Getting out of a funk series #1

what would a hippo do?

Hippo time was something that I was introduced to by Paul McGee in his great book S.U.M.O. (Shut Up and Move On). Here is my take on it.

We often feel pressured to change our mood when we are down, well-meaning friends tell us to ‘cheer up’, to pull ourselves together. In a world of positive thinking and positive quotes everywhere we look and, if we have done any form of self-development, we can feel the pressure to change our emotional state because we get told that we have the ability to change our state if we want to (as I even tell you in this blog!)

However, our emotions are there for a reason and they often have a message to give us. When we suppress these emotions, they are not able to get their message across and that is when they come out in anger, frustration, sadness, even accidents or illness.

By giving ourselves permission to feel our emotions, but not get stuck in them, we can hear the message they have to give us.

For example, if we are dreading a presentation, the feeling of dread (funk) might actually be an important message asking, ‘have you prepared enough for it?’ By taking the time to hear the funk’s message rather than suppressing it and then deciding to act on it by properly preparing for our presentation, we can then start to look forward to the presentation instead of beating ourselves up.

The funk or feeling of dread had a purpose and it will naturally disappear when the message is heard and acted upon.If a friend tells you to pick yourself up without taking the time to understand why you feel the way you feel, you will often not feel listened to and not ready to change. So why do we put ourselves under pressure to pull ourselves together?

If I feel down for a reason, I now allow myself some ‘hippo time’, some time to ‘wallow’ and then, very importantly, set an alarm for the hippo time to end. I then stand up (with vigour!) and I take some easy action straight after which will move me towards one of my goals. More often than not, I find my motivation to keep going and my mood changes simply by having taken the time to be kind and to listen to myself. Acknowledge your feelings, listen to yourself, set that time limit and then get ready to move your body and take some action. Just as when a friend or coach gives you a safe space and listens without judgement, you can get things off your chest which gives you the space and the desire to take action.

This is the first in a series of tips I will be giving to help you get out of your funk so that you have more good days and less bad days!

What is your best way to change your state and get out of funk? We would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.