The main dilemma that I see over and over again with both my money and health clients is a state of feeling stuck.
My money clients profess to be stuck on the paycheck-to-paycheck hamster wheel. My health clients complain about feeling “blah.” They lack energy, vitality, and happiness. Again, they constantly tell me…
“No matter what I do, I feel stuck.”
People go about living their lives. They commute to work. Same job, different day. They commute home. Exhausted. Family obligations ensue. Fall into bed. On top of that, many can’t sleep. Only to get up and do it all over again. Rinse. Repeat.
Inevitably, we all fall into thoughtless routines. Life becomes hard. The checklists too long. The obligations too much. We don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough money. And our health and energy are dwindling.
We start believing that if we can just make it through another day, another month, another year… life will get better in the future.
Until one day, out of nowhere, we realize that life is same and that we’re not happy. There may not even be anything terribly wrong, but deep down, we know that we’re not on the trajectory that we had hoped for.
Feeling stuck is terrible. It almost feels like we have no control. But we know that we need to change something. In fact, I’ve heard many of my clients say, “I’ve tried everything… I even took up yoga!” As though yoga is the magic pill.
I don’t mean to sound dour. Quite the opposite!
The fact of the matter is that we are metaphorically “stuck.” We are not literally so.
Once we become aware of our “stuckness,” we can start to peel back the layers of the onion and discover what’s really holding us back from true health, wealth, and happiness.
The bad news: There is no magic pill (not even yoga). And conventional wisdom won’t work.
The good news: There is a answer. I call it a “reason.” What’s your reason?
Once you know your reason – and you quit giving a damn about what others think about you – it’s amazing to see how things slowly start to fall into place.
As one of my health rituals, I get acupuncture on a regular basis from well known Austin acupuncturist, Ann Mowat. Ann is a good friend. And she was part of the life-saving team who helped me get well again.
Ann and I always delve into deep, philosophical conversations as she pokes me with her magical needles.
Since she’s a scholar of Eastern philosophies and healing practices, we tend to compare the Eastern and Western beliefs, behaviors, and remedies. During my last appointment, we discussed the idea of feeling stuck. After all, acupuncture is all about helping the energy get unstuck by getting it to move through the body as it should.
Or… here’s our session boiled down to 4 Steps to Getting Unstuck:
1. Find the Source
Once you know your reason, the first step to getting unstuck is getting to the bottom of why you’re even feeling stuck in the first place. If you’re having trouble identifying the source of the problem, start by considering this universal principle…
Any symptom that you have that’s getting in the way of your best possible life is a sign of an imbalance.
So rather than asking yourself, “Why am I feeling stuck?” perhaps start by asking yourself, “Where in my life is there an imbalance?” Where is there too much of something? Where is there not enough? Are you working too hard? Are you not eating enough? Not sleeping enough? These can seem broad at first, but once you identify the areas that aren’t balanced in your life, you can really start to hone in and recognize where you need to make change.
It all starts with looking closely at what’s happening in your life that’s making you feel stuck. This is critically important because those issues have the tendency to spread like wildfire to other areas of your life.
2. Find the Space
The second step to getting unstuck is finding the space in your life to devote to your own health and well-being. I explained how any symptom – mental or physical – is the result of some sort of imbalance. And the way that those imbalances affect you can become destructive.
Whatever is making you feel stuck in your day-to-day life will eventually manifest itself physically in your body.
So once you’ve identified the areas of imbalance that are keeping you stuck (in Step 1), you can now work toward creating healthy balance. But in order to do so, you must give yourself space!
Our ridiculously busy lifestyles have produced a lack of emphasis on wellness in today’s culture. There is no time. We always go, go, go. Until we’re worn out and exhausted. Then, we sit on the sofa as a vegetable zoned out to Dancing with the Stars. There is simply no extra space to focus on one’s self.
Perhaps turn off the TV and replace that time with a meditative walk. Ditch the $4 latte for a month and instead treat yourself to a massage or acupuncture appointment. Maybe adopt my mantra – It’s either a “Hell Yes” or a “Hell No.” In other words, say “no” more often. Whatever it is… create space. For you.
3. Choose Your Rituals
The third step to getting unstuck is adopting healthy habits for yourself. The reason for the imbalance in the first place is likely due to bad habits, so as you eliminate the bad ones, work to replace those with better ones.
Creating new habits is easier said than done. Otherwise, we all would be great at holding those New Year’s resolutions beyond the first week or so.
Here are some keys for adopting new and better habits:
- Take on just 1 new habit at a time
- Set micro goals. For example, if you wish to start flossing, just tell yourself, I will floss one tooth per day. One tooth will inevitably turn into every tooth over time.
- Instead of adding on something new that you wish to achieve into your already packed life, replace one habit with another. Instead of telling yourself: “I will start meditating 20 minutes per day starting Monday.” You will likely be more successful if you say, “I am going to replace the 30 minutes that I’m currently watching CNN with meditation for one week.”
- Choose rituals. Write down 1-3 things that if you did them regularly, you would feel 100% better. Then think, how could I turn these things into rituals in my life. Then, hold them sacred – above all else.
4. Slow Down. And Breathe.
The fourth and final step to getting unstuck is to breathe.
When is the last time you slowed down long enough to simply sit in solitude and focus on your breathing? Inhale. Exhale.
To be aware of breath is to be aware of self.
And self awareness is a prerequisite for getting unstuck. Not to mention, I find I feel the happiest when I’m doing nothing but sitting silently focused on my breath. What usually surfaces is a strong feeling of gratitude and love of life.
It’s hard to feel stuck when you feel grateful and in love. With self. With the universe. With others.
And honestly, if you can’t find the time in your day to sit down for a few minutes, soak in a beautiful view, and take 10 deep breaths, be prepared to stay stuck.
Finally, remember that our body is one unified whole consisting of mind, body, and spirit. We have to want to take care of all three. Then, we can organize our life in a way that allows us to do so. When we feel connected, whole, and healthy, we can find peace. And with peace comes fulfillment.
Do you feel stuck?