How to avoid feeling stuck
Sometimes we feel really stuck in a situation. Stuck in a relationship. Stuck in a job. Stuck financially. Whichever way we look we seem trapped, and that is stress-inducing.
In times of stress we hear of the “fight or flight” response. There is actually a third “f”. The human body and psyche actually has three responses to stress… fight, flight, and… freeze. When faced with stress where we feel too scared to fight and stand up for ourselves (“Do not speak to me in that manner, it is not okay for me”) or life is too complicated, obligated or constrained for flight (“I hate this job and I am out of here”) we default to the third f. We freeze. We stay stuck in the sucky job, relationship, finances, health, living situation. Believing that we are stuck is really unhelpful because it creates inertia. The force of NON-movement. Stuckness.
Feeling stuck sucks. It sucks our energy, our mojo, our motivation, and our ability to get ourselves out of the situation. It feels miserable and soul-destroying. Also, we kid ourselves that we are just delaying making a decision, taking our time, while we wait for it to magically, please God, all work itself out and for us to become miraculously unstuck!
Not making a decision is making a decision. It’s making a decision to stay stuck and wait for The Universe or Someone Else to magically unstick you. You can do much better than that! To get unstuck you can use the following used and approved unsticking questions:
1. Do I have a problem or a fact? I have written about this before and it’s an important thing to get clear on. If you are wrestling with what is actually a fact (Granny has died. Little Johnny did not get into the grammar school. Your business partner is moving to Germany) but are thinking it’s a problem you can solve then you are going to be stressed for a very long time. All you can do with a fact is accept it, and then look at the best way for you to move forward based on that fact. If you have a problem (The incentive structure is not paying out properly. Your sister won’t babysit anymore. The car has broken down), then by definition if it’s a problem it also has a solution. You just need to figure out what that solution is. If it has a solution you are not stuck.
2. What possible options or choices do you have? This is an interesting one as they may not be obvious or “good” choices, otherwise you would have done it already. The likelihood is you are faced with severalunappealing choices. Sometimes that is just life. It doesn’t mean you are stuck. It just means you have some tough decision-making ahead. Probably you have the choice between Hard And Scary Choice A and Slightly Less Bad But Still Pretty Scary Choice B and Remain In Sucky Stuckness Choice C. They may be hard choices, they might be difficult to voice and action, but they are still choices. I find it helps to list them out on paper. Getting it down in black and white helps you to move through the stuckness.
3. What other perspectives are there on this issue? Can someone else see a solution? Ask a good friend or a coach like me for an objective opinion. Be open to that opinion and approach it with an open mind; they may be able to see something you are missing.
4. Powerful destuckifying questions: when we are mired in the mud of stuckness it’s also a really illuminating time to ask ourselves: What hard thing am I, deep down, avoiding doing? What hard truth am I deep down avoiding knowing? The answers are likely to explain why you have unconsciously opted for “freeze”. They will also show you the route to freedom. Your gut instinct and inner knowing will have wisdom for you here, so be open to hearing it however hard it may be.
At the end of the day the truth is this: you are not stuck. Sometimes life is just tricky, but you are not stuck. Keep moving forward.