Life is not all highs and lows. Mostly, it’s a lot of in betweens. Daily routines where we get things done, sure, but we just don’t feel at our best. The road ahead is uncertain (or so predictable it pains us) and we can’t help but feel like this can’t possibly be what it’s all about.
Times like these, while common, can be life’s most confusing. After all, you know you’re not exactly in the black pits of depression – because you don’t really have any one thing to be depressed about – but it’s a far cry from the brilliant hued highs of self-confidence and hope. So what do you do to snap out of it and reconnect with your most vibrant self?
Without a specific issue to work on, life’s little gray areas can get the best of us. But they don’t have to. If you’re feeling out of it, frustrated or just plain uninspired, in work, love or any area of your life, it’s time to get your mojo back. Try the three steps below for the best results.
1. Feel the blahs
Experience where you are right at this moment. When people feel bad in any way (sad, angry, dull, lonely, annoyed or disappointed for example), our tendency is to try to suppress it. There are several philosophies behind this strategy – not giving into negativity, staying positive to attract good things, pain avoidance, fake it ’til you make it – and that’s just for starters. But all of these ideologies fail to address one very important part of human nature – our emotions are our barometer. And they are all natural!
They tell us when something is off, even if they’re not offering a clear picture of what exactly that is. If we don’t allow ourselves to experience the bad stuff (and the blah stuff), the negativity festers and continues to frustrate, rather than bearing itself out and leading to growth. The best way to get out of a rut is to accept it for the moment and experience it for a little while. So if you’re feeling pretty blah – roll with it. It may hurt a second or an hour or a week, but this life offers us just one guarantee: the only thing you can count on is change.
If you give into the way you’re feeling and (here’s the key) let it out, it will run its course. If you block it out and move forward without feeling it, or spin your wheels searching when what you ought to be doing is experiencing, you’ll just wind up right back where you started. Either way, you will find yourself in this middle ground again, where something needs to change and you need to figure out what it is… You might as well be there to learn a different lesson next time.
2. Pinpoint the problem
Pick up your journal and write down how you feel. This sounds so basic – and also idiotic when all you feel is numb. But if you give yourself over to the idea that while it may be a monotonous task (and just one more thing you have to do every day), writing down how you feel will lead you to a catharsis.
Why is that? Because one of the hardest things about being in that just not quite right space is the inability to pinpoint the problem. Journaling in a stream of consciousness fashion (whether you keep a file on your computer, write a blog, talk to a digital recorder or jot in a notebook), will eventually lead you to the root of things. Gradually, what’s going on underneath will start to bubble to the surface and explain itself to you in a way only you can understand. Images, associations and emotions begin to repeat themselves. Patterns form around the sorts of things that trigger you. You see what you need to change. It’s like therapy without the therapist.
Of course, you may find you still need to talk to someone (having a trusted and objective professional on your team never hurts), but by delving into a little self-exploration on your own, you’ll be surprised at what you can unearth (and even bring to your sessions). Most importantly, you’ll uncover what you’re missing at the moment and what you need to do next.
3. Work your thoughts
Action, action, action! Now that you’ve given into your blahs in order to let out the tears and frustration, and started to make a little headway on what’s really going on inside, it’s now time to take action and remedy the situation. Complacency is the enemy of purpose – which is what we all need to feel our most fab. While you may have needed to sit in the emotions to work through them, now that you’ve given yourself time to process, you have to start putting your thoughts into action.
How? By starting small – and within the framework you’ve got. Adjust your routines to address the areas you’ve realized are lacking. Whether it’s making time for yoga on Saturdays, starting a side project that can lead to your dream job or hiring a babysitter once a week so that you and your mate have time to yourselves. Just pay attention to what your inner voices have told you to do and do it!
It’s okay if you don’t know the exact direction you’re heading – or why you’re headed there. You only have to know that your instincts told you to go there. With a little patience and effort, things will start to come together because you’re making an effort on behalf of your own highest good.
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