How to get out of a funk and get into action

Have you ever found yourself sitting on a comfortable couch, thinking about all those things you need to do, but all the things you aren’t doing? You start feeling lazy, tired, and maybe just a little down. You know there’s plenty you could and should be doing but for some reason you just aren’t motivated.

It’s tough. It can feel like a downward spiral: once you get into that funk it can be hard to pull yourself back out.

So, how do you pull yourself out of a funk?

A few years ago here in Sydney there were some terrible bushfires taking place. On the radio I heard an interview with a psychologist who talked about how some people panic in such situations, and simply freeze; not knowing what to do. If you freeze even for a few seconds, this could be the difference between surviving and perishing. The psychologist advised that in such situations it is best that you start doing something, anything. Something simple and seemingly useless could actually save your life. Apparently, when you start getting into action – whatever it is that you do – something happens in your brain which puts you into an active state which then perpetuates. Hence you are starting to do the things you need to do.

Maybe this is the secret to getting out of a funk: get into action. Do something, anything. Even something simple and unrelated to what you want to do. Just do something that is active in some way, which will then put your brain into the active state and spur you into further action. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, just do something.

I tried this out recently. I was in an especially lazy state (watching a tv show, drinking some wine, starting to feel lazy), and I absolutely had to get something done that night. Rather than let myself settle too far into the lazy state, I had to do something to get myself out of the funk and into action. Rather than allow the procrastinating thoughts to overcome me, I pushed them aside and actually pushed the majority of my thoughts aside. I thought more about the Thing I Had To Do, and let that guide my actions. I therefore minimised my thoughts, narrowed my focus to the one thing I needed to do, and I got out of the funk. I simply took on a simple action which was unrelated to that thing, and I gained momentum and did what I needed to do, quicker than I would have thought possible. It all started with the thought of what I needed to achieve. And from that, a simple action led to the thing getting done.

I think it can be one of those lessons that can seem “easier said than done”. Breaking out of a funk can be darn hard!! However if you remember that you can take a simple action (a small step), that’s all you need to do to begin the chain reaction to productivity. Just take one small, active step and watch how your brain changes and you get yourself into action. You might even surprise yourself.

Best wishes


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