Posted on 11/08/2017 by David Burgess
Here are five powerful strategies to make you feel better
You know what it feels like, those days where you seem to be going around and around in circles, wondering if your hard work will ever pay off or indeed if there's even a point to whatever it is your doing anyway.
It happens to us all at some point, we fall into a rut and life seems flat, tedious and lacking in excitement. It makes us feel like we aren't progressing and as a consequence we feel trapped.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The thing is that feelings are NOT facts. So, if you feel trapped in a negative cycle, it's probably has less to do with a lack of fortune or opportunity and more to do with how you are thinking about your situation.
You can actually change the way you experience and react to what life throws at you simply by changing your thoughts. In fact the way that we think about our circumstances is a much more powerful determinant of our happiness than our circumstances themselves.
So here are five ways to train your mind to get out of that rut and experience life in a healthier, happier way:
1. Learn to put your anxiety in perspective
Our brains still aren't very good at telling the difference between life-threatening danger and any other kind of minor stresses. So we tend to conflate minor upsets with exaggerated feelings of doom and apprehension, ultimately making everything feel like a battle. Its important therefore to put things in perspective.
When you're feeling anxious try and step outside of the situation and look at it objectively — is this really something that you cant cope with? What resources do you have to deal with it and are you perhaps catastrophizing and exaggerating the effect that it has on you? When you understand your anxiety and the way it affects you, you can change the way you experience it.
2. Set attainable goals
Having unrealistic goals or timelines for those goals is a sure fire way to stay stuck in a rut. In fact if our goals are too ambitious or time frame is too tight we feel like we've failed even before we've really started.
In order to get around this, try setting up small, manageable, interim goals. Be realistic about what you need to accomplish those goals are and be meticulous about setting up steps to aim for to get you there.
3. Upgrade yourself
Maybe it's learning a new coding language, going to that leadership seminar that you've been reading about or listening to lecture series you've been putting off.
Doing something that you feel is adding to your skill set either at work or in life in general will give you a greater sense of volition over your situation and allow you think about it in a different way.
4. Stop indulging in the future and dwelling on the past
If all you are doing is dreaming about the future or ruminating about past problems that brought you into this situation then you are not doing anything meaningful to get out of the rut you are in.
Instead stay motivated by having clear, realistic goals and by being constructive in terms of what you need to overcome or fix so you can make the progress you want.
5. Take responsibility for your happiness
We are sold on the idea that happiness is something that happens to lucky people- good fortune just falls into their laps, and everything just works out. The truth is that we need to make happiness happen.
We can do this in one of two ways:
The first has to do with how we think about things: whether its working on our cognition and making a point of focusing what we are grateful for, what is going well in our lives or what we like about ourselves- asserting control over self-defeating thoughts its key.
The second is to actually do stuff that makes you happy: exercise, see friends, make time to be creative. Engaging in activities and social situations that make you happy will make that rut seem much more manageable.