Are you feeling stuck? That’s odd because stuck isn’t a feeling, it’s more of a state! However, feelings that occur around being stuck include apathy, depression, helpless, frustrated and so on. Apathy is a bad one because we don’t care when we’re apathetic. Problem being that we have to care when we’re apathetic or we won’t do anything different. Let’s take a look at some ways to get out of the rut you might be stuck in.
- Just as a physical rut can make us immobile, so can a sense of feeling stuck. Most often we start to feel down and then we get apathetic. If your car was stuck in a rut you might try rocking it to get some momentum — putting it in drive and then reverse to get the car going back and forth just a bit. Think about how you could do this mentally and emotionally. Attack the apathy! Nothing is going to change until you do something different. This can be a small step or a bigger one but it starts with a determination to do something.
- Now that you’ve got intention, put change into action. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Just being intent does not make anything change. Start rocking the car! What is one thing you can do today that will help you to break through the apathy? Make it easy and do-able. No big grand ideas are necessary at this point and in fact they may actually hinder if they are not realistic.
- Opposite to Emotion Action Skill. This is helpful especially when we are apathetic and
don’t feel like doing anything. Part of being stuck often involves feeling unmotivated or de-motivated. Opposite to Emotion Action or “act opposite” involves being aware of how you are feeling and then choosing to do an action step because you know it will help/feel better later. For example, if I am feeling somewhat depressed and lonely, I may not feel like getting together with a friend after work. If I know that I typically feel better after spending time with that friend, or feel better after breaking up the isolation, I choose to go meet that friend even though I don’t feel like going out. That’s why we call this a skill — because it isn’t what we would naturally do but something that is helpful.
- Get a push! Back to the stuck car analogy, sometimes we have to get a friend to come behind the vehicle and give us a push. We might even have to keep the rocking back and forth going while they get their muscles going. Sometimes we just need the perspective we can gain from a soul talk with a friend. A good push can help us leverage the momentum we have already started to build. Plus it’s a reminder that we aren’t in this life alone. We are meant to live in community with one another — helping each other and being helped.
- Call the tow truck! Sometimes we need the professionals. If the rut is big enough or we can’t get enough traction on our own, we need to call in the professionals. There is no shame in reaching out to the people who are trained to help people get unstuck and regain purpose and meaning in life. Everybody needs a tow once in a while! Sometimes it takes the whole team approach — our own decision to change, using our skills, getting some help/support and hiring a trained professional. Psychologists and Counsellors are here to help you get unstuck and assist you in successfully getting on course for where you want to go.