A good friend of mine was recently in a rut. Everything from her dating life, to work, to health issues, to family relationships was a source of frustration. She exclaimed “Why can’t I get rid of this black cloud. It seems to be following me everywhere.” Her irritation is totally understandable. Who wouldn’t want to just “throw in the towel”? For a moment I put myself in the hole with her, and joined in her misery. But, I know from personal experience that staying in that hole isn’t helpful.
You know that life is a roller coaster. Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down. The important question is, what can we do when times are hard? First, I encourage you to actually feel your emotions. Acknowledge them, regardless if it’s sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety or anything else.
Suppressing your emotions is unhealthy and stores the energy for another day rather than defusing it. Feel angry? Punch a bag, yell in your pillow, growl like a dog in your car, and then move on. Feel sad? Cry and cry some more. Sometimes I don’t even know why I feel like crying and that’s okay. I just cry so I can express the emotion and move on.
But no matter how painful your experience is, there comes a point when you need to get up and climb out of the hole in an attempt to move forward. Our health coaching practice affords us the opportunity to work with many clients. Here are our top suggestions we offer clients for climbing out of the “rabbit hole.”
5 Key Steps to Moving On
1. Decide to feel better. Just simply deciding you want to feel better and move on is worth celebrating. You may not be there today, and that’s a choice. Are you wallowing in your misery? Our brain circuitry is wired in a way that these negative emotions feel addictive.
According to spiritual teacher and advisor, Eckhart Tolle,
“This kind of compulsive thinking is actually an addiction. What characterizes an addiction? Quite simply this: you no longer feel that you have the choice to stop. It seems stronger than you.
Misery is a love-hate relationship, I know, because I’ve been there. For 2 ½ years after my divorce in 2008, I was wallowing in my pain…until the very moment I decided it was enough. The moment I made that decision things started to look up all around me. It’s up to you how long you carry the torch of suffering.
2. Be grateful. Once you decide to feel better, a good way to start is to count your blessings. Do you have a toothache? No? Awesome. Celebrate! Do you have food on your plate, a bed to rest your head on, money to pay your bills, hot water to take a shower, a car to get you from point A to point B, a friend you can call…?
If you find it hard to truly feel the appreciation for these things, contemplate the opposite. How would it feel to go hungry? Know that every new thought may feel strenuous but there’s a reason for that. Every thought runs down certain brain connections. The more you think a thought the thicker the hard wiring becomes and
the greater the chance of the same repetitive thoughts.
As renowned lecturer and educator, Dr. Joe Dispenza said you can achieve anything once you learn how to rewire your brain and recondition your body to make lasting changes. “Neurons that wire together, fire together.”
If you’ve thought the same negative thought for years it is physically draining to abandon that thinking and create new pathways in your brain. The start is the hardest, so practice is key. Use a gratitude journal daily to keep track of your thoughts and create new brain hard wiring.
3. See the beauty in all things.
With spring knocking on our door, it’s easy to find so much beauty around us. Trees are budding. The birds are singing. The sun is shining. Can you pause and be in awe of it? I mean this literally…can you stop your car on the way to work and just admire the beauty? Do you feel like saying “who has time for that” or “don’t be such a hippie”? But if you can’t find JOY in the small things around you, what does it take?
You know so well that material things, a fancy car, a bigger house, a new boat, a new diamond ring, or the latest brand-name fashion only keeps you smiling for a few days, maybe weeks before it loses its spark. In that world the only way to keep yourself happy is to keep buying more and more things, but none of it ever seems to truly scratch the itch.
Look at a young child. Everything they see is exciting…mommy, mommy, look! Mommy, check this out! Instead of getting annoyed with them, can you look at the world through their eyes and start getting excited about the small stuff again?
4. Change up your routine.
Doing the same things in the same order every day gets boring and are a sure way to keep you in a rut. Switch things up! Get out of bed on the other side. Read something inspirational first thing in the morning. Change up your breakfast. Keep the TV off and play music that makes you happy. Wait an hour before you turn on your phone and check emails or the news…your office will survive without your early morning replies. Dress in more colorful clothes. Find a new route to drive to work. Call a friend on your way to work and give them your love. There are so many ways to switch things up. Just try 2-3 every week. Small stuff. And stick with it.
5. Let go.
We all have painful memories from our past that continue to have a hold on us. Is a past hurt or painful memory fueling your negative thinking? Choose to let go of that memory every time it comes to mind. Say, “I choose to let go of this memory and to forgive the person associated with it.”
Know that this process takes time. Know there will be days when you won’t feel like letting go. But when you do, you’ll begin to experience inner freedom, true and lasting peace. The kind of peace another person can’t give you or take away.
Helping you create new routines, a healthy mindset and lasting peace is what our JOYVIAL health coaches specialize in each and every day! We are here to help you find more joy and balance in your life. Let us help you navigate this crazy thing called LIFE. Give us a call and get your first session FREE! 1-866-JOYVIAL.
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