From time to time, most people will have emotional funks in life. These usually pass as time goes by, but there are things we can do to speed up the process. I recall a close friend sharing with me that he had been going through a number of personal and physical challenges as well as grieving the loss of a brother who had recently died. He had asked for advice on how to pull himself out of his downward spiral and, after listening to him, being there for him and sharing with him, he seemed to take a turn for the better. Later, I began to reflect on some of the ideas we shared about what we can do for ourselves when it seems like there is no way out of our emotional funk.
Here are four common traits and actions I’ve noticed over the years that enable many to rise above their challenges and move forward when most would feel there may be no way out:
They realize that how they see a particular situation determines what it becomes for them. In Genesis (1:26), we’re reminded that we have the ability to name things. We have dominion over the thoughts moving through our awareness and the perceptions we have about life that determine what our mental states will be. We are “meaning makers” and, as a result, we can determine the meaning of any situation and induce a more favorable state of mind, which ultimately becomes our experience. This is what prayer can do for us. As Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.”
They activate their body, which is inherently connected to the mind. Our mind reflects what our body is doing: how it’s breathing, its posture, how it’s moving and even the environment that it’s in. Just changing one’s posture, breathing deeply and going out for a walk on the beach can change your emotional state for the better.
Rather than indulging in their woes, they see them as seeds for transformation. Our main complaints tell us what we believe. If we boil these complaints down to identify dis-empowering beliefs, we enable transformation of those beliefs into positive affirmations. Rather than saying, “change this situation or these people,” those who rise above their misfortunes say, “God, open my eyes so that I may see the benefit or lesson in this experience.” As a result, insights occur which allow them to see themselves, the situation and others from a “God’s eye view."
They find someone they can help. There was once a prominent psychiatrist who was asked, “If you found yourself in emotional despair, what would you do?” One would have thought that, because of the field that he was in, he would go see a fellow psychiatrist or therapist. But he simply said he would find someone who was worse off than he was and do what he could to help that person. He was aware that this would do wonders to help him rise above his challenges.
Although we all occasionally experience down moments or funks, we can take solace in knowing that “this too shall pass.” Let this statement serve as a reminder of the temporary nature of the human condition. Knowing this will bring greater ease in utilizing our power to implement any of the strategies above to ease our passage along the way.
Peace and Blessings,