Last month, holistic life coach Maytal Phillips of The Consciousness Edit shared a series of simple practices to help us help ourselves out of a funk. At the request of our TCM community, we’re following up on the popular story on how to shift your mindset even in the funkiest of times. Below, we’re diving deeper into how to use Maytal’s tools in everyday situations. Use these tools to immediately gain perspective and shift your mindset in a truly meaningful way…
Magic Tools To Shift Your Mindset + How To Use Them
Take Deep Breaths | As humans we still experience the fight-or-flight response to negative emotional experiences in the same way our ancestors did. The only difference is that we’re not being chased by large animals or walking barefoot in the desert to find food or water. Breathing actually lowers your flight-or-fight response by bringing more oxygen to your brain, allowing your body to relax and offer you the space to deal with your emotions and mindset. Take three deep breaths, as a start, to calm your body before doing anything else.
The breath tool is incredibly helpful when experiencing moments of anxiety. Anxiety is defined as: “intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.” Sounds like most of us on a daily basis, am I right? Although we discuss anxiety in the same breath as grabbing a latte, this isn’t how life needs to show up. When daily anxious feelings occur, use your breath as a physical guide to calm your body and then move onto the next steps.
Ask yourself the right questions | It’s important to stand back and separate yourself from your mindset. And what does that even mean? It means there’s a voice in your head speaking negatively (at times) and if you can listen and identify that it’s just your mental chatter, you will gain some perspective and be able to ask yourself the right questions. From there you can check in: What is the worst that can happen in this scenario? What am I really afraid of? What am I avoiding? What am I really committed to?
The questioning tool is handy when you’re really in the thick of not knowing what to do next and feel paralyzed. There are times in life when we question our thoughts and our actions. Should I move? Stay in a relationship? Leave a job? These are important life decisions that can easily trigger a funky moment. New territory requires your mind to think differently and that can be a slippery slope towards analysis paralysis.
Gratitude all the way | Creating the space for gratitude is an immediate game changer. Take five minutes to write out everything you’re grateful for in your life, even the little things that make you smile—like a perfectly hot Blue Bottle coffee, or when you kicked butt in a Soul Cycle class. Take this practice on for an entire week and you’ll see the clouds start to shift.
The gratitude tool is an all-encompassing, all day everyday tool you can use to shift any mindset at any time, there isn’t a specific situation where this tool can be used. At any given moment—and especially the difficult ones—our minds are specifically focused on everything we don’t have and are typically comparison based, such as I’m not making as much money as she is or thinking everyone is married except for me. When those thoughts come up, write a few notes on what is going right. For me, going through one unsuccessful round of IVF, and after years of trying to conceive, I can easily fall into a dark place—especially when friends all around me are celebrating the births of their first, second and even third child. So I’ll take a few minutes a day to write all the things that are amazing in my life—my husband, family, career, friends—in a gratitude journal, and it’s an immediate mental switch.
Meditation, journaling + silent time | Meditation and journaling are two tools that I always recommend. There is no better way to declutter and get to the bottom of our emotions. Oftentimes when we’re in a funk it’s difficult to sit and be with those emotions. Meditation offers clarity where confusion and upset are at the core of why we’re feeling the way we’re feeling. Take even ten minutes a day to meditate or journal and that light bulb will eventually go off.
The meditation tool is another tool I universally recommend to all my clients. When you feel your mind is all over the place (and who doesn’t these days?), I would use this tool to bring down the volume. Our minds are not set up to take in all the information and to-do lists that we have set up for ourselves. Like any machine, it needs some down time.
recognize when you’re being inauthentic | This is a tough one since it’s not always obvious. Sometimes you’re in a funk because you aren’t telling the truth—either to yourself or to others—and you may be avoiding what needs to be done. It could be as simple as making a promise to yourself and breaking it. Or maybe you’re just not into your work at the moment, and there may be someone to address an issue with.
Avoidance—whether conscious or not—can lead to some pretty negative emotions. What there is to do is get real with yourself about what’s going on, forgive yourself and do what is needed to clean up the circumstance. If you’re avoiding a difficult conversation, have it. If you’re beating yourself up about a bad break up or conversation that didn’t go so well, acknowledge where it went south, forgive yourself, clean it up with that person and move forward. The massive shift you’ll experience with this tool will be immediate and long lasting.
The authenticity tool is probably one of the toughest and most mind-shifting tools. There are situations when you will experience a deep dissatisfaction and your intuition will kick into high gear to tell you that something is off. These are the moments you need to recognize: Are you telling yourself a belief that no longer serves you? There are phases you may turn to that serve you at the time, for example: work hard, play harder. And in your 20s, it’s an amazing belief. Then you hit a major funk and you realize that belief no longer serves you. Be authentic with where you are and don’t be afraid to explore what’s under the mental hood.
One important disclaimer: If you’ve been feeling down for quite some time and it’s affecting work and relationships, it may be time to seek professional help. There are wonderful programs, coaches, therapists and psychologists available if you’re struggling and these tools aren’t making a difference. It’s important to remember that funks are present for a reason. They are your mind’s way of telling you there’s something to address. Whether it’s a communication that’s not being made or rebuilding trust with yourself, going through the all the feels is okay and an opportunity to learn, grow and develop into your best and happiest self.