I've had a few moments recently of feeling, well, really just bored and completely uninspired and kinda purposeless. And these feelings, once they grabbed a hold of me, really didn't want to let go! These feelings then took me farther down the rabbit hole into a space of desperation where I wanted to latch on to anything that would make me feel alive... anything that would give me some instant gratification, some instant spark. An upper, so to speak... even if that "upper" is not a positive thing.
And that's what prompted me to write this. Because first I turned to chocolate. And that didn't help enough. But next I had to stop myself numerous times from scrutinizing my boyfriend's Facebook timeline, trying to find something to prove that he isn't as into me as he says, which would then give me reason to pick a fight with him (a sure-fire boredom cure!). Or the scouring of the Internet for all the people who have succeeded in their lives -- their successes taunting me for being such a loser-failure who has nothing inspiring or purposeful to do with her time. All of these things cause a burst of energy (albeit it a negative one), but they still give me that immediate rush that drama or anger brings, yet after the fact cause much more trouble than anything else... And all because I couldn't think of another more proactive way to snap out of my boredom and lack of inspiration.
Some other ways we try to grab instant gratification when we're feeling useless and uninspired that can only end poorly are: Googling exes (or worse, contacting exes for some sort of convoluted validation or trying to start drama with them), comparing our life to that of a college roommate or high school rival on Facebook and seeing how they have everything and we have nothing we thought we'd have by now, eating junk food, turning to massive amounts of caffeine, picking a fight, or checking our email like 17 times in one minute. We're looking for something when we do this. We're looking for something to make us feel alive, anything to give us a quick fix.
So. If we're feeling purposeless, bored, uninspired, how can we snap out if it? Instead of grabbing for a negative quick fix, which is guaranteed to cause us to crash after... what can we do that's proactive?
1. Start thinking about what you DO want. Close your eyes for a moment and visualize yourself on the vacation you want to go on, working at your dream job, moving into the new home, using your talents to help people... whatever it is you DO want, focus on it. The moment we focus on what we do want, our whole energy shifts, and I bet you won't feel uninspired anymore!
2. Take one action step toward accomplishing a higher goal. Write a few sentences of that book or article you've been wanting to write, sign up for that online dating site or for the class you've been wanting to take, email the contact you've been putting off reaching out to, start brainstorming on paper your idea for a new business, or workshop, or product... Whatever higher goal you have for yourself, take one action step toward doing it.
3. Get moving! Even if you're at a desk at work, get up for just a few minutes. Walk around the block, or even just the office if that's all you can do. Moving around and any sort of physical activity immediately changes your state and shakes things up.
4. Contact a friend instead of an ex... Hopefully a friend who will in no way, shape, or form, allow you to contact your ex! No explanation necessary here.
5. Read a few lines from inspirational writing or watch a few minutes of an inspirational video. The web is FULL of both of these things! So instead of getting on the Internet to cyber stalk, obsess over Facebook, or check your email for the millionth time, watch, read, or listen to something uplifting.
6. Help someone who is in need. Check on a friend who's been in bad shape, get a cup of tea for your disgruntled co-worker, send a note of love to your mom "just because." As soon as you get out of thinking only of yourself, you will immediately feel uplifted.
Changing our state really isn't that hard. It's just that we've been programmed to reach for immediate gratification, for some sort of "medicine" to cover our discomfort, to reach for something external to fix us quickly, to lift us up. But all it takes is a different choice. All it takes is one moment. So just choose differently next time and see how it feels. I'll tell you that for me choosing to write instead of choosing guaranteed drama feels much better in the long run. There is no hangover... there is no crash... and there's a blog out of it!
For more by Holly Sidell, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.