14 Ways To Get Out of a Funk in Life

A funk in life is where we just feel unmotivated and down about everything. We start to get lazy in our actions and have a mindset of apathy.

Fortunately, you can know how to get out of a funk and be more inspired in life again. Science has discovered many ways we can lift our moods and achieve the life we want.

There are two keys to getting out of our rut. The first key is boosting your mood. Being diligent on practicing self-care techniques well help you feel better.

The second key is to give yourself a goal to achieve in life. When you have a direction you’re moving in and something you’re working towards, you can be more able to stay motivated.

These tips based on scientific research will allow you to get out of your rut and get back to living more.

Foggy sky, green trees, how to get out of a funk

Boost your mood

1. Watch nature on TV

One of my favorite things to see on television is a nature documentary. It’s amazing how unique and diverse the plants and animals are in this world.

It can be easy to feel a sense of awe in watching how life moves in the wild. Evidently, a study has found that watching nature programs can uplift our mood and reduce negative emotions.

University of Exeter researchers got 96 participants to feel boredom by watching someone describe their office job.

After watching that, the participants were shown scenes of an underwater coral reef. The results showed that sadness and boredom were reduced in these participants.

Documentaries on nature aren’t hard to find on YouTube. Try taking time to watch one and see how it makes you feel.

2. Listen to nature sounds

Similar to the last suggestion, recent research has discovered that listening to nature sounds can also help boost mood.

The study was conducted at a workplace. They used natural sounds that mimicked the sound of water flowing in a mountain stream.

Workers reported being able to perform better at their task, and also feeling more positive about their work environment than in previous sessions.

I can think of many times I’ve sat outside, listened to the sound of the birds chirping, and felt myself begin to relax more.

Think of one of your favorite nature sounds and try listening to it more often.

3. Walk in the park

U.S and Canadian researchers found that a walk in the park can improve the mood of those in a depressed mood.

It was useful in improving memory and attention as well. It kind of reflects the idea that sometimes we just need to clear our heads.

I know when I’ve gone for a walk it’s helped me to not think about certain issues in my life as much as before.

At times it might have even helped me gain a little bit more perspective and come to a conclusion on the best way forward.

The study noted that the mood boosting benefits can be gained whether you’re walking in a nature setting or an urban setting.

If you can, get outside and walk around somewhere.

4. Eat mood boosting food

The science has become more clear that diet can have a huge impact on how we feel.

The good mood foods and beverages that can be helpful include:

  • Chocolate
  • Berries
  • Omega-3 foods
  • Tea

These particular foods and drinks contain chemicals that are known to help us feel good. Something else also to keep in mind is that certain foods can decrease our mood.

Typically, these are meals that are not good for us, such as fast food. Make it easier to get out of your down feeling by eating the right things.

5. Listen to upbeat music

Much like listening to nature sounds, it’s easier to choose to be more positive and happy when you’re listening to upbeat music.

Without even going into the details of the study, it almost feels like a no-brainer. It seems like we don’t really think enough about how much everything influences us.

If you watch a sad movie, what’s going to happen? You’re probably going to be in a sad mood. Vice versa, if we watch a happy movie, we’ll probably feel happier afterwards.

And why do we think certain songs get called workout music? Because it influences us to get the most out of our workout.

In following that logic, I know for myself, when I’ve listened to upbeat melodies found in Motown music or sometimes pop songs, I’m usually in a better mood.

I can understand the concept of listening to music that relates to how you feel. If you need to cope with that sad emotion you might be feeling for a few moments, that’s fine.

But whenever you’re ready to accomplish the goal of getting out of that sad mindset, then it’s best to switch up the music to something more uplifting.

6. Increase your physical activity

A team that included scientists at Johns Hopkins University discovered that increased motor activity is linked to improved mood.

They found that people who experienced a higher activity level in one time period of the day, on average, would feel an improved mood in the next time period of the day.

In contrast, it’s also known that too much sitting around can make us feel more sad.

It’s important to make it a regular part of your day to get up and move around.

7. Reach out to others

When stressful events are the cause of our rut, scientists at Concordia University suggest reaching out to others can boost our mood.

We’ve all probably had moments where when we were down in life, a friend knew just the right words to say to make us feel better.

You may not have many friends right now, but you can always reach out to someone. There are 24 hour hotlines and chat rooms that exist for people who are lonely.

Don’t ever feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to. Technology has made companionship more available to us than ever before.

8. Watching cat videos

Of course, not everybody is a fan of cats. But there has been research that’s discovered all the cute cat videos on the internet can be helpful in making people feel better.

Researchers discovered that people who were into cats or into both cats and dogs, felt more positive and energetic after watching the videos.

It’s interesting they didn’t test people who were just dog lovers, so I’m not sure how much that would affect them.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if we encounter the same benefits just watching videos of any animals we find cute, adorable, or nice to look at.

I’ve watching many dog videos and felt better afterwards. You can choose to watch videos of animals you like and see how much it uplifts you.

