Tag Archives: feeling stuck

10 Ways To Go From Feeling Stuck In Life To Feeling Unstuck

Feeling stuck comes from the desire to move forward from one phase of life to another but (for what ever reason) not being able to do so. The perceived reason could be any number of things including fear, other people or situations. Regardless of the reason, it is my contention that dealing with the feeling of being stuck has to be a subjective process with subjective solutions. In other words no one else and no situation can make you feel stuck without your consent. Certainly some situations are more extreme; an abusive spouse or incarceration for example. But even in these examples it is possible to deal with the feeling of being stuck internally. Here are ten methods:

  1. Take Action  – In many ways the feeling of being stuck comes from the inability to take action. As such, taking action by pushing up against your comfort zone fights against or acts to disprove that this inability is in fact a reality. Depending on what you think your reason is for being stuck, take action to counteract this reason. If (for example) you feel that unemployment is the reason for being stuck take action and look for a job. You need to put yourself out there and address whatever your fear may be and by doing so you will cultivate courage and strength. Other forms of taking action might be cleaning your house. I find getting a haircut shifts my feeling of being stuck for some reason. Creating a check list of things to do can be helpful when feeling stuck because it takes the initiative off of yourself and puts it on the list. This at least is a good temporary solution. Ideally you want to act under your own volition.
  2. Cultivate Spirituality – Spirituality means many things to different people. At its core it addresses humanity’s belief or longing for there to be something more to existence than material reality. Feeling stuck is very much a feeling rooted in the material world. As such cultivating spirituality is a means of rising above this feeling. This can be done in many ways and here are a few: (a) Meditation – sit still for ten minutes, be quiet and focus on your breathing. When you find your mind wandering bring your attention non judgmentally back to your breathing. It works. I don’t know why. (b) Prayer – directly address the divine honestly with your whole heart. List the things for which you are grateful. Ask for help. (c) If you have the opportunity I highly recommend going on a retreat for a structured spiritual experience. (d) Simply try to be aware and recognize that inner voice who whispers the negativity in your ear and reinforces this feeling of being stuck. When you recognize it, name it so that you diminish it and separate yourself from it.
  3. Move – Remove yourself from your present situation and negative people. This may be difficult because the reason you feel stuck might be because you feel you cannot move. I have found that moving from one location to another always brings about a feeling of renewal initially. However, be careful you don’t just take your baggage from one place to another. If you find yourself repeating negative patterns after the newness of a move wears off then therapy is probably a better option. If you cannot move at the very least get out of the house and go to the movies or simply take a walk until your mood shifts.
  4. Therapy – Caveat Emptor: There are good therapists and bad therapists and different types of therapy works better for some people than others. I have found that Gestalt body centered therapy was the most effective therapy I ever experienced to address the feelings of shame that had kept me feeling stuck for so long.
  5. Wait it out – All things change; especially moods. The feeling of being stuck feels like it will never end but it will. Simply knowing this can be helpful to combat hopelessness. While you are waiting you can focus on any other item on this list.
  6. Read – There are many helpful advice type books out there. The simple action of reaching out for one of these is therapeutic because when you do this you are taking action. In terms of content, I highly recommend Choose Yourself and The Rich Employee by James Altucher. Both have been very helpful for me.
  7. Exercise – It is important to exercise, eat well and sleep well when you are feeling stuck because these actions increase your energy and ability to shift from being stuck to being unstuck. By contrast, avoid or restrict alcohol and pornography as these things tend to have the opposite effect.
  8. Write – I have found writing about my experiences has given me the ability to see them more clearly. Blog, keep a journal or write a book and self publish it. I have self published twice and both the experience of writing and the experience of actually publishing were both therapeutic. Self Promotion: My books are Shame and Internet Trolling (non fiction) and The Book of Bud (a $.99 novel) are both available on Amazon.
  9. Establish Boundaries – If your feeling of being stuck is associated with another person you need to establish boundaries with this person. This means saying “no” when you don’t want to do something this other person wants you to do. You must say “no” even if it feels bad. It will feel bad at first because you will feel like you are doing something wrong. But what you will also feel soon after is a lightening of your mood. Any prior resentment you had for this person will begin to evaporate. It is quite dramatic and unexpected how powerful this technique is.
  10. Stop Judging – You might equate judgment and morality but this is a false association. When you judge other people you judge yourself with equal intensity. That is because both forms of judgment come from the same place: a wounded ego. When you make the conscious effort not to judge other people the force of the wounded ego weakens. You will find that you will stop judging yourself as well and from this place you can begin to cultivate compassion both for yourself and other people.
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The Book of Bud

Please check out my latest self-published novel entitled “The Book of Bud or the Thirty Day Novel Experiment” available on Amazon:

The Book of Bud

This is the story of Bud, a thirty-something, white, male working a corporate, cubicle job and feeling stuck in life. To become unstuck he decides to undertake the “30 Day Novel Experiment.” He has 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. This works out to 1,667 words per day on average. Very soon after taking on the challenge his life begins to change and he learns there is no turning back.

Written reviews on the Amazon page are definitely appreciated!

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Fear of Fear Blocks Success

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This always struck me as a catchy and memorable phrase. But I do not think that I have really grasped its meaning until recently. I now take the phrase to mean the “fear of fear” is what stops me in life and blocks my success.

Fear itself is a physical sensation that indicates I am pushing my envelope. Every fear (itself) is valid and exists for a reason. There seems to be two types, instinctual fear and learned fear. Instinctual fear is passed down through evolution and hard-wired into genetics. It is what tells a deer to freeze when it suspects danger and to bolt when danger is approaching. Learned fear comes from some traumatic event that a person has learned to avoid so as not to repeat it. Both types of fear are defense mechanisms designed to avoid danger. This is a good thing, but when I accumulate too many fears or fixate on one particularly deeply rooted fear in a key area my envelope becomes shrunken and the avoidance of blocks my growth.

As such, facing fear is how I push the envelope and grow. If I run from fear I will remain stuck in life and will never grow.

When I was a kid I was horrible at sports that required hand-eye coordination. I felt humiliated when I struck out or did not catch a ball thrown to me. Over time I avoided playing these types of sports as a way to avoid humiliation but as a result I never gained mastery. Running from this fear effectively meant that I would never grow in this area.

I suspect the “fear of fear” comes from shame. There was a time in my life when I simply experienced emotions and did not process them to the extent I do as an adult. Over time I learned to fear certain things and they accumulated in my mind forming what I call my shame ego. It is the shame ego that produces meta thoughts and meta feelings. These are thoughts evaluating other thoughts or feelings about other feelings.  A ball is thrown to me (for example) and I put my hands up but the ball sails past me and lands on the ground. I then experience the thought that I am not as proficient at catching the ball as other kids. I then feel humiliation. I then think I am weak and a spaz, etc. The next time a ball is thrown in my direction I experience the fear that I will fail again and repeat the experience of humiliation. I then begin to avoid experiences that elicit that type of fear.

Fear of fear is a meta feeling. For the purposes of this article there is no need to go into where these meta thoughts and meta feelings come from. It is helpful enough to begin to be aware of them and notice them when they occur. When this happens I can begin to separate myslef from them. Then I can choose not to let my actions be governed by them.

If I fear fear then it becomes a wall. If I respect fear and know that it is there for a legitimate reason and therefore nothing to be ashamed of I can then become curious and playful about the fear. Then fear becomes an opportunity to push my envelope and grow.

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