditions such as ADHD through diet are promising, as is its role in Parkinsons Disease https://www.sciencealert.com/evidence-piles-up-linking-parkinson-s-disease-with-the-bacteria-in-our-gut
- If you’re not already aware, your gut has its own intelligence: the gut brain. What’s more, over 50% of your body’s dopamine and 90% of serotonin lies in the gut, not in your head. Why should you care? Well, low levels of dopamine can lead to a lack of motivation, fatigue and mood swings. A deficit in serotonin can lead to depression; useful information if you’re in a funk… Now, if you’ve been eating too many takeouts and ‘convenience’ foods, do you still want to put junk in your gut?
5. Inner Dialoguing
What I’ve learned is that what you think you need isn’t always congruent with what your body actually needs or desires. As we’re all unique — you may disagree with me if you’re an identical twin — what you need to get going is a personalised plan. Throw that cookie cutter approach to self-development out the window… on second thoughts, you might want to take the generic programmes, books, e-courses you’ve invested in and tweak them to suit you. But how will you know if they suit you?
- JOURNAL — do some free writing. Focus your mind on finding out what your body needs today, or right now, in this moment. Then allow your pen to write. Write a couple of sentences to begin with, about anything, just to get your pen flowing (note, I didn’t say ‘type’). If you’re stuck on what to write, try writing a “What does my body wish me to know?” a few times and as your pen loosens up, your mind will sidestep, allowing your body’s intelligence to communicate to become known to you.
- MEDITATE — to access the wisdom that resides within you.
- MUSCLE-TEST — you can use simple Do It Yourself (DIY) muscle testing to see if your body wants apples, oranges, or fish instead of meat today. I do it in the supermarket, to discover what vegetables my body wants. If my sacral chakra needs attention, my body directs me to orange fruit and vegetables! If you want to go ‘deep’ consulting a kinesiologist can elicit information from your body that doesn’t rely on your memory, and can bypass the ‘stories’ we tell ourselves, to access the truth.
Sometimes it’s not as straightforward as lie there and let your body do the talking. I had food intolerances and the kinesiologist said she was unable to test me. She kept on coming up against a longstanding trust issue. It surprised me at the time, but then I remembered the times in my life where I’d been too trusting, then clammed up. And then I was living in ‘keep everyone at arm’s length’ land. She sent me away to work on it. I saw my reiki master and he healed it within me. I went back and voilà! She was able to test me and handed over a list which, to my dismay, included “Step away from the Rosé” — there are a couple of sparkling “Giggly girls’ night out” wines I liked, and “Bye bye houmous.”
- You can connect with your inner voice about anything, not necessarily food, but as your mind may dismiss the information that surfaces, thinking that it’s your imagination, food is a good one to practice the techniques on. If you’re stuck in a rut about a relationship, your career or life itself, you’ve got more invested in the outcome of the inner dialoguing exercise than if you’re determining whether you want more fruit, veg or both.
Self care is incredibly important. Schedule a pamper in at least once a week, if not more. It’ll make you feel better. The people you meet when you go for your weekly treat will probably have a high vibe or Zen-like calmness about them. If they don’t, do you really want a Debbie Downer doing your pampering treatment? If you’re feeling more compassion towards yourself, that’s may get you:
° Thinking, “How do I get out of this rut?”
° Feeling, “I want to get out of this rut.”
° Needing “to get out of this rut.”
Or, it’ll set you up for a good night’s sleep, both of which are good outcomes. Everybody feels better after a good night’s sleep and it gives your body chance to repair and regenerate cells that have been under stress.
7. Take Action
Create a goal to take you from thinking, “What’s the point?” to “What’s my next step?” Decide what you want to do — hire a coach or consultant, find yourself a mentor if you need support. Once you’ve identified what you want, make that your goal and break it down into little action points. Your goal doesn’t have to be major — though it can be. It has to move you, preferably in the “right” direction, but any movement is better than inertia.
I said I’d share 7 ways to get out of a rut when you’re stuck, but to end it there would be to omit the biggest jigsaw piece that most people still don’t know exists — which means they can’t know it’s missing, so they don’t go looking for it. And it’s this:
8. Your Gut Is Where Your Stuckness Lies
We all know that we use our head to think and our heart to feel. When you’re stuck in life, at times you won’t know whether to follow your heart, trust your gut or “be sensible” and use your head. The reason for that is that some of our organs have their own intelligence — the heart’s is the cardiac brain, the gut’s is the enteric brain. In addition to their respective biological functions, including circulation and digestion, they have what is known as Prime Functions.
The heart’s prime functions are desires, values and connecting with others.
The gut’s prime functions are:-
° Identity — it’s the first part of us that’s formed in the womb, so if you’re wanting to become a rock star or bestselling author, or even stuck over deciding whether to ‘swap’ your independent woman status for motherhood;
° Self-Preservation — if it’s risky, you’re not going to take action, which means, you’re stuck. Ask someone why they didn’t act, they may say they “lacked the guts.”
° Mobility — in evolutionary terms, we’ve evolved from sea slugs crawling along on our bellies, to walking on two feet. Watch any slug or snail — if they don’t make you squirm — and you’ll see why mobility is associated with the gut.
If you’re stuck, start working on your gut, and in your gut (gut flora). To start communicating with your gut — you know when your gut is trying to warn you, but your head can’t figure it out? ‘mBraining — Using Your Multiple Brains To Do Cool Stuff’ by Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka is like being handed the manual that should’ve come with your body when you were born, but didn’t. It will get you out of your funk, but I still advise dancing, because it’s fun.
Tricia Mitchell is, among many things, an mBraining Master Coach & Trainer, helping clients to live, love and work in aligned and integrated ways using spirituality and neuroscience based coaching, that is mBraining. If you want to connect, you can find her here