I’m lacking motivation and don’t know how to get out of my “funk”
We’ve all been there, woken up in a strange mood, not knowing why we feel the way we do. We go through the same motions that we go through every morning but remain in the strange mood, unless (or until) something happens that makes us start to feel better and eventually snap out of it.
What is that ‘something’ for you?
It’s different for everyone.
- It could be a pleasant interaction with someone on a morning walk or commute.
- It could be the way your fabulous outfit makes you feel.
- It could be a happy message or email from a work colleague or friend.
- It could purely be seeing the sunshine - always uplifting in the UK.
- Or in my case, it could be listening to a favourite podcast on a morning dog walk.
My husband always has to ask permission if he can join me on a dog walk as he knows how much I value that time to just listen to others talking, without having to interact myself. And I regularly feel inspired by what people say, so I can often be seen, in the middle of a field, tapping into the notes section of my phone with something that has inspired me on a podcast so that I don’t forget it!
I love that you can hear about other people’s lives and share in their personal journeys and, when its relatable, it feels slightly magical. You can think - ‘it’s not just me that feels like that’ or ‘that must be why x feels and behaves like that’.
This can make you feel instantly better. You realise that you are not alone.
Of course, there is a science behind our moods and what it is that makes us feel the way we do.
Vanessa Van Edwards (lead investigator at The Science of People) has written an article on exactly this issue and her research showed her that our brain and body is tied to our emotions and that there is a chemical explanation for the way we feel and so a valid reason why we can't always control our moods.
As Vanessa explains, this is because of the chemicals we have in our system and the delicate balance that is required to keep us feeling stable. The major chemicals are:
- Serotonin – gives us the feeling of calm.
- Dopamine – gives us the feeling of pleasure.
- Oxytocin – gives us the feeling of love.
- Endorphins – gives us the feeling of excitement.
So, when you are thinking about how to get out of your low mood and how to motivate yourself, there are a few really simple things that you can do:
1. Think back to a time when you did feel happy or inspired and work out what it was that made you feel that way. Try and recreate those moments and do those things again or work on finding a way to be able to do them again. Reminiscing about happy times can really help remind you that you won’t feel this way for too long.
- Give yourself a serotonin boost.
2. Start looking forward and dreaming about doing things that make you happy - plan a holiday, meet a friend, go for a walk on a beach. Plan something that excites you.
- Give yourself a dopamine boost.
3. Think about who makes you feel happy, loved and seen. Seek them out and have a chat. Just being with them might make you feel better.
- Give yourself an oxytocin boost.
4. Get out in the fresh air, do some vigorous exercise (it could just be a walk), dance, eat some chocolate.
- Give yourself an endorphin boost.
What works is different for everyone.
Personally, I realised quite quickly that listening to the right podcast with the right guest could put me in a better frame of mind. In fact, if anyone asked me what the theme tune is to my Lockdown 1.0, it would be the theme tune to the Table Manners podcast! I listened to every episode during that time (and there are 13 series!) as it was so refreshing that there was no mention of Covid at all and life felt normal listening to the early series.
My other favourite podcasts (amongst others) are:
- How to fail with Elizabeth Day
- Diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett
- Sliding Doors with Jennie Becker
- Life Changing with Jane Garvey
Clearly, as I always listen to podcasts whilst out walking, purely being out in the fresh air might have something to do with the creation of endorphins to make me feel better and more inspired.
It could be also argued that you could get the same feeling from walking and chatting with a friend, instead of just being on your own (or with dogs) with your headphones. But that isn’t always possible. Also, when you are with a friend you do have to work just that little bit harder. Interaction is key and often, when you’re not in the best mood, this is the last thing that you want to do, initially.
You might have to work up to it.
So, next time you are feeling that you lack motivation, and nothing is inspiring you, think about those mood chemicals and what you can do to give yourself a boost!
Talking can also help a great deal, so do think about chatting to a Life Coach and exploring your emotions further.