Every so often, life can give us one of those sucker punches that plummet us into a funk. The aftermath can leave us feeling listless with no real desire to do much more than to curl up into a ball. Getting into a funk often happens when we least expect it or when we are ill prepared to deal with it. And, when it is left unchecked, we can spiral into a major bout of depression and despair.
What can you do to refocus and renew from a devastating situation? How can you convert your negative emotions into more positive and productive ones?
Out of every challenging moment comes an opportunity for growth and renewal. While key times of the year like the new year or your birthday may motivate you to toy with self-improvement notions, your greatest positive changes often come from the hardest knocks in life. No matter how dark it may seem, have faith in your ability to overcome and prevail.
Take Time to Reflect
Whatever sparked your funk, take time to evaluate and learn from this adversity. As you go through your recovery, you will most likely be hit with a diverse range of emotions, including denial, anger, fear, resentment, helplessness, and sadness to name a few. Acknowledge these emotions. Give yourself time and space to delve into what just happened, how you felt about it, and what you might have done differently. Own up to the reality of the experience and embrace any lessons to be learned.
Make a Commitment
You have choices. You can wallow in your negativity or choose to practice positivity. In all, getting out of a funk is up to you. Despite the sucker punch, catch your breath and take the necessary steps to move forward. So much more in life is awaiting you if you will only give it a chance.
Be Good to Yourself
A key part of healing from a devastating experience is to take care of yourself. Be your best protection and avoid the negativity of people and situations that will only bring you further down.
Try these tips for success…
Rise and shine.
Even when you least feel like it, get up, get dressed, and get going. Make it a point to do something small to get out of the house. This might include running an errand to the supermarket or the bank or meeting a friend for coffee.
Take in the fresh air and sunshine.
Use the natural benefits of air and sunlight to replenish your soul and revitalize your body. It’s amazing what a good walk in nature can do for your spirits.
Give yourself time outs.
Instead of keeping yourself so busy that you (hopefully) forget your woes, do the opposite. Take time for yourself. Set aside downtime to just breathe, meditate, and relax. It will be far more beneficial than stuffing your feelings that will most likely resurface at a later point.
Take a trip.
To clear your mind and gain a different perspective, take a fun trip to some place you have never visited before. Make it your adventure to explore new possibilities and to change up your story.
Carve out time for exercise.
Exercise relieves stress and improves moods. Do some sort of exercise each day to give yourself that emotional lift. Spending time walking, biking, running, working out at the gym, playing tennis or other such activities can make all the difference in the world for your mental outlook.
Focus on positive affirmations.
Transform your negative thoughts to positive ones by starting your day off right. Take a few moments each morning to acknowledge the good in life. Focus on your blessing, including your own exceptional talents and accomplishments.
Go back to the basics.
Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and get adequate sleep. To improve your emotional health, it is essential for you to take care of your physical well-being.
Do something you love.
Engage in fun activities that stimulate your mind and get your creative juices flowing. The excitement of doing something that is new, rewarding, and enjoyable can activate the feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Refocus on the present:
The feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed can distract you from savoring the moment. Stop dwelling on past negativity and start focusing on the here and now. Tap into your sight, touch, smell, and taste to become more fully aware of your present surroundings and actions. Use this technique to relax and center yourself.
Revitalize for a new tomorrow:
Moving toward a healthier and more positive state of mind will take both time and patience. Be good to yourself. Surround yourself with a select group of friends and family members who can offer you a blend of encouragement and support. Intentionally, let go of the past, live in the present, and make plans for a better future. The ultimate control of your journey rests with you, so make it one worth traveling.
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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and a contributing member to LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.
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