Feeling stuck stems from believing your experiences are out of your control.
And you’re not completely wrong because your patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting get stronger and more automatic the more they are repeated and it can be easy to forget that you have a choice about all of it.
Yet the fact is, whether you realize it or not, you make a lot of choices about the way you think and therefore feel and act already.
So knowing how to become aware of a pattern, routine, or attitude that has you feeling helpless and resetting your approach will help you get unstuck and move forward.
Welcome to Simple Yoga Life, a weekly show about making the wisdom and practices of yoga part of your routine so that you can be more present, calm, and confident every single day with ease. I’m your host, Stephannie Weikert. I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist and creator of the online programs Shift Happens with Yoga + Make Peace with Stress. If you’re seeing this online, sign-up at stephannieweikert.com/show to get weekly guidance about making big, positive changes in your life in small, surprisingly simple steps.
The reason you’re stuck is because you’re on autopilot in some way.
There’s some thought or feeling or behavior in your life that you’re not questioning and the force of this thought or feeling or behavior has become a filter through which you experience your life.
These filters (that we all have, by the way) are not necessarily a problem, but when you feel stuck in a situation or circumstance you want to change and you’re unable to do so, it means there is something to become aware of and reset within yourself.
Let me tell you a story about how a stuck attitude and a stuck light fixture got unstuck at the same time.
My home office has the same ceiling fan as the bedrooms and living room.
Because of this, my husband knew exactly how to change the light bulb when it went out in my office.
Only when he climbed on the chair to unscrew the glass cover and change the light bulb, it was stuck.
That first time he tried, he didn’t have time to figure out what was going on so he moved on.
The next time he set out to change the light bulb he “knew” it was stuck and after pushing and pulling a bit, he got annoyed and decided this room was just not going to have an overhead light.
One day, I’m resting on the couch in my office with the flu.
My husband comes in to check on me and decides to deal with the stuck ceiling fan light once and for all.
I watch him climb up on the chair and push and twist the glass cover to the light fixture.
His jaw is clenched, his shoulders are tense, and his head is shaking.
I could tell he was approaching this task 100% sure the glass was completely stuck. And it was obvious to me that his attitude was stuck too.
I thought about a quote by Henry Ford “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
I suggested he try one particular suggestion he’d found on Google one more time, but I challenged him to change something about this attempt. Instead of shaking his head while he worked,
I asked him to repeat the words, “This is going to work.” He rolled his eyes and after some “what do you have to lose” coaxing, he agreed.
He climbed onto the chair, “This is going to work.”
Per the instructions he’d found online, he reached up with a towel in one hand, a rubber mallet in the other.
“This is going to work.” He held the towel on one part of the glass and tapped it with the mallet. “This is going to work.”
He worked his way around the glass. “This is going to work.”
As I watched, it was obvious his approach was really shifting.
Once all the way around, he set the towel and mallet down. “This is going to work.” He reached up and pushed on the glass. “This is going to work.” The glass twisted an inch and came right out. It worked. The point of this story is to illustrate just how powerful our minds are. The force of your thoughts are a filter that shape your feelings and behaviors and your life experience.
Whether you realize it and are willing to take responsibility or not, you’re choosing to be stuck.
If there is something in your life that you truly want to change but you’re feeling incapable of making it happen, there is some pattern, some thought or feeling or action, some routine or attitude within yourself that you need to reset. But what exactly is a reset?
Here’s a simple way to think about it: when you reset a device, it adjusts or corrects it’s operation, so that it’s ready to work again.
What actually happens, like when you restart your phone, is that junk information, the little bits of code from every text, website, app, etc, is cleared out so that good information, the essential functions of what the phone is built to do, is restored. (That’s not a technical description, but you get the gist.)
You reset your phone when it’s slow or glitchy or stuck trying to do something and not working. When you’re stuck on something and not working, without a reset, everything you do will be just like your past—stuck in old patterns of thinking, attitudes, and beliefs—which will result in endless repetition of your life exactly as it is.
But you’re not helpless here, I promise! When you learn to reset, you get unstuck, you restore your good information, you reconnect with your essential function, what you’re built to do.
So how do you become aware of a pattern of thinking, an attitude or belief that has you feeling stuck and reset your approach so that you can move forward?
First, identify ONE way you feel stuck in your life.
Getting super specific so that you can focus on one thing at a time is very important.
In my experience both personally and professionally, the moments when we feel most stressed whether it show up as frustration, negativity, irritation, overwhelm, feeling fed-up or whatever, your stress is key to discovering the thoughts, feelings, and actions that are sabotaging your ability to move forward.
Here’s an example: you feel restless, annoyed, and unsettled in the evening, say you’re trying to relax, but can’t, this is an indication there’s something that’s coming up for your during this time of day that can be reset.
So what’s a circumstance in your life that feels like a thorn in your side? When do you tend to be most irritable or frustrated? Where are you stuck?
Once you’ve determined, as specifically as possible, ONE way you’re stuck, the second step is to get clear about the thought or belief that’s at the root of the issue.
For example, if you’re anxious in the evening, you’ve made it through your day, checked off as many boxes as possible, made it work to the best of your ability and you finally have a few minutes to yourself to relax but, you can’t actually relax, what’s going on in your mind?
Ok, the third step is to change the thought that’s keeping you stuck.
How do you do that? The simplest way is to work with a mantra.
Without going too deep into how neuroplasticity works, using is like training your brain to think what you want it to with greater ease.
Have you ever memorized something? A poem, song lyrics, multiplication tables?
The process is to repeat something over and over until your brain “knows” it.
A mantra works the same way.
Let’s apply this to the example we’ve been using: you’ve made it through your day and finally have a few minutes to yourself to relax but instead, you’re anxious.
When you look at what’s going on in your mind, you realize that, despite doing the best you can, your brain has a critical, not good enough track on repeat. (If this is you, you are not alone and, it’s not your fault.)
Here’s how this could play out:
You use the first 3 to 5 minutes of your evening downtime to sit or lie down and repeat a mantra like:
I am enough and worthy of time for me.
You may find that afterward, you can do whatever it is you normally do and feel more relaxed right away.
You may have to use your mantra several times throughout the evening to say relaxed.
With some consistency, it’s likely you’ll find yourself not only able to relax in the evening, but making different choices about this time.
Instead of a glass of wine and NetFlix, you may find yourself doing something that’s even more nourishing like taking a warm bath or journaling or reading an inspiring book.
Let’s review. You’re stuck because there’s some pattern, some thought, feeling or attitude you need to reset and to make that happen, ask yourself these questions:
- What is one way I’m stuck in my life?
- What is the thought that’s keeping me stuck?
- How can I change that thought with a simple mantra?
We all have patterns in our lives that can be reset, which is exactly why I offer my online yoga therapy and habit building mini-program, Shift Happens with Yoga. When we work together to reset a pattern in your life, I help you identify where you can make one small shift in your routine that will make a big, positive difference in your whole life. You get a customized, simple, therapeutic practice and step-by-step, habit building instructions so that you can make it part of your routine with ease.
Learn more at stephannieweikert.com/shifthappens
So thank you for watching this episode Simple Yoga Life, I hope I’ve inspired you to begin making simple yoga part of your routine.
Let me know in the comments below how you feel stuck in your life by finishing the sentence: I’m consistently most stressed when ___ .
And I’m sure you know a busy, stressed-out woman who could benefit from feeling more present, calm, and confident every day, please share this video with her.