We all go through periods in life when we feel a bit stuck and stagnant. It is part of the “not so fun” ebb and flow of the human experience. That being said, feeling this way for more than a few days can lead to a downward spiral of feeling even worse and eventually even lead to depression.
We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in U.S history. Much because we do not know how to deal with negative emotions, so we eat, smoke, drink, gamble, watch t.v or do any combination of these activities to try to escape how we feel.
Although these activities can numb how we feel temporary, in doing them we are really only perpetuating the pain. Because unfortunately you can not escape how you feel, until you learn to manage how you think!
Emotions are a direct result of how we think. So in order to actively and gracefully deal with negative emotions, we must first begin to become aware of what we are thinking and specifically the meanings we are applying to our thoughts.
For example, you can choose to focus on the things you have control over like what you eat, if you make the time to exercise and how you decide to respond to others or you can focus on what is not in your control, like what other people say or do, the weather or traffic and a delayed flight.
But, believe or not the number one thing to do when you are feeling stuck and stagnant is to “give”. Give away unused possessions, give of your time to someone in need, give of your talent, or maybe be fearless and give your heart to that special someone.
What is usually going on when we are feeling stuck, is we are too focused on the problem, and not the solution. We are allowing a negative feeling, belief or perspective to shape the world we are experiencing.
Often when we feel stuck, our energy drops and we become mentally blocked and can even tend to lash out or become hyper critical of others.
I know this may sound cliche, but its truly in giving that we receive. Because when we choose to give we are opening ourselves up to receive in ways that will make us feel empowered and alive again.
A new study led by Dr. Suzanne Richards at the University of Exeter Medical School reviewed 40 studies from the past 20 years on the link between volunteering and health. The study found that, volunteering (which is an act of giving) not only gets us off the couch and out of the house which sets our bodies in motion, (as they say an object in motion stays in motion!) but also creates valuable social connections including eye contact, touch and smiles that stimulate the release of the hormone-oxytocin, which helps us handle stress better.
The simple act of giving is the best way to meet others, make new friendships or rekindle old ones, and bond over common beliefs, values and goals.
Simply put the act of giving gives us a deep sense of joy, which is directly linked to longer and healthier lives. Giving to others is a great way to feel better about yourself and the better you feel about yourself the closer you will be to feeling unstuck.
5 Steps To Get Unstuck In Life
1. Give Away Unused Possessions
People like stuff. We tend to hold onto it year after year. We save and stock up on things that we do not know what to do with anymore. Maybe we keep things because they hold precious memories of days gone by, or they remind us of our parents, grandparents, past loves or childhood.
To part with these precious possessions seems out of the question. But as the saying goes, “You have to get rid of the old, to make way for the new”. If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in your life, try “spring-cleaning” even if it is not spring.
Throw out, give away or better yet donate some of that stuff that has been laying around unused for weeks, months or years. This will help welcome the new energy and happiness into your future. Just the simple act of letting go of material possessions that are not really serving us anymore allows us to value what we have.
2. Give Your Time
Is there someone that you have been meaning to call or connect with that you just have not had the time to talk to? Is there a cause that you deeply believe in that could use some volunteers or someone with your skill set or gifts?
Could you spend a little more time with your family, your parents, husband, wife, kids, brother, or sister? Take 5 minutes after watching this episode and shoot them a text, email or better yet write them a handwritten note expressing how much you appreciate their love and who they are as a person, or even better tell them in person.
When people on their deathbeds were ask the question, “what do you regret most about your life” almost always their response was not spending more time at the office working, but rather spending more time with those they truly cared about.
Let us learn from these people and remind ourselves each day how lucky we are just to be alive. Let us be reminded that each day is a precious gift.
3. Give Your Talent
What are you really good at? Can you sing? Dance? Write? Paint? Are you a good listener? Maybe you are good at building and creating things? Whatever you are naturally talented at (and we all have natural talents – some people just have not discovered them yet!), choose to discover and share them even more with the world.
How can you contribute your natural talents to your community? What ever you come up with start today. Do not wait till next week to set something up because next week never comes. Do it now!
4. Give Your Heart
One of the scariest parts of being human is being vulnerable. But, in order to fully and truly receive and give love, we must first allow ourselves to feel vulnerable.
Next time you are feeling stuck and stagnant, allow yourself permission to give and receive love. One of the two primary fears that we all share is that we will not be loved. The other one is that we are not enough…not sexy enough, smart enough, tall enough, or maybe not respected enough.
In choosing to love fully and openly we can learn to dance with this fear that can keep us stuck and stagnant in our relationships or lack of relationships.
In what way could you express more love in your workplace or at home and maybe even in your everyday life just passing strangers. If you want more love, you gotta give more. If you want to feel unstuck in your relationships start showing more love in them.
5. Let Go Of Limiting Beliefs
Get rid of any negative thoughts or habits you have been harboring that no longer serve you. A clean, open heart will allow you to receive all the good that awaits you each new day. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is no room for any more of life’s gifts and surprises to enter.
Wishing you all much love and happy cleaning and clearing of your mind, body and spirits this week!
This week’s Healthy in 21 Challenge is to practice one random act of kindness. This can be any simple gesture of compassion towards someone you know or to a complete stranger. Help an elderly person cross the street, spend some extra time with your kids doing sometime fun, get your special someone some surprise flowers, or maybe offer someone who looks lonely, a friendly conversation.
Whatever you do, do it from the heart and I promise…even though you will be the one giving, you will be the one who truly receives and in doing so will feel empowered and inspired again.
Please let me know in the comments below, which tip resonated with you the most and how you decide to give. Also share the ways you have been able to get unstuck in your life in the past.
Live passionately on purpose!