hand reaching out of water for help

There were twenty-two tabs open in my browser window on my laptop.

  • Three new RVs in your Saved Search!
  • Schedule change for your Flight Reservation
  • Earn more Money Writing!
  • Video Lesson 7 of Course: Creative Listening
  • Two Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp
  • Become an InstaCart shopper!
  • A half-written email to a coach
  • A half-written Facebook message to an old colleague
  • Eight Google Docs with two sentences written of eight different blog articles
  • A bill for a doctor’s visit

The open tabs on my browser were a perfect metaphor for my state of mind. Scattered. Distracted. Insecure. Worried. Seeking.

My mind was in a muddle. A million different thoughts, a million different feelings. My body felt untethered, heart-rate slightly elevated, palms slightly sweaty. This is what I would call a “Funk”.

I opened a new tab and typed: “Define Funk”.

a state of depression.
“I sat absorbed in my own blue funk.”

Thank you, Google Dictionary. I had not considered that my funk had a color. Blue does seem apt. Definitely navy blue, perhaps of the indigo or denim variety.

Then, I remembered a video I had recently watched from two renowned coaches, Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin. On the video, Rich had worn a black plastic bracelet with two words printed on it: “Create” and “Serve”. Apparently, Rich wears the bracelet everyday as a reminder to create one thing and serve one person each day. He has essentially created his successful coaching business and an enjoyable life from doing these two daily actions.

A whole life from just two simple verbs: Create & Serve.

I closed all of my browser tabs and opened up a fresh, bleach white document, unclouded yet by my Prussian Blue funk. I wrote some words.

I would like to suggest an addition to the definition of the word funk.

when a human’s mind is filled with an abundance of thoughts, often in conflict with each other, about one’s own life.
“I sat absorbed in my own blue funk.” (Still applies.)

My mind began to settle as I emptied the release valve of my bottled-up thoughts and allowed them to pour onto the page. As the blank page on my laptop began to fill with black type, the dark canvas of my mind began to lighten.

The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created or destroyed, it just changes form. And what is thought if not energy that comes to our mind in the form of words and images? The jumble of energetic thought cannot be destroyed. A funk of thought requires transformation.

What gets us out of the funk?

Creating — transferring the energy of thought in one’s head into something in the world of form. There are infinite possibilities of what we can create — art, music, writing, drawing, movement, cleaning, or even a conversation.

Serving — when we do something for another human being it is impossible to think about ourselves in that moment. The “thinking about ourselves” is causing the funk. Therefore, any pause in the thought storm will alleviate symptoms of said funk for at least the duration that you are no longer thinking the swirly thoughts about ourselves.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It has been scientifically shown that helping others benefits the brain by releasing some of our happy hormones that are known to uplift and elevate us. By focusing our attention on the act of creation or being of service, the whirlwind of thought seems to dissipate and our mind starts to settle.

Have you ever noticed that it’s nearly impossible to do two verbs at the same time and do them well? Dance and walk, write and cook, listen and text, sing and laugh, talk and chew?

We cannot serve while we swirl. We cannot help others while we indulge in ourselves. We cannot create while we fill with thought. We cannot learn when we already know.

Therefore, when we transfer the energy from inward to outward, we feel better. The energy empties and we feel lighter. The proof is in our everyday language. We feel uplifted. We lighten up. We have a spring in our step.

What’s even better news is that we can create and serve at the same time!

We can create a new client through truly helping them with what they need. We can create a release of endorphins through exercise that serves our body. Through slowing our mind, we can create a sense of calm that helps others around us feel more grounded and at ease.

In the thirty minutes that it took to write this article, which was my attempt to both create and serve, my dark royal blue funk has already lifted to a tranquil azure, or maybe even a baby blue. My funk has transformed into just a touch more funky. I’m ready to create my day and serve with a whole heart.