I had an interesting day today. It started out great, like any other day, but then a series of strange events led me to feeling anxious by about 5:30 PM.
Now I don’t normally feel anxious, in fact I’m always a little bit excited about working (not normal…I know…) but the work I was doing became a blur.
I was unable to focus or concentrate on any task.
I began to ask myself a ton of questions:
Was I just in a bad mood?
Had I not had enough exercise?
Did I have cabin fever from working all afternoon in a not-so-traditional factor for me?
Was I trying to do to much?
Was I undertaking too many things?
Did I lack focus on one particular aspect of my day that needed to be done?
We all have those days right? I know you’ve been there…
How many times has it happened to you when you came home and thought, ‘I’m just not in the mood for exercise right now, I’m going to skip on my workout for today,’ or maybe it was, ‘I just don’t feel like cooking right now, lets eat out?’
Repeated often, these actions, yield poor overall performance in your nutrition and exercise program.
How can we stall these ‘give-in’ behaviors and promote consistent adherence instead?
By improving your skills in awareness, understanding and acceptance.
We all experience episodes like these. Is it a lack of will-power? I don’t think so.
It got me thinking in my funk, as it usually does, but then a thought occurred to me, and I was able to move on.
I went back to work later this evening, this time writing and my feeling of anxiousness was gone.
I’ve been trying to get in touch recently with a wide variety of coaches (so if you know anyone I haven’t thought of…) to get view points on a project I’m developing.
Feedback, interpretations, I wanna know what other coaches in other fields (away from fitness) are doing to get their clients results.
When I asked one coach in particular what he did with his clients, he told me that he essentially helps them become aware of their current level of mental functioning.
The basis or essence of his coaching service delivery is to help his clients develop better awareness, understanding, and acceptance of their state of mind, before they do anything else.
The first step in his coaching program was to help his clients understand when they are operating at a high level of mental functioning and or when they are in a low-level of mental functioning.
Both can be too extreme for optimal performance, you can be too aroused or not aroused enough. In his eyes, the ability to identify when we’re not operating in an optimal state of mind takes precedence.
I think this is a great idea and after further analysis I’m very inclined to agree.
I’m not yet talking about understanding why — a common theme on this blog — you are operating at a too low, or too high a level of functioning, but rather being aware of and understanding that you are.
Too often we are looking for a causality, — not to be confused with the why or purpose often discussed on this blog — we seek answers of understanding, as opposed to developing true understanding of the situation at hand.
Why am I feeling depressed?
Is it my work?
Is it my money concerns?
Is it the argument I had with my spouse or children yesterday?
Was it the presentation I blew yesterday?
The business proposal I lost out on last week?
Did I get enough sleep last night? Is my blood sugar low?
These are all inquires we make to solve the real question at hand, ‘why am I feeling this way?’
In fact, they cloud the fact that often all of those things listed above are often symptoms of a sub-optimal frame of mind, and do not ‘cause’ the sub-optimal state of mind.
The sub-optimal mindset is what led to the symptoms above.
Everybody with me still?
There is really only one fundamental argument to ‘why’ — note, not cause, aim to ignore seeking a cause, no matter how tempting it may be — I am feeling a particular way and it’s because I’m operating at too low a level of mental functioning or too high a level of mental functioning.
Despite the conventional view, no one operates at an optimal level, all the time.
We get excited and we rush presentations, speeches, business pitches or we feel blue and find it difficult to be ‘motivated’ to accomplish mundane but necessary tasks.
Recognize that this is often completely beyond our control, and rather than trying to find the root cause we simply need to learn to accept the situation.
We are not capable of moving past or onward from a funk, until we recognize what’s happening, we understand it our level of mental functioning and we accept it.
Today I was operating at a low-level of functioning, and the more I thought about it, the more I worried about it I became about it, the worse it got, the more I tried to use positive affirmations to move past it, the worse it got.
An external force (my girlfriend) helped me realize where I was, so that I could then recognize it, and accept it.
I was then able to move past it, with some distraction behaviors — another commonly used mindset/behavior tool — that helped me regain focus on other tasks.
I got up from my chair, went for a walk, cooked some dinner, read a book and during that entire process I just stopped thinking about it and I miraculously, believe it or not, feel productive again.
When I sat back down, I had a clear sense of the process I had just gone through.
A Road-Map for Over-Coming Funks:
a) Developing an awareness of the mindset level of functioning I was at. This is often not so easy to do, especially without a coach/mentor/guide/teacher.
However, it is best you know that you can’t try to find the root cause of the problem at this point, or try to distract yourself from it by diverting your thinking.
b) Understanding of my state of mind. There isn’t a root cause, my low or too high a state of functioning right now is the only cause, and my messing up my work is only a symptom of that frame of mind.
I am not going to be able to distract myself from this feeling, visualize/imagine a better outcome, or use positive self-talk and affirmations to change my state of mind right now, until I understand this and then accept it.
c) Acceptance of that state of mindset. Acceptance moves beyond understanding. Once you’ve accepted that it is your present state of mind that was the cause, you can move past symptom thought processing, causality and denial.
You cannot knowingly utilize any mindset skill-sets or behavior modification techniques until you’ve accepted that state of mind. You need acceptance to move on. A path becomes much clearer to you after acceptance.
c) Get back on the path with Purpose/Why/Belief. Once you’ve accepted where you are, you can move past it.
At this point you could utilize any number (IMO) of mindset techniques, tools, or exercises to help you get back on track, but it’s probably best to first tap back into your own personal philosophy, your guiding values/beliefs, and/or your purpose/why statement.
I now hope you’ll try it for yourself, and agree…
Oh and leave a comment below of a situation where you over-came a funk, I’d love to discuss this further.