What does it mean to feel stuck?
Feeling stuck is like having an aching sense that you need to do something, anything to propel you out of your current state – but you can’t. It’s like you’re frozen. Nothing feels available or good enough. When your mind presents something, you convince yourself it’s not the right choice, or you’re simply unable to do it. So, you beat yourself up on a continuous loop, disappointed by your inaction.
It can be physically and emotionally painful. When you’re deep into the feeling, it’s almost debilitating. Perhaps the most difficult part about being stuck is knowing you need to do something to feel better, yet perpetuating your own limiting beliefs that you can’t find the way back to yourself.
Many of us feel stuck when we lack a sense of certainty and control in our outer world. This sense of uncertainty about the external cuts off our connection to our internal compass. When our internal compass isn’t working properly, we’re off-balance. We feel helpless, worthless, and lost in life.
What starts as negative thinking can eventually lead to anxiety and depression when not treated properly. The good news is: feeling stuck is a common issue that can be addressed with a few helpful practices.
Common signs you may be feeling stuck:
- Constant repetitive negative thoughts
- Inability to focus
- Brain fog
- Lack of motivation
Why are you feeling stuck?
Humans are biologically wired to enjoy comfort and control. Every day, we perform actions in the hope they will breed desirable outcomes. We avoid discomfort, uncertainty, and instability in preference of order and familiarity. If comfort or control is missing from our experience, we quickly feel stuck in our circumstances.
When we continuously perform actions and don’t see the results we desire, it causes a perceived lack of control. In turn, we may have a low sense of self-worth and begin to associate a lack of results with our own incapabilities.
Whether your stuckness is the result of a major event (e.g., a death or global pandemic), or stagnation in your daily life (e.g., a stale relationship, a fitness plateau, a job you dislike), it’s a call to turn inwards and reconnect to your source of internal power.
1. Remember your ability to choose.
Being stuck comes down to the power of choice. It may be difficult to remember your ability to choose when you’re feeling low, anxious, or depressed – however, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
Though you can’t always control your external circumstances, as long as you’re still breathing, you are the only one who regulates how you feel on the inside. You are capable of surviving under extreme conditions and persisting through discomfort to accomplish incredible feats—even when you feel stuck.
Simply ask yourself, “Do I want to keep feeling stuck? Or do I want to choose to feel something different?”
Then, make your choice.
2. Stop listening and start witnessing.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are constantly talking to ourselves. Much of our self-talk is negative and unproductive. One of the best ways to stop the thoughts keeping you feeling stuck is to pause and witness them. This doesn’t require yogi meditation skills or in-depth notetaking. It’s a simple awareness that allows you to cut through the noise and take back control.
As stated by Michael Singer, the author of The Untethered Soul, “the day you decide you are more interested in being aware of the thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves – that is the day you will find your way out.”
3. Take immediate action.
You’ve decided how you want to feel, and you’re aware of the thoughts hindering you from getting back into the flow. Now, it’s time to take action.
Sometimes the quickest way to get unstuck is to do something unexpected or seemingly counterproductive. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, blast your favorite song. If your shelter-in-place routine makes you feel like you’re stuck in Groundhog Day, take a lunchtime walk instead of eating by your computer.
Follow-up the unexpected action with something that furthers the needle in the direction of your goals. Whether it’s writing 200 words or making plans to liven up your week, these simple actions will reinforce your internal power over your external reality.
4. Reflect, refine, and repeat.
Reflect on the process and notice what went well and what could be improved. Refine your thought-witnessing and action-taking. Practice being unattached to your thoughts while remembering they do not define you. Evaluate how your actions affect your emotions and thoughts, and whether they align with your desired feelings and goals. Repetition is a key component of progress and success. Keep practicing until it becomes second nature.
The key to getting unstuck and back into the flow is using your mind, emotions, and body so that they work for you, not against you. The more we feed a thought, the stronger it becomes. So next time you feel stuck, remember your positive thoughts help you align with positive emotions. When you connect back to your internal compass, you’ll always feel more grounded in your external reality.
About the Author: Sofia Yassine is a freelance writer covering mental health and wellness, special education, and spirituality. She is the founder of https://www.firstthenandbeyond.com/, where she utilizes her M. Ed and background as a special education teacher to support parents of children with special needs. Recreationally, she enjoys talking to her succulents, getting lost in nature, and eating her way through new places. You can get in touch with her at https://www.sofiayassine.com/
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
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