The human body is constantly working to keep a chemical equilibrium at all times. When people are getting the right nutrition, appropriate amount of sleep and relaxation, they usually feel happy, productive and balanced. When we start to slip into a chemical imbalance, feelings of anxiety, depression and a decrease in energy can put us in a funk.
Whether it’s a stressful relationship, argumentative friendship, unhappiness with work or an overwhelming workload at school, there is a variety of elements that can put people in a funk.
Losing energy and enthusiasm or isolation from friends and activities are the signs of being in a rut, according to Psychology Today. And for those who have experienced these feelings, you’re not alone.
Plattsburgh State business administration and marketing student Gregory Holst finds school work, money and approaching graduation to be his biggest stressors.
“I’ve been in a funk when it comes to working out. I went from going every day to having very little motivation to get in the gym,” Holst said. “I would come up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go.”Holst used to consider the gym an outlet to relieve his stress, but when he skipped one day due to an overwhelming school workload, it became easier to keep avoiding his workouts.
“When I’m in a funk, I have a shorter fuse,” Holst said. “I also try to avoid people. I’ll keep my headphones in, so I don’t have to talk to anyone.”
One of the steps to dealing with a funk, is just to push through, according to Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral investigator and author of “The Science of People.”
In order to get out of his funk, Holst ignored his excuses.
“I knew once I’d get through the first week of getting back into the gym that it’d be easier to keep going,” Holst said. “It’s something that I just had to push through, and it was worth it.”
PSUC junior social work major Katie Girard felt the pressures of school weighing down on her this semester, and it began to take a toll on her mood.
“I knew prior to this year that my major was going to be tough. It started off quite easy, then proceeded to get hard in some topics, and those topics just had to be the ones that I really didn’t have much interest in,” Girard said. “I started to second guess myself and question if social work was right for me. All of this caused a lot of stress, which made me unmotivated and that affected my grades.”
Another coping mechanism to dealing with a rut is to talk to someone you trust, according to The Science of People. Girard doubted her major, something she was once passionate about, so she turned to her adviser for support.
“After talking to my adviser and some other students, I chose to stay in the program and push through the rough patch,” Girard said. “So far everything has been much better, and I’m doing well.”
To cope with stress, Girard likes to stay active by running or going to Pilates classes. Staying active increases endorphins, and the more endorphins coursing through your system, the fewer negative effects of stress you’ll feel, according to The Science of People.
“Along with working out and staying active, having a good laugh with some friends always helps my mood,” Girard said.
If she finds herself in a rut again, Girard said she is going to try to push through with a positive mindset.
Experiencing bad moods is inevitable, and Edwards said we can’t prevent them from happening, but we can certainly cope with and lessen their negative effects.
Edwards credits the balance of Serotonin (calm), Dopamine (pleasure), Testosterone (power), Oxytocin (love), and Endorphins (excitement) in the body, which keeps the body running smoothly. When those chemicals become unbalanced, feelings of stress, anxiety or depression can occur.
Edwards compiled a short list of activities that can boost all of these chemicals in the body. She suggested looking through old photos to remind yourself of good times and past achievements.
“Grab your journal and recall your happiest moments,” Edward said. “You might notice after a few minutes, your body desires a long deep breath, and you begin to feel like it’ll all be OK.’”
She also suggested creating a bucket list, because “they harness the best side of human behavior–hope, curiosity and pleasure.”
To boost testosterone, stand like a superhero. This is called a power pose, and if you stand that way for two minutes, it pumps testosterone, according to Edwards.
Lastly, the behavioral investigator said to get moving to your favorite tunes. So put that playlist on loud, and as the cliché says, “Dance like no one’s watching.”
Email Ashleigh Choppa at firstname.lastname@example.org