At various times in my life, I've found myself in a state I can only describe as a funk—not depressed, but listless, purposeless, unable to motivate myself and caring about very little. Words like "flat," "empty," and "disconnected" also come to mind. It's not a particularly pleasant state, but it is often surprising: it usually occurs immediately after I've accomplished a goal.
You'd think that would be when I'd feel the most positive and the most self-actualized—and it is. But it's also when I feel the most exhausted and in need of a break. And feeling that way—looking into the future with little else in mind but rest—somehow also seems to dampen my spirit.
Which isn't to say there aren't other times I feel "funky." Often, I don't really know why. Often, I simply have to wait it out, to let it resolve on its own. But I've discovered over the years a number of steps I can take that sometimes, depending on my funk's cause, can speed up its resolution.
Often simply becoming aware of what we're feeling helps prevent us from being swallowed by it. Even if you feel powerless to break out of a funk, just admitting to yourself that you're in one can be helpful. And even help you appreciate it. For if we never experienced funks, any joy we'd feel wouldn't be quite as sweet.
Check out Dr. Lickerman's book, The Undefeated Mind, which will be published in late 2012.