Tag Archives: Take Action

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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How to make Something Happen in Four Steps

I have found that there are four steps to effectively making something happen in life. These steps are Awareness, Attention, Intention and Action.

Step One : Practice Awareness – The first step is to simply take stock of what is by observing reality in its most raw state without judgement. This can be done by meditating. The meditation method I employ is to set a timer for 20 minutes (there are several free meditation timer apps available). I then close my eyes and pay attention to my breathing as an anchor. When I notice my mind wandering I bring my attention back to my breath. I do not judge myself when my mind will wander. This is my mind’s natural and unfocused state. It is neither good nor bad. Through the act of bringing my attention back to my breath I build up my ability to meditate. It is like lifting weights. When my mind is paying attention to my breathing I am paying attention to the present moment without layers of thought. This is meditating. This is being aware. This cultivates the proper environment for focusing my attention.

Step Two : Focus Attention – The second step is to actively focus awareness on specific things to the exclusion of those things that do not serve me in everyday life. For example, today while walking my dog I noticed myself becoming annoyed. There were lines of thought that took me to places of dissatisfaction. It was at this point that I decided to focus my attention on other more positive things (like the blueness of the sky, the coolness of the breeze, my daughters, my dogs etc.) rather than focusing my attention on my negative thought process. This is a choice that I can make and like meditation choosing to focus my attention can be improved with practice. Choosing where I focus my attention makes me think more positively and creates more energy. This energy is then stored up to be focused on my intention.

Step Three : Create an Intention and Focus Attention Thereon – The third step is to create an intention and then focus my attention on that intention. The more I am able to do this, the closer I will be to achieving the goal of that intention.

Step Four : Take Action – The fourth step is to take action. When sufficient positive energy has been banked, taking action to achieve that my intention requires less effort. With enough energy taking action is effortless. If I do not proceed through the previous steps then taking action becomes very difficult. I become distracted, I procrastinate, I give up. When I build up enough positive energy and focus on my intention my goals are achieved naturally.

Like all skills, this one must be practiced and cultivated. Once properly cultivated this skill can be the foundation for cultivating all other skills.

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