You’ve likely experienced “funk” before — and I’m not talking about Sly & the Family Stone.

It’s that “out-of-sorts-feeling” — a blanket sadness or boredom, an overall sense of malaise.*

Funk can happen personally. And professionally. Funk is interdependent and likely effects your sleep, your exercise, your nutrition…all aspects of your life. Funk can last hours. Funk can lasts weeks.

I’ve never known anyone to relish funk, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. Funk can actually be helpful — and wake you up to minor misalignments in your life — if you can see it.

Getting Present with the Funk

Funk doesn’t “feel” good, so humans do what we are evolutionarily programmed to do — we run from it. In order to escape the funk, we might drink too much or eat too much or watch too much tv or buy things we don’t need.

We’re looking for these activities to relieve us from the funk. But if they do at all, it’s usually for a fleeting moment. Then the funk comes back — often worse than before because we’re now blaming ourselves for drinking too much, eating too much, watching too much tv or buying things we don’t need.

After years of fighting bouts of my own funk, I’ve found relief by first getting present with the funk. When it sneaks into my life, I try to name it and approach it with curiosity. I sit with it and say, “Oh so this is what funk feels like.” I touch into the lethargy. I touch into the restlessness. I touch into the loneliness and all the other shitty feelings funk can bring. My meditation practice is helpful here, but any kind of practice that helps you stay in the present moment (e.g. yoga) will do.

Once I sit with those feelings, I usually can see them more distinctly than general funk.  I can watch the patterns. I can see where they originate. I can see how they dissipate.

Through this practice, overtime, I’ve realized that typically my funk arises when I’m making decisions that are misaligned with my core values (Adventure, creativity, community, wisdom, love).

By sitting with funk, I see the misalignment. Then, I can diagnose the problem and start a funk treatment plan (e.g. making sure I do one creative thing a day, having a courageous conversation with a client, reconnecting with members of my spiritual community, video chatting with a close friend I’ve lost touch with).

It’s not easy advice. But sitting with the funk can be a breakthrough.

*If you are experiencing more than “funk” (e.g. depression and other mental health related issues), please reach out to a professional clinician for guidance.