GETTING OUT OF A FUNK

I’m in a bit of a funk.

Something is off, though I am not sure what.

When something happens and it upsets me I can figure out how to solve the problem, and then the bad mood will go away.

When I don’t have a reason for being in a weird mood I become frustrated. Everything piles up on me without explanation.

I feel lonely and empty. I start to view everything from a negative light. I’m not like myself at all.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

How do we escape these feelings if we don’t know where they come from?

I prefer to focus on solutions rather than the problems so let’s ignore the thousands of hours we could spend figuring out the why, and instead focus on the how.

These are four tips I remind myself of every time I get into one of these moods. I hope that they help you as much as they have helped me.

Life lessons

Write your grateful list.

You don’t have to be surrounded by family eating turkey to be grateful.

You will be beat up, tired, lonely and heartbroken throughout this life. During these times being grateful for whatever you do have can be the only thing that saves you.

I jump to this tip as soon as I feel even a slight funk coming on.

Write down ten things you are grateful for, or twenty, or thirty. As many as you need to remember that there is always something in your life worth feeling good about.

The worse off you are, the deeper you will have to dig. But if you find something to be grateful for at rock bottom, you’ll never have to worry about falling again.

Change the channel.

If you are in a bad mood, think back to a time when you were happy. What was really all that different?

You still had troubles, worries, fears and problems. You were still the same living, breathing person you are today.

I remind myself of this to remember that my mood isn’t who I am.
It’s just a channel I’m on.

Do anything you can to change that channel. Don’t give in and listen to that sad music, instead watch a stand up special.

Instead of writing your sad poetry try playing chess online, meditating, reading or anything that is outside of the norm for you.

Shake things up and change your channel.

Focus on others.

Being upset requires a certain degree of selfishness. “Why are things so bad for me? Why don’t they love me? Why can’t just catch a break?”

I’m not saying it’s wrong, that’s just the way I look at it.

To get out of the funk, you have to switch your focus to others.

I prefer to do this by messaging someone I haven’t spoken to in a while out of the blue. I don’t try to get their advice or burden them with my problems. I tell them that I miss them. I try to express how much they mean to me regardless of how close we are to each other.

There are many ways to shift your focus though. Anything from volunteering to spending some time petting a cat will help.

It’s hard to feel down on yourself when you are focused on someone else. I guarantee if you make another person’s day brighter, you will catch some of that light as well.

When all else fails, decide to reset tomorrow.

Sometimes I am in a funk, I’ve tried everything, and there is no way out.

At this point I remind myself that this is just a feeling, not who I am. Maybe today is a write off, but tomorrow is a new day.

You will be happy again, and unfortunately, you will also be sad again.

But every day ends, and every new morning will begin. Focus on restarting tomorrow.

Writing this has helped me with my funk. For that, I thank you. By doing this I have focused on others and changed the channel.

I think today is a bit of a write off, so I’ll go to bed now.
And tomorrow… well, tomorrow is another day and I am grateful.

Where Did All The Laughter Go?

I recently began a practice where I watched stand-up comedy every single day. It wasn’t something I really considered important or practical, but it was something I enjoyed.

I constantly searched for new standup specials: Louis C.K. Gabriel Iglesias, Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, John Pinette, Katt Williams, etc.

I laughed very hard. Every single day I inserted a reason to laugh without even realizing it. As children we laugh about 300 times a day. As an adult, that number is reduced to a meager 7 times.

laughing

How did we go from 300 to 7? Did we cross some bridge of tears and now here we are: Mindless drones that wake up, go to work, participate in office politics, watch Breaking Bad, and then go to sleep and die?

Laughter is really hard as an adult. It must be, right? Going from 300 to 7? There must have been some sort of life-changing traumatic event that occurred between childhood and adulthood.

We need to get back to our childhood roots. We need to laugh more. Here are some the reasons why we don’t laugh and the activities that will help:

A) Play

As children we spend all day playing. We go to school and have about 2 hours of playtime between recesses and lunches. Then after 3PM it was all systems go and my friends and I would play until dark.

All the play was squeezed out of everyday till there wasn’t anymore time. That cycle continued every single day.

Every day, from now on, I will play.

B) We drink alcohol 

Drinking alcohol can be a fun time. I don’t want to be a downer or a hypocrite. I drink alcohol sometimes. It’s a part of being social.

For a short time, it helps loosen inhibitions and there are a variety of reasons (sex) why someone would want to participate. But the truth is that alcohol is a depressant.

When you wake up from a night of drinking, you feel slightly more depressed than your baseline of depression. Then, you go to a shitty job (because work sucks), filled with other depressed medicated people.

Then we feel like we’re in a loop, trapped and struggling to reinvent ourselves. Reduce your drinking to a few times a MONTH (if that) and see how you feel.

