Do you often feel anxious about your life, like you are not making significant progress? Do you feel stuck? Or think you are in a rut and constantly find yourself feeling frustrated? Do not fret as you are not alone or the first person to feel this way. A study done in the United Kingdom in 2015 shows that seven in ten people are unhappy with their lives.
When you feel this way, it may seem like there is no solution for the condition. You might also have the impression that it is near impossible to shake off this feeling; however, this is wrong. You can do certain things to feel better and lift your spirits, but first, you need to know what it means to be stuck in a rut in life.
What Does It Mean To Be Stuck In A Rut?
Routines can get boring; doing the same thing at work every day, reliving the same activities in your relationship, or having nothing to look forward to at the end of the day. When you find yourself in such situations, it is easy to feel like you are stuck and you are not making any progress in your life. Being stuck in life feels like you are in a cycle of activities that do not interest or excite you, which can be detrimental to your emotional health. It can sometimes feel like you have been shoved against a wall with no means of escape.
Several studies point to the fact that many people feel like they are in a rut in their lives, which has made them very unhappy. 2000 Americans were interviewed in 2017 by OnePoll, and the results of the interviews show that 80% of the participants felt like they were stuck in a routine. A similar survey in the United Kingdom revealed that 69% of the participants felt they were trapped, while 40% were unhappy with their lives. The reasons given from the two countries overlap with people doing the exact thing simultaneously every day or feeling overwhelmed by their life troubles such as debts, bills, failing relationships, and jobs that are not fulfilling.
What Triggers This Feeling Of Being Stuck In Life?
Currently, it is not clear what exactly can make you feel stuck. Different people have postulated varying things that may trigger this feeling. According to Jena Field, a coach, and counseling psychologist, feeling stuck can either be situational or psychological. For some people, it is both. Regardless of how you feel stuck, Dr. Field states that the common denominator is fear. When you realize that to progress and get to the next level in your life, you need to make certain changes; this may come with a nagging fear, making you wonder if you can actually do it. Field describes this as being caused by a “bullying internal” critic that manifests as self-doubt. This critic makes you think that you cannot break out of your life’s monotonous nature and only drives you deeper into the feeling of helplessness.
Paula Durlofsky, in her article for PyschCentral, created a list of things that might throw a person into this. At the top of the list is self-doubt. Other things include ambivalence, making mistakes, lack of curiosity, and setting unrealistic goals.
The setting of unrealistic goals was also highlighted as a reason for feeling stuck by Henri Junttila who revealed that doing this throws you into a whirlwind where you feel like you have lost control of your life which can, in turn, create a feeling of helplessness.
How Do You Shake Off This Feeling Or Prevent It?
Now, you are in a rut, and it feels like there is no getting past it. It does not seem like there is any way you can become better. From the UK research, while all the people who were feeling stuck wanted to change their lives’ pace and trajectory, they were at a loss for what to do.
You might feel the same way, but finding your way out of the situation you feel stuck in requires minor changes to your life. Here are some of the things you can start to do to kickstart the change in your life that you need and deserve.
Studies and research show that feeling lost in life is not uncommon, nor is it specific to you. When you start to feel trapped in a routine, one of the best things and the first things you should do is accept that this is the reality of things in your life now. Fighting it may only make it resonate stronger within you. You cannot fix a problem that you have refused to acknowledge.
This is a simple exercise that will take less than a minute. Whenever you feel like you are stuck and the anxiety starts to rise, use your affirmative words and say what you love the most about yourself. The one thing that no matter when everything else has gone bad you still like will help you find yourself again. It could be something as trivial as the way your hair bounces or how your feet never smell.
Taking some time apart to rest is very important, especially when you feel stuck. This gives you some time to breathe and exist in the moment of rest that you have carved out for yourself. It also helps you feel lighter and less burdened by the pressures of being in a rut.
Taking a break is also a great time to step back, have a look at the situation at hand, and reevaluate what your needs are. The break can either be from work or even from that relationship.
Revive Your Hobbies
For the sake of lifting your spirit and getting out of the funk that being stuck in a routine has thrown you in, do something that you love. See a movie, hang out with your friends, or read a book. If it is an activity that you like, then engage in it. This is bound to revitalize you and help you feel refreshed.
All in all, it is not unusual to feel stuck in life, but you can always make life changes that will get you out of that state.