If you’ve been following on my social media channels lately you’ll have seen that I’ve been really open about losing my mojo lately. I’m very keen to show all sides on social media, not just the amazing, high flying isn’t life wonderful stuff. But also the times when I’m not feeling on top of my game. We’re human right, this happens and that’s OK.
Speaking with friends, family and clients, it seems many of us are feeling the same thing right now. Feeling flat, lacking our usual get up and go. Maybe it’s the change in seasons, it’s getting much colder here in the UK and days continue to be grey, or whether it’s the knock on effect of the last 18 months. But the consensus is that we don’t want to feel this way, and the good news is that we totally can change the way we feel, it’s in our hands.
I’m going to turn to neuroscience to explain this. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the body. Their job is to transmit signals from nerve cells to target cells. Each neurotransmitter attaches to a different receptor — for example, dopamine molecules attach to dopamine receptors. When they attach, this triggers action in the target cells. After neurotransmitters deliver their messages, the body breaks down or recycles them. Dopamine is thought to be a key transmitter involved in almost every aspect of motivation. The amygdala has also been shown to play a part, this is an area of the brain that lies deep in the limbic system, and has a primary function of regulating emotions.
So the next time you find yourself in a slump, you can quite literally give your brain a helping hand to get your motivation going. Whilst we’re in this funk all we probably want to do is eat crappy food and lie on the sofa binge watching on netflix, but what we’ll find is that this turns into a cycle, we feel crap and therefore neglect our health and wellness, which makes us feel worse and so on. The only way you can break this cycle is by taking action.
I wanted to break out all the Austin Powers saying on Tuesday this week when I finally felt like I had got my mojo back! This was a good 4 days of taking small steps each day to change the way I wanted to feel. Sometimes the change happens immediately (I found moments of this whilst listening to music but would then go back to feeling like I couldn’t be arsed with anything), whilst other times it’s a longer process. The key is consistent and persistent action, it pays off believe me.
I wanted to share some things that have helped me over the last week, and hopefully they might resonate with you too. I would say save this information somewhere, or make your own toolkit of ideas you can draw upon when you’re feeling lousy. Trust me, when you’ve feeling low on motivation, sometimes the last thing we want to do is trawl the internet looking for ways to improve our mood, if you’re like me the moment you go online during one of these funks you’ll start scrolling through Facebook and instagram, start feeling jealous of all the people who appear to have their shit together, and start your own self pity party! Don’t go there, it sucks! Instead go grab your mojo toolkit and work your way through it.
In no particular order here are some ideas that you could try:
You can use journaling for a variety of reasons and I will record an episode just on the power of journaling very soon. In terms of a motivation tool, a significant way of using a journal can be to write a daily gratitude list. Writing down 3 things you’re grateful for, and specifically why. Likewise, you could start your day by filling out three simple statements:
- Today I want to be
- Today I want to feel
- Today I want to give
- Today I want to receive
Just this small act of writing down your intentions for the day mean that you are much more likely to take action to show up the way you want to show up.
- Vision making
So you’re not feeling the way you want to feel right now, let’s look at shifting that and focusing on how you do want to feel. Vision making can be a great tool for this, and personally it’s one of my favourite activities. You can use meditation prompts for this or just find a quiet space to yourself and begin with some deep breaths. Then let your pen flow, don’t question it, just write. How do you see your best life, what are you doing, who’s with you, how are you feeling? Get specific, what can you see, hear, feel, touch, taste. The brain can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined, and so through neuroplasticity we can actually rewire and prime your brain for possibility. It then means that you are more aware of opportunities that resonate with your future self, how you want to live your life. These possibilities are already here, but are easy to miss when we aren’t clear on what we’re looking for, where we want to head.
- Listening to music
As you know, this one is close to my heart. When we’re in a funk it can be easy to turn to music that makes us feel the way we are feeling right now rather than the way we actually want to feel. I’ll give you an example, when I lost my mojo last week I really felt like I had a lack of purpose, I was grumpy with a friend for not replying to messages (pot meet kettle!) I really turned inwards and not in a good way. If you’re familiar with the drama triangle I really was playing the victim role, I call this side of me Avril (as in Avril Lavigne). So Avril came out, she felt the whole world was against her, life was unfair, foot stomping stuff. I listened to music from my teenage years, the stuff that I would listen to shut away in my room feeling all these teen angst feelings. This included Avril Lavigne (naturally!), Evanescence, The Rasmus, Blink 182, Linkin Park, and some new music which also seems to take me right back to these teen feelings – Olivia Rodgrigo and Baby Queen.
The result of listening to this music meant that I just stayed in this crappy mood, although I must admit to begin with it felt strangely good wallowing in this self pity fest! This soon became the first thing to change though. I forced myself to turn to positive music, listening to stuff I know helps me feel in a positive mood, for me this includes 90s brit pop, dance music, disco and tropical house. Guaranteed to pick me up, and it did.
