Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting Unstuck

It is easy to get in a life rut. It is important to take a personal inventory from time to time,and determine if you want to mix things up a little bit, create some new patterns, or add some more fun into your life mix. If you are bored, you need to take some positive action to move towards being a happier and more interesting individual.

When the fall routines and schedules get going, the calender can look like school and work commitments as far out as you can see. Ho hum. We each live in a box, says writer/therapist Susan Jeffers,in her classic book, "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway".
Jeffers suggests that all of us need to consider moving out of the small box that is our comfort zone, and getting into the next, bigger-sized box.

How do we break out of our current comfort zone? There are lots of unique and personal answers to that. You might take on a personal challenge that requires you to grow or work hard towards a goal. For example, training for a race, or taking a class in something you were always curious about. At mid-life, it is helpful to consider experiences you haven't had, but always wanted to try. Have you ever wanted to learn to dance, or learn another language? You may want to set a plan to travel somewhere you have always been interested in. Making plans is important to mental health. Even if those plans are a year away, or you have to budget carefully to make those plans happen!

Sometimes mixing things up is fun. While I am a proponent of family structure and routines(mealtimes,homework time, bedtime), who says you can't surprise your spouse and meet them on Wednesday for lunch? Think outside the box! Children love to have fun and variety, too. I know several families who keep things fresh for the family by having a theme-night dinner once a week. My own children always liked our 'breakfast for dinner night'. Who says we can't we practice spelling words with shaving cream? Or sidewalk chalk? Or chocolate sauce!

Tackling a fear you have can also move you to your bigger box. Are you afraid of public speaking? One person I know feels so good about having joined Toastmasters this last year, and becoming more confident in communicating in groups. Perhaps this is the year you collapse your story that limits you, and take positive action to deal with a rut of depression, anxiety, addictive behavior. We are not getting any younger! You can even stop and imagine how free you might feel if you gave up your own limited view of what is possible for you. Your respect for yourself will surge.

Truly, the biggest limitations on any of us are the limits we put on ourselves. I am a big believer in the idea that within each of us is a more whole person yearning to be fully developed and expressed. If we cling to our ruts, out of habit or lack of awareness, we miss the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer us. Getting unstuck is an an inside job. Nobody can do it for you. When you are ready to get unstuck, or collapse the story you've been telling yourself about why you can't have a great life, talking with a professional therapist can be just the jumpstart and accountability that you need. Have a great week, and stretch to do something healthy, but out of your comfort zone.

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