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depression-get unstuck from life's ruts

When you’re in a rut–be it in a job, in between jobs, or just in general–becoming “unstuck” can be very difficult. While in this position, you may feel trapped, unmotivated or defeated. You may be tempted to settle. Don’t!

We all get in ruts, at times feeling trapped by our circumstances, and that is okay. However, the worst thing to do in this situation is to remain engaged in whatever it is that is making you feel unsatisfied. Something needs to change and change requires action. Today, I’ll give you five tried and true ways to free yourself from the funk so you can get back to living a rewarding life.

Get out of the comfort zone! 

Often the real cause of feeling stuck comes from the very habits we’ve created to be more comfortable. Our comfort zone feels good, but also has the potential to keep us from experiencing life. When we see too much of the same thing day after day, it’s easy to fall into the doldrums. Do something new! Try painting or photography or learn video editing. Attend a networking event or retreat. Work through your reservations and put yourself out there. In doing so, you’ll prove to yourself that you’re adaptable and resilient to setbacks. And, who knows, maybe you’ll find a talent or passion you were not even aware of.

Exercise, exercise, exercise 

We often forget that the brain is part of the body, and the body was made to move. Research continues to confirm that the brain performs better, and the body feels better, when we exercise.1 Whether it’s yoga, jogging, taking a walk or lifting weights, daily physical activity will motivate you to get out of the funk by stimulating your brain.

Travel somewhere new

Like exercise, travel stimulates the brain as well (probably due to the fact that we humans were nomadic creatures not too long ago). It’s in our nature to crave a change of scenery. It doesn’t need to be an expensive, extravagant trip. It can be something as simple as a weekend trek to a neighboring state, a train ride across the country, or a camping adventure with the family.

Make a point to be kind to those around you 

This obvious step is easily ignored when we get trapped in ruts. We become so wrapped up in ourselves, we forget to reach out and engage with others. Taking time at work, at home, and with friends to connect and share is one of the best ways to enrich your life. Kindness is reciprocal, after all.

Try reading for pleasure (every day!) 

Reading for pleasure forces your brain to create entire worlds out of thin air, and books offer differing perspectives on life that you may have never considered. What’s more, reading gives you time to recover from life’s little struggles and have a moment to yourself. It also works as a great sleeping aid if you get into the habit of reading right before bed.

These suggestions promote positive change, but the key to each of these is your attitude. You must eliminate the words “wish, hope, maybe, and should” from your vocabulary and replace them with “can, will, and do.” In most cases, feeling stuck is temporary and common.* You have the power to get yourself out of it. Trust that you will!

1 “The Human Brain,” The Franklin Institute, accessed October 22, 2012, http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html

2 “Staying on Top of Your Game,” Psychology Foundation of Canada, accessed October 22, 2012, http://www.psychologyfoundation.org/pdf/TopOfYourGame/3.pdf

*It should be noted that a “rut” is much different than dealing with depression or other mental disorders that cause a permanent “low” feeling. When in doubt, consult a physician.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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