You’ll have heard me use the term be your own DJ, it’s exactly this. You can’t control outside situations, but what you can control if how you respond to it. You can choose to let your inner Avril take over or you can decide to move away from that and step into a higher frequency. Which leads me to my next point.
- Fake it till you make it
Now this phrase might make you cringe, but in certain circumstances it just makes sense. Remember earlier I said the brain doesn’t distinguish from what’s real and what’s imagined? Well this is where faking it till you make it comes in. This doesn’t mean you can’t be your authentic self, but if you want to be someone who has a great morning routine, feels motivated and energised then you’re going to have to take that first step, otherwise motivation won’t just magically appear.
Start your day with a smile. Set an alarm, count to 5 and stand up (I know what you really want to do is snuggle up under the covers, but try it!), stretch, look in the mirror and smile. You probably aren’t going to feel it, but that small act of smiling could be a kick start to your motivation for the day.
Now I know I might be an exception, I love to dance all the time, any opportunity to dance I’m there, recently I’ve discovered I don’t even need booze to do this, go figure! You might be cringing at the idea of dancing, but going back to the fake it till you make it point, dancing can be a great way of doing this. For one you’re bound to put on some great music in order to get you dancing (I mean I love dancing, but I don’t dance to crap music, it’s just never going to happen, I’ve got to feel it!). So pop on some music guaranteed to get you dancing, turn it up, let your body go, feel the beat, let yourself feel wild. Close the curtains if you’re worried about your neighbours! Let yourself just go, this one will probably bring an instant feeling of joy and energy once you get over any uncomfortable feelings or awkwardness. That’s OK it’s normal, it’s something that changes as you do this practice more often. Fake it till you make it!
- Set goals
Write down your goals, choose a maximum of 3 you want to focus on for 90 days. Break this down into small manageable chunks, even just what will you do in the next week to get you closer to your goals. If we have a sense of purpose and fulfilment (which can often come from goal setting) we’re likely to feel motivated to take inspired action to get us closer to our dreams. Goal setting turns dreams into a reality and that can be pretty exciting right!
- Get clear on how you want to feel
I know I talk about it alot, but getting clear on how you want to feel is so so important. Not only do you want to chase the goals you set, but you also want to get clear on the way you want to feel every single day and chase this. Choose one area of your life to begin with, whether that’s work, relationships, spirituality, health & fitness, and choose 3 words to describe how you want to feel. Try them on, write them down on your phone as a reminder throughout the day, check in, are you feeling the way you want to feel? If no, then take time to look at actions you can take right now to feel the way you want to feel. I love this, because it’s not dependent on some goal that you may or may not obtain in the future, this is in the here and now. What can you do right now to get you feeling the way you want to feel?
- Watch inspiring talks or listen to podcasts
When we’re listening to or watching inspiring people we can’t help but feel inspired ourselves. At the moment I’m listening to Brendon Buchard’s book High Performance Habits for probably the 5th time, and I’m also listening to the High Performance podcast with Jake Humphrey and Damien Lewis. Every time I listen to this podcast I go away with this sense of inspiration, enthusiasm and passion to go out and make a difference in the world. I can’t describe it, I’d definitely recommend listening to it. Likewise I can get the same feeling from TED talks, it’s all about being inspired by others, by feeling their energy, and also through learning we then support our own self-growth and feelings of personal development. As a self-confessed learning junkie this one is huge for me. Over the past week I’ve delved deep into podcasts, videos, and courses to lift me out of my funk.
- Get out into nature
It might feel like the last thing we want to do when we’ve lost our drive and enthusiasm, especially when the weather is pants. But getting out in fresh air whether that’s going for a run, cycle or just getting out and going for a walk, can be enormously beneficial for our mind and body. It’s a great way to boost creativity and creative ideas too, by getting oxygen flowing, it releases endorphins helping us feel good, it can dramatically reduce fatigue, and increase blood flow in the brain. Why not combine it with listening to a podcast, some music, or taking the time to do your visualisations, two birds one stone!
- Spend time with people who lift you up.
Finally, spend time with people who lift you up. There’s a saying that you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think carefully about those that fill you with positive energy, that are a joy to be around, spend time with them whether physically in the same space, or make time for phone call with them rather than messaging. When you’re in a funk the worst thing you can do is spend time around others experiencing negativity especially if you’re an empath like me, steer clear of drama like you have a force field around you. Energy drainers are not what you need right now. I’m conscious this might sound incredibly harsh, but for this moment whilst you’re getting your mojo on track you need to focus on you, surround yourself with positivity, feel inspired by others, and get your energy and motivation back up.
I hope that you’ve found these tips useful, I know personally they’ve really helped me over the last week. These are of course only a handful of ideas based on my own experience, I would love to hear what you turn to when you’re feeling flat and lacking mojo.