9. Warm weather

Unfortunately, in the winter, it’s pretty cold for most of us. But in the spring and the summer, whenever that weather warms up, it’s important to get out and enjoy it.

University of Michigan researchers discovered that spending 30 minutes out in warm weather resulted in improved mood and memory in participants.

The optimal temperature was apparently 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Thinking about how our ancestors spent most of their time outside, we probably weren’t designed to be inside all the time.

Maybe we were meant to function at our best out in nature.

10. Sing

Researchers from the University of Easy Anglia discovered that people who sing in groups can experience an improved sense of wellbeing.

Participants noted that it gave them a sense of belonging, made them feel happier, and they had fun.

If you’re a little bit shy about singing in front of others, you can get similar benefits singing alone as well.

Achieve a goal

11. Monitor your progress

According to research that was published by the American Psychological Association, when you frequently monitor progress towards your goals, you increase your chances of success.

The research even found that success was more likely when you reported your progress publicly or physically recorded it.

An example provided was related to diet and weight loss. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, that determines what progress you need to focus on.

If you’re trying to change your diet, then your focus needs to be monitoring how well you’re eating throughout the week.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then your focus needs to be on monitoring how much weight your losing regularly.

It’s something that’s worked for me many times when I’ve tracked my progress in my exercising. Seeing just a little bit of progress made me more motivated to keep working on my personal goals.

12. Plan for a single goal

While we all have a variety of goals we want to achieve, it can be complicated to make specific plans for more than one goal.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research concluded that people get overwhelmed when juggling multiple goals.

People were more likely to succeed when they focused on forming specific plans for one goal.

It fits with a similar philosophy I live by when I’m trying to accomplish things in my day. Rather than having a long to-do list, I focus on getting no more than three big things done.

I don’t always get all three of them done, but if I do two out of three, or maybe even just the one that’s most important to me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

The study does note that you can sometimes be successful planning for multiple goals if you see someone else juggling more.

Apparently it might cause us to see what we’re juggling as more manageable, and thus we’re more likely to benefit from the planning.

13. Share goals to higher status people

In my post on how to stick your new year’s resolutions, I mentioned one of the researched tips was to not tell anybody.

Interestingly, a different study found that if you’re going to tell somebody, you’re more likely to benefit from sharing your goals with someone you believe has a higher status than you.

It reminds me of a story in an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with rapper Kanye West. They once saw each other in New York before he was famous.

Her driver stopped, she rolled down her window, and asked Kanye how the car he was driving in was like, because she liked it.

Oprah explains in the interview, that like many other people she’s met said, Kanye said he was going to be on her show one day. But she was more focused on knowing about the car.

Fast forward later, they’re talking about that on the show. Would that have happened without him mentioning that to her? Perhaps.

But Kanye did it mention it to Oprah, who was someone that was much higher status than him at the time. Whoever it is that you admire or look up to that’s higher status, tell them your goal.

See if it helps motivate you even more to succeed at what you’re trying to accomplish.

14. Be specific

This tip piggybacks off of the earlier tip about planning. Whenever you want to achieve a goal, you need to make specific plans.

It’s probably one of the biggest secrets I’ve discovered in having success in life. Whenever I write out a specific regiment to achieve a specific outcome, often times, it happens.

I wanted to become more muscular at one point in my life. I wrote down all the foods I would eat, the calories I’d get in a day, the weight I would lift each week.

After a few months, I packed on more muscle than I’d ever had in my life. The same can be true with the things you want to accomplish.

You just have to figure out what small actions will need be done on a regular basis, and then follow through on consistently doing them.

Along the way, look for new and different information that you can add to your strategy to make it more likely to happen.

Getting out and moving forward

As I’ve laid out in this article, ending your rut, your funk, or whatever you want to call it, requires two things.

It first requires us to start bringing our mood back up. That allows us to feel more motivated to do things with our lives again.

Then, we need to set a goal that will help give us a purpose in life. Without some kind of specific aspiration to pursue, you’ll be less motivated to stay out of your rut.

Have a dream you want to fulfill that will keep you wanting to get out of bed in the morning and put in the work.

When you choose to start taking actions that boost your mood, and pursuing goals that motivate you to live, you’ll be up and out of that rut before you know it.

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  1. Maria Pinto says:

    I simply love Cat Videos, & any Animal Videos for that matter. Belonging to Peta can at times bring me down if I let my thoughts about animal cruelty overwhelm me but then knowing there are so many people who rescue, care for, & adopt animals (many with special needs) is very uplifting.

    Nature is a great healer too, when we get back to the natural world, away from our plugged in devices, and music too that can take your head to another world if you let it.
    Even something like doing the dishes is more enjoyable to music.

    And yes chocolate, as I have been eating some vegan pecan fudge I made this week!

    1. Indeed, we can be grateful for so much that can uplift us when we’re at our lowest. Vegan fudge sounds tasty, Maria. I hope you’ve been enjoying your holidays.