How to Pull Yourself Out of an Emotional Funk

We all have them — those days when we wake up and see our half-full glass is now half-empty. Life is a continuous path filled with ups and downs, but if it appears as though you’ve spent more time on the low ground than the high lately, here are strategies that can help rescue you out of an emotional slump. We all must develop a list of “go to” coping skills to help manage times of discouragement when we feel like we’re losing our battles. The first step on that list is to believe that we alone have the power to pull ourselves out of our negative circumstances, however large or small they may be.

The second step and one that is key to triumphing over any matter is to realize that the battle is fought and won in the mind. Those who think and believe they are winners and achievers usually are. Those who consider themselves weak, inadequate, or incompetent will begin to feel that they are those detrimental attributes and will consequently behave in ways that sabotage or obstruct their success. Which, of course, will only reinforce their initial negative assessments, perpetuate the problems and expand the damaging cycle.

Adjust your thinking:

  • Believe you are a capable and innovative person who will not be victimized by your circumstances.
  • Make a list of experiences you’ve had that were seemingly impossible at the time of their occurrence and outline how those issues have been resolved. It will help illustrate that even monumental problems usually do have solutions.
  • Make a list of your positive qualities and skills – realize that you have value and worth.
  • Make a list of ten things you are grateful for this very moment. Try to develop a habit of cultivating a grateful heart every day – it’s the most effective mood booster available.
  • Imagine what you consider to be the ideal outcome to your situation and outline what must happen to bring about that result.

Thought Don’ts:

  • Sabotage yourself with negative thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “I don’t deserve that.”
  • Do not submit to the temptation of staying in the “I’m a victim of my circumstances” mentality.
  • Wallow in self-pity – that will only extend your melancholy.
  • Blame others – that simply breeds negative feelings and unforgiveness, which will prove to be more emotionally painful in the long run
  • Tell yourself you are doomed or a magnet for bad luck. Because if you think this way that’s exactly what you’ll have to look forward to.

Take Action

  • Call or meet a good friend who you know will help boost your spirits (be sure that person is not negative or pessimistic by nature).
  • Read an inspiring book or listen to an uplifting audiobook.
  • Make a list of ways you’ve successfully managed stress before and implement one of those actions, such as going for a run, painting, journaling, listening to your favorite music. These endeavors might not directly solve your issue at hand but they’ll provide some mental therapy so you can have a more clear perspective about your future course of action.

Actions to Avoid

  • Stay away from people who are gloomy or defeatists.
  • Don’t succumb to destructive behavior: overconsumption of alcohol, drugs, or other substances do not contribute to solutions
  • Don’t retaliate. The temptation to want to punish or cause another to suffer or have to “pay for what they’ve done” can only exacerbate the difficulty.
  • Avoid the comparison trap. There may be others who seemingly have more but consider how many people are not as fortunate as you are.

We can’t go through life on a constant high – that’s just not reality. But we can believe positively and constructively and make choices to improve our lives, and that’s a behavior no one else can do for us. Learning to effectively manage our thoughts and beliefs will lead to more productive feelings which will consequently improve our physical reality.