There are times in life where no matter how hard we try, we just can't break free of a deadlock. As much as we would love to, life does not come with a remote control for us to fast forward to a particular favorite scene and pause it there forever. We do not hold the script of our life either. When we're trapped in a frustrating state of inertia, nothing makes sense and hope of an escape eludes us.
Remember, we are never truly stuck. Even when we are bounded physically, when the mind feels free, our reality changes. No matter how stuck in your life you may be feeling right now, I've listed 8 things below you can do to gain fresh perspectives, a renewed flow of energy and hopefully a sense of lightness and liberation.
1. Run till you feel exhausted
We often bottle up negative emotion and tension and indulge in vices to get rid of them. Personally, I found exercise to be the best healthy outlet for releasing our stresses and anxiety. Whenever I feel pent-up energy within me, I'll go running and I'll only stop when I feel completely exhausted. It's liberating how the shackles of negativity seem to break free with each step forward. I learned this amazing tip from a friend of mine, Ross, who is a professional tennis coach. Ever since I tried it once, I never look back!
2. Use music to unleash negative emotions and to feel positive ones
Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can change our state of mind in seconds. When you feel like running to a mountain and yell away into space, try instead to sing your heart out. While you're at it, dance and jump away! I usually have two sets of music for changing my state of mind from negative to positive. First, I play the songs that reflect my anger and frustration and I would sing to it at the top of my lungs. Once I feel I've vented all that negative emotions out, I play happier tunes and even dance to it to welcome in positive feelings.
3. Use colors and aromatherapy to ground, soothe and energize you
When you're feeling stuck, chances are you're feeling low energy, lost and frustrated. During times like these, employ colors creatively in your choice of clothes or home decor to counteract that. Use orange or yellow color to feel energized, black or red to feel grounded and blue or green to feel calm. Some items you can use to quickly add colors into your day or environment are flowers, clothes, accessories and posters.
4. Use aromatherapy to rejuvenate you and your home
Burn sage to clear the air at home and burn some lemon essential oil to bring freshness to your living space. To feel calm, burn lavender oil. You can even bring along a small bottle of essential oil such as chamomile or ylang ylang oil and sprinkle drops of them on your wrists or behind your ears to tap on the energy of the oil whenever and wherever you are.
5. Nourish your body with sleep, clean eating and regular exercise
Energy, motivation and clarity of mind to strategize and problem-solve are keys to making progress in life. For that, we need good health that's supported by adequate sleep (7-8 hours daily) and hydration (8 glasses of water daily), clean eating (having whole/real foods over processed, refined, and handled food) and regular exercise (at least 2.5 hours of moderate movement per week). If you follow this formula for at least two weeks, you would really start to feel a difference in your energy level and in turn, a rise in your confidence level in tackling your circumstances.
6. Unplug and reconnect with nature and water
Sometimes the best way to get inspiration on a seemingly irresolvable situation is to take a break! Take your focus away on the problem by spending some time in nature or near/in the water. Turn your phone on airplane mode or at least turn off notifications so you can stay unplugged and distraction free. Few things rejuvenate the soul, no matter how weary or trapped it feels, like timeout in the sun and fresh air.
7. Get inspired by new ideas and knowledge
We cannot solve a persistent problem with the same level of knowledge and set of skills. When we reached stalemate, it's time to “upgrade” our thinking and ability. More often than not, the way to arrive at an out-of-the-box solution is to equip ourselves with input from various sources. I found the more diverse interests and skills I have, the more I was able to think creatively. For that, I read extensively across different topics (from fiction to biographies to philosophy to cookbooks) and constantly meet and interact with new people from different countries and all walks of life. I regularly take courses to develop a new skill (on online marketing, writing, communication, etc.) or hobby (a new language, Pilates, acting, etc.). All of these add to my personal library of resources and they synergize into a timely unprecedented approach whenever the situation calls for it.
8. Calm your mind with yoga, journaling or meditation
The answer you seek will arise within you when the heart, mind and body are still. More often that not, we already knew what we need to do, but we struggle to drown out the voices around us and the school of thoughts we were brought up to abide by. A few of the simplest and fastest ways to achieve calm is through yoga, journaling and meditation. If you're new to yoga and meditation, many free beginner yoga and meditation videos can be found on YouTube. For journaling, try this method by Julia Cameron (author of The Artist's Way). In the first hour of your morning, dump your thoughts into words until you fill three pages of paper. Do not care about grammar or spelling mistakes. Just write whatever that comes to mind, even if it's “oh my, I really don't have anything to say”. Keep doing this every morning if you can and after three weeks of regular journaling, look back at what you wrote and see what themes recur the most. This exercise is not only cathartic but is also great for giving the clarity one needs!
Which areas of your life are you feeling stuck now? Which of the above tips would you like to try?