The Anatomy of Being Stuck
How to get un-stuck
Let’s be honest, feeling stuck is uncomfortable. We get stuck when an experience, or situation, feels overwhelming, confusing or scary and somehow we lose our ability to think clearly, make decisions or know what’s best for us. Ever felt that way? It can be a very lonely place to wrestle with fear, shame, guilt and insecurities.
Sometimes stuckness can be a result of external events, like a breakup, a loss, issues at work etc. Other times, it’s from an internal crises, such as anxiety, creative blocks or overwhelm. Even though the experience of being stuck is in the mind, the feeling can manifest in the body: we feel lethargic, frozen, trapped and unable to move.
So, we engage the mind in finding solutions and may miss an important point:
Feeling stuck is not a matter of the head—it’s a matter of the heart.
We cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that got us there to begin with. Below is a process I teach my clients to move past their patterns when they feel stuck.
Here are the steps:
Describe the situation: become aware of what is causing you to feel overwhelmed etc. Get a clear picture of what about the current situation is causing your discomfort. Once you can identify, move to the next step:
Name the feeling. Find the words to describe what you feel when you imagine yourself in the situation. Examples: angry, sad, fearful, hopeless etc.
Locate the feeling in your body. Pay attention to where in your body the feeling is located. Notice where you feel sensations, tension, energy etc. Just notice.
Mind your mind: check your thoughts about yourself, the situation and others. Your thoughts create your beliefs, so pay close attention to what you “hear in your head” about the situation. A negative thought is often connected to the feeling. Once you have found it, move on to the next step:
Check your expectations. What stories are you telling yourself about what’s happening now and what are your expectations of what’s next? This is where we can clearly identify our patterns and how we get stuck. If the feeling is familiar, we drag our past experiences into the moment and make assumptions, conclusions about the future. Are you willing to let go of the old stories and practice a new perspective?
Imagine a different outcome. Here’s where tools and techniques will help re-write your story for a positive outcome. Imagine how you would live your life if it was rigged in your favor. What if you trusted life and knew that everything happened for you and not to you? Picture yourself feeling worthy, safe, enough (insert your word here) right here and now. How would life be if your expectations where different than they are now? How would you feel about yourself and others? What would your beliefs and thoughts be like? Allow yourself to go there, engage your senses (see, hear, feel it) and let that feeling get bigger and anchor it in your body. For example: put your hands on your heart or abdomen. Do your best to minimize the old way. and start cultivate this new way of experiencing life with a fresh perspective.
The potential is always bigger than the problem.
If we can remember that piece of advice, there is an instant opening. We can then begin to seek the favorable potential in every situation, look for opportunities to expand our thinking and transform our discomfort to true personal growth.