We all have experienced feeling “stuck” at times. Sometimes, habits that often provide a sense of stability and security can turn into crutches that keep us in a rut. Being emotionally stuck can be difficult to escape. It is a type of quicksand that keeps sucking you further into it.
However, there are ways to get out of it if you are willing to apply some discipline and effort.
All of us have had the following experience. We get up in the morning planning to accomplish something specific that day. The day wears on and we continue to plan in our heads to do that specific thing. Soon, it’s 9 p.m. and we are too tired to tackle what we planned to do. That is a form of mental exhaustion that results from being stuck in our emotions.
Why Are You Stuck?
There are plenty of reasons to blame for you being emotionally stuck. The root of all these negative emotions is shame. Shame that you are not perfect, that you might fail, or even wondering that you would finish at all.
Some of the results of shame include defensiveness, perfectionism, constant apologizing, and procrastination. These things are rooted in coping mechanisms that are meant to protect you from unpleasant experiences. These emotions and behaviors lead to a type of paralysis that prevents us from doing what we need to do.
The results are you don’t want to admit you are wrong and need a change, are held back by trying to keep an appearance and avoiding making mistakes, are steered in different directions by constantly apologizing, and aren’t doing the very things that would give you a sense of pride and heal shame.
8 Ways to Get Unstuck
There are methods to get out of the hole you dug for yourself. Here is the blueprint for getting unstuck.
- Find a quiet place. This is the beginning of you finding your inner voice and being able to identify your emotions and the root cause of them. The spot must be quiet and the same spot you will use regularly. Plan to do this at the same time in your schedule. You can do it daily, or set aside a certain day for it.
- Go deep. Spend time during your quiet time exploring your inner voice. This is where you find your emotions and the root causes of them. You may find that one emotion covers another. For instance, you may be angry but that is because you are fearful of something. This may require several quiet time sessions to get to the root causes. You may also need to observe your reactions and feelings during your conscious times to identify all of your emotions.
- Identify the root. This goes beyond your emotions to find out triggers for those emotions. This can be painful and can take a while to uncover. Take your time with this. There could be several emotions involved and it could take a while to uncover the primary unlying emotion and the cause. For instance, depression, sadness, and frustration are often linked.
- Work to identify all emotions. This is important because emotions create trails to the mind and we often react without being conscious of them at all. Identifying them helps us figure out the role they play in our behavior.
- Think about each emotion individually. This provides the time you need to dig deeper and identify the triggers. Triggers could be a past event, upbringing, past words, or something else.
You have to layout your emotions during this phase. You have to look at them and deal with them rather than cover them up.
- Take breaks.
All this can’t be done in one or two sessions. This is an ongoing effort and really could take months or even become part of your lifestyle. Sometimes, you may need to skip a couple of quiet times to ponder what you discovered in the last one. Depending on your range of emotions and your past, it may be too much to handle in quiet times that are scheduled close together. Set your pace but allow yourself time to break from the routine.
- Start healing. At some point, you will be ready to make some changes. They should be small ones at first. If you find yourself staring at a project, try to break it down into small increments. Focus only on the smaller element you are working on rather than the entire project. Succeeding at one small element will provoke you to try another. Other small changes may include readjusting your friends, social life, hobbies, or going outside your comfort zone.
- Maintaining an unstuck life.
There is always a chance you can relapse into old patterns. This is where boundaries are helpful because they stop you before you go headfirst into your old ways. Also, do a self-check on your emotions sometimes. Meditating or journaling helps track your progress and are a great part of a maintenance program. Take responsibility for your actions and keep moving forward.
Coming to terms with shame or other factors that are keeping you stuck will allow you to create a plan to change your life. It requires persistence, some fortitude, and the ability to deal with unpleasant emotions but the result is an improved, happier life.