In a culture that celebrates progress, achievement, and forward movement, feeling stuck can be extremely uncomfortable. We are taught to push our feelings of stuckness deep down inside of us, allowing them to develop into ambivalence, ruminating thoughts, and anxieties about the future. Instead of ignoring these feelings or trying to think your way out of them, here are five things to do instead the next time you're stuck:
1. Listen to your body.
When you experience an uncomfortable sensation—don't disregard it. Instead, do the opposite: Get quiet and start to pay closer attention to what it's telling you. Where do you feel the sensation in your body? Does it feel hot or cold? Contracted or open? Does it have a texture, color, sound, or smell?
Write down the sensations that you feel in your body in your journal and look for any patterns or consistencies in the information. What you may find is that a particular person, place, experience, or thing is what's keeping you feeling stuck. Becoming aware of your body's unique signals of stuckness and self-betrayal is the first step to creating change.
2. Pay attention to your thoughts.
What you believe about yourself and the world around you creates your reality. When the record player inside your head is on repeat with self-limiting beliefs and statements that hold you back, it's impossible to become unstuck. Changing your thoughts to align with what you want in life will allow you to reconnect with your own inner knowing and intuition.
Become the master observer of your mind by taking note of every time you have a thought that is out of alignment with who you are or what you want in your life. Then, immediately replace the thought with a more positive affirmation of who you are (i.e., "I AM enough") and what you want in your life in the future (i.e., "I HAVE abundance"). I encourage you to either say these statements out loud or write them down in a journal.
3. Engage in wanderlust—no matter where in the world you are.
When we are stuck and out of alignment with our own truth, it's often because we are engaged in the same routine day in and day out. Mix things up by listening to different music than you usually do, exploring a creative hobby, or learning about something new. Turn off your phone and allow your intuition to direct you. Take note of how it makes you feel.
4. Look for signs from the universe.
The universe is constantly sending us signs—we just need to pay attention to them. Did a song come on the radio at the perfect time? Did a stranger tell you exactly what you needed to hear? Did things fall into place with minimal to no effort? These aren't just coincidences; these are synchronicities.
Pay attention to small moments of ease, dreams, or oddities. Write them down or share them with someone you trust. Try to make sense of them. Learn to trust them. The powers that be (insert "Universe," "God," "spirit" here) have your back if you learn to listen.
5. Share your stuckness.
Every single person on this planet has felt stuck at some point in their life. When we allow ourselves to share and be vulnerable with people we trust, we create movement and open up the door to new possibilities. (One of your friends may have a prospective job connection for you; another may have a person to set you up on a date with, etc.) Here is one exercise you can use to share your stuckness with someone else and invite change:
- Meet up with a friend or family member (either virtually or IRL) who has agreed to share an area in their life where they feel stuck.
- Then, allow them to share for two minutes of uninterrupted time. (I would encourage you to use a timer so you don't have to think about the clock!) They can share what is happening, how it feels, who is involved, etc., in order to paint a vivid picture and fill the entire time.
- After their time is up, allow them to decide whether they want feedback (sometimes all we need is someone to hear us) and then switch roles and repeat.
- Notice how it makes you feel to share your stuckness and not hold it deep inside.
Practice listening to your body, paying attention to your thoughts, engaging in wanderlust, looking for signs from the universe, and sharing your stuckness, and the rest will follow.
Allie Stark is a speaker, podcast host, and inspired entrepreneur. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received her master’s in integrative health from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her work is centered around the idea of reclaiming your instinct—a practice focused on quieting the clamor of social training in order to realign with your own truth. With over 15 years of experience in health and wellness, Stark's coaching and facilitation provides tools, ideas, and resources to support individuals and organizations to become their healthiest, happiest, and best selves.