Mental Shifts and Magic Tricks to Get Out of a Funk

Honestly, I’ve been feeling funky.

The cold snow makes me want to cuddle in my blankets all day. If I go outside, there’s the possibility of slipping on the icy concrete pavement.

It feels safer to be inside.

In the midst of cabin fever, I’ve grown anxious wanting to do things and be places. I’ve been wanting to be somewhere else.

Not necessarily a beach front with a pina colada. However now that I’ve typed that, that sounds refreshing.

I’m longing to be someplace where there’s an intersection of mindfulness, community, and growth.

As a leader who guides others toward these spaces, I realize I’m not practicing what I preach. It’s ok. I try not to be too hard on myself since I have a tendency to do so. It’s a practice.

As I hang out in the living room thinking about what to do, I remember there’s a simple trick that I use to consciously get out of the funk.

It’s called the pattern interruption.

Imagine sleeping for seven hours. Then a loud gong vibrates in your room. You’re suddenly awake and no longer sleeping.

Imagine lying on the couch wishing to be someplace else. Then you decide within a 5 second time period that you’re going to get up and go to the gym.

Imagine working at a desk for eight hours in a row without taking a bathroom break. Then your colleagues gather around your desk and force you to join them at happy hour. You oblige with hesitation.

This is the pattern interruption. You’re making a distinct change from the action you’re currently in to do something radically different. This involves the union of the mind and body.

You make a distinct change and take action to do something radically different. This involves the union of mind and body.

There are two types of motivation to inspire this interruption:

  1. Intrinsic motivation
  2. Extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation means the change happens within.

There’s a defining moment that spurs you into action immediately.

Perhaps you feel a sensation in your belly screaming “hunger!” You go to the fridge and get a snack.

Maybe you feel weak and genuinely want to feel stronger. You finally force yourself off the couch to go for a walk.

Extrinsic motivation means there’s a change happening outside of your mind and body.

This type of motivation inspires you to take action and satisfy an external desire.

The dog won’t stop barking because he has to go to the bathroom. You grab the leash and take him for a walk.

Your mom calls you 4 times in one week. You understand she’s thinking about you, so you pick up the phone to ease her worry.

When you’re in a funk, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can help you unlock the chains holding you in a state of stuckness and lethargy.

The decision to get out of a funk needs to be made within a five second time period. If you wait any longer, you’ll repeat the same behavior and get the same result.

Don’t always rely on the outside world to motivate you. Most of the time, you need to find it from within.

Find the reason to get out of your funk, but be kind and compassionate toward yourself.

There’s no need to make a dramatic shift.

All you need to do is decide to make a gentle shift that takes you out of the funk.

  • Make some tea
  • Take a walk
  • Read a chapter of an inspirational book
  • Call a friend
  • Write in your journal for five minutes
  • Monitor your breath for a few moments
  • Watch a funny YouTube Video
  • Bake a cake
  • Go to the gym
  • Surprise a friend with a random gift

The decision to get out of the funk can happen sooner than you think.

Don’t over think the decision.

In the words of Nike: Just do it.

It’s that simple.

  • Clay Peet

    Thanks for the tips Max. I’ve been in a funk for a couple of weeks now and this has inspired me to interrupt the pattern.

  • Hell yea, that’s what I love to hear! I know its not always easy, I feel ya 110%. Just remember to be kind and honest with yourself… then gently get back into action :-)