How to get unstuck
Whatever undesirable position you are currently in, there is a way through it
Did you know that feeling stuck is a ramification of thoughts that you have been camping on for a while? Good news is, you are the landlord of those thoughts and you can override them with new and improved thought patterns to help your brain get unstuck.
Stuck: to be fixed or jammed in a particular place, unable to progress or find the solution to something.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you are feeling stuck as you read through this article. Do you feel stuck in a position professionally? Perhaps you feel stuck when it comes to your ability to move through conflict? Asking for what you want? Setting healthy boundaries with a friend or colleague? Whatever undesirable position you are currently in, there is a way through it.
You are not alone. In the midst of our drive to succeed, we all experience those stuck moments. Some of them catch us by surprise, others are like a slow drip that eventually builds up to a complete clog in the drain of our life. It’s not a matter of if you will feel stuck on the journey, it’s a matter of when and what you do about it when it hits.
I remember a cool parable I heard a long time ago about a person who fell into a deep hole. Two people passed by this person and offered a remedy that wasn’t helpful. The third person was a friend who chose to jump into the hole. The person in the hole said: “Why did you do that? Now we are both stuck?” The friend replied: “No worries, I’ve been down here before and know the way out.”
When I went through two of life’s top stressors at the same time: advanced cancer and divorce I found myself stuck in the hole many times. Perhaps you came across this article and you are feeling stuck in a hole or maybe you know someone who feels stuck. Either way, let’s explore how to get out.
Let’s take a look at what happens to the brain when we are experiencing feelings around being stuck:
- Unable to progress is a ramification directly linked to a fixed perception about a situation in the mind.
- Neurons that fire together, rewire together. If you are firing neurons hooked to negative thought patterns: I’m stuck; there is no way out; this is the way it has been and the way it will always be, you will create a messaging system that backs up your impoverished view of reality and you are along for the ride until you make a conscious effort to change your thoughts around your situation.
- Once a messaging system is created around a negative perception: I’m stuck, the RAS (Reticular Activating System) goes to work distorting, deleting and generalizing information that does not support your conclusions about situation that is fueling the conclusion: I’m stuck.
- Messaging systems formed in the brain by repetitive thoughts can be rewired by consciously offering an alternative thought. For example: I’m stuck and the thoughts that anchor that messaging system can be replaced with: I don’t know what to do in this situation…YET and I am willing to find out a way thought it. YET is the key word that opens the mind up to solutions-based thinking.
Bottom line, just because a negative thought drops into your brain causing you to feel stuck does not mean you need to give it free rent and serve it breakfast in bed. You are the landlord of your mind and have the ability to evict. In the midst of the stuck feelings, you are capable of giving yourself permission to explore what it would look like to get unstuck. It’s when you forget that there is another way available to you that you stay stuck.
Much of what holds you back from personal excellence in your life comes directly from the meaning you make from the information you are taking in around you, and the assumptions and conclusions you make from that meaning.
For example, let’s say you have a colleague that continually gossips to you about everyone else on the team. You feel that gossip is non-productive behavior and don’t like that they continue to do it around you.
You could create meaning around this situation that sounds like this: well, this person lives alone and doesn’t have a lot of people to talk to so maybe this is their outlet. Shazam, you just backed up the meaning around this situation with a conclusion that is keeping you stuck as an accomplice of non-productive behavior. Rather than saying: “I’m stuck, I feel bad for them, there’s nothing I can do.”
You can direct a thought that sounds like this: “Hey, wait a minute, I don’t have to be the victim of someone else’s words if I don’t want to be so what do I want to do about it?” Now you are in a position to get yourself unstuck from an undesirable situation. By posing an alternative thought linked to curiosity you have given yourself access to the part of your brain that is solution focused.
Anytime you interject a question to an impoverished view of reality you short-circuit the negative thought pattern and open up your mind’s ability to explore an alternative way of thinking about a situation.
Some questions to ponder the next time you feel stuck: Don’t I have to stay here? I wonder if there is another way through this? What would I do if I was unstuck? What might a way out of this situation look like? What resources do I have available for solution? What resources do I want to connect with that would be helpful to me? What is one forward action step that I could take to get unstuck?
This week think about what you are thinking about. When you do feel stuck, write down the thoughts that are fueling that conclusion. Practice the SNAP:
- Stop: breathe, meditate, tap and remember you are not the struggle unless you choose to be. The serpents in your mind love a good victimization and stone throwing party…leaving you hung over in anger and frustration that fuels the I’m Stuck program. Life is too short to throw your moments away along with your inner peace.
- Notice: What conclusions are you making that is based in “story” verses fact? Notice the power you are giving to the circumstance to define your sense of value, worth and capability. Notice your main emotion and where it is showing up in your body. Stress and disease walk hand in hand.
- Ask: Is this mine to work through or someone else’s? Too often we cast ourselves as the main character in someone else’s drama. You are more effective if you get off the stage and maintain integrity, peace and calm…emotional intelligence is a powerful first line of defense.
- Pivot: Turn away from “below the line” behaviors: blame, shame, ugly talk, gossip, stone throwing. Lean into behaviors that showcase the person you are committed to being in this world. Erase negative thoughts and replace them with positive, curious thoughts that open your minds ability to access solution based thinking.
Lauren E Miller, has a Masters in Adult Education with a Certification in Human Resources Development. She has personally conquered two of life’s top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google’s #1 Stress Relief Expert, Award Winning Author, HRD Trainer and Certified Sherpa Executive Coach, Lauren provides process driven programs and custom trainings with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. Explore More: http://LaurenEMiller.com