C) We are afraid to look stupid 

It’s interesting that children get embarrassed about some things. But as adults we monitor ourselves constantly. The feeling is multiplied ten-fold when we reach adulthood.

You’re judged by your looks, opinions, and what we do moment-by-moment. We wear the right uniform to work. We say the right things. We categorize ourselves in the correct groups, never falling out of the line for fear of scrutiny from our peers.

Kids don’t worry about these things on a daily basis. They jump for joy, dance in public and CRY. As adults, we can’t cry when we don’t get our raise or promotion.

At night, speaking for myself, I ponder what I did wrong, what people thought of me, what I wrote, and what I said. I replay my day, totally squandering the opportunities to have fun and laugh.

“Be who you are and say what you think because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter, don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

D) Adults have to clean their washrooms

We have responsibilities and priorities. We have to worry about money and life and sex and taking out the garbage. It isn’t fun not being able to handle our responsibilities, which inevitably happens at least once or twice in life.

You feel like killing yourself and crying and then medicating yourself to feel better, which makes it incredibly hard to laugh.

Although laughter is more of a cure for endless responsibilities.

E) Fresh Prince became Walter White

When I was a kid the best show on TV was watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was filled with wholesome laughs and pressing family matters demonstrated by Will Smith.

Then TV shows became about “friends” living in lavish apartments with no ‘real’ problems except for who is sleeping with whom.

Now the ‘best’ TV shows are about meth dealers who kill people and medieval beheadings (spoiler alert).

These shows make it hard to insert laughs in your day. There are a lot of funny shows on TV such as: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy, Arrested Development, Seinfeld, Brooklyn 99, and Simpsons.

Some of those are no longer on air, but you’re already on the Internet (reading this) so start streaming. Start with those and if you want to add to the list in the comments, I’d be eternally grateful.

F) Get some funny people

Spending time with good people is always a surefire way for more laughs. Recently, I’ve been hanging out with my neighbor (I know, I’ve mentioned her a lot, but bare with me).

She’s incredibly funny and easy to talk to. There hasn’t been a moment with her that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. She provides some quality side-splitting laughs and one of the few that remains consistent.

Spend some more time with your friends. Set aside some time each day to hang out with someone that makes you laugh.

G) Get some fast laughs 

With YouTube and High Speed Internet, quick laughs are only about 15 seconds away. Here’s what I’ve watched over the past couple days:

Speaking for the current moment in time, I still feel like I am not quite up to 300 laughs a day. I think about too many things a day. Ideas, what I’m going to write next, my goals and aspirations, which leaves very little time for laughter.

I have to learn how to take my 50,000 thoughts a day to 15,000 so I have more time for funny thoughts and laughter. Slowly I will work on it. How many times do you laugh per day? Insert more laughs into your day and grow happier.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

Don't stress it!

I was in a war yesterday.

It was me against stress. I’ll be honest, stress won this time. I let it affect me for the whole day. It caused me to think negatively and I became temperamental. It happens to everyone, but this isn’t a side of me that I like very much.

I wish there was a way I could think myself out of stress. When I get home, I always realize that everything is okay. The world hasn’t ended.

But that’s what it felt like all day. The world was ending, crumbling around me. It’s so dramatic, but when you get caught up in the moment it can feel like you are drowning. All you want is a breath of fresh air.

Stress

Stress can have an extremely negative impact on your life.

Everyone deals with stress differently, but I think it is safe to say that you are not your normal self when you are stressed out. You might become agitated, you may treat people worse and become more susceptible to mood swings.

If you are someone who is stressed out on a daily basis, it can define you as a person. I’m sure we all know one person who spends way too much time being stressed out by life. Either they worry about work too much, or their relationships are affecting them negatively.

Whatever the case may be, we know that stress definitely doesn’t do any good for ourselves.

Sometimes you can’t avoid being stressed, but you can try to dampen it.

Whenever you find you are starting to stress about something, I want you to think back to all the times you have felt the same way. It eventually ended, didn’t it? You are still here, alive and breathing.

So you know at the very least that this probably won’t kill you. That is something to be happy about right?
HURRAY!

Take thirty seconds to stop what you are doing and breathe. Focus on your breath and feel it deep within your stomach. This always helps me. No matter what you are doing, you almost always have thirty seconds to spare.

I have one trick that is kind of weird.

I imagine myself ten years in the future, at a bar with friends. Everyone is laughing. We are talking about how funny it is that we used to think everything was such a big deal.

Then I break out my story about the current situation I am in and how trivial it really was. Of course everyone dies of laughter because the future me is hilarious.

Stress and I are like sparring partners.

Every time I experience stress, I take it as a chance to learn how to beat it more effectively. I start to learn his tendencies and tricks. I think I’m getting better, but I guess I’ll find out the next time we meet.
Until then, I’ll try not to take life so seriously.

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.”
-Charlie Chaplin