Fighting The Funk

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips, the one-day a week when I dispense useful, actionable and empowering tips!

There’s no such thing as good without bad, but what if you didn’t have bad days and instead just had bad moments? Yes, it’s possible. I’ve learned how to reduce my bad experiences to moments vs. days and I’ve taught my clients how to do it as well. Below are my 3 faves from my arsenal of funk-fighting tips:

Recognize The Funk. Recognizing how you’re feeling is the first step. The alternative is to spend hours reacting and behaving badly before you realize that the common denominator to your negative interactions is You. Ideally you want to recognize it in the moment – not later that day or further in the week.

Honor The Funk. Somewhere in our misguided childhood we learned to try to avoid having certain feelings. Trying to avoid feeling a certain way is not only impossible, but it sends our nervous system the message that certain feelings are dangerous, making us even more uncomfortable when we experience them. No one’s ever died from a feeling. You make it much worse when you attempt to suppress it. Breathe into it. Say to yourself, “I am feeling [insert feeling here]. It’s OK. I am safe. It will pass like every feeling does.”

Do not over-identify with the feeling by saying, “I am [insert feeling here].” You are not your emotions. You are not happy or sad. You feel happy or sad. It’s an experience, and when we begin to see the feeling in this way, it is less overwhelming. Do NOT, I repeat, do not attempt to change how you’re feeling.

Interrupt The Funk. A pattern interrupt is something that interrupts a behavioral or cognitive process. Without getting too deep (it’s a blog, not a dissertation), you need to engage in a series of actions that will produce different chemicals in your brain, allowing for a shift in emotions. Different actions work for different people, but essentially I want you to stimulate smell, engage in physical activity and drink something, all within 5 minutes. A pattern interrupt that works for me is:

a)   Immediately begin running downstairs (I live in NYC so there’s never a lack of stairs for me to jump on)…I go about 4 flights & then race up as fast as I can.

b)   Put on some lavender essential oil (my brand is linked to here) and breathe through my nose deeply.

c)    Drink an ice cold glass of water.

By the time I’m done with this (less than 3 minutes in total), the vast majority of my funk has passed – not because I ignored it, suppressed it or numbed it with a negative coping mechanism. Because I recognized it, honored it, and interrupted it.