Do you feel stuck in one or more areas of your life? Do you wish you could break out of the rut you’re experiencing in your dating, social, or professional life?

Many of us, for one reason or another, feel stuck in at least one facet of our lives:

–          We’re not connecting with anyone we’re excited about on a romantic level;

–          We feel like we’re constantly fighting uphill battles at work;

–          We can’t seem to motivate ourselves out of bed to go to the gym in the morning.

Whatever the struggle, there’s just a problem that we can’t seem to figure out or work through. Not only that, but the more we try to overcome it, the more frustrated and hopeless we feel.

We’re stuck!

Now, sometimes we can feel stuck and still be in a good place

When we notice that we’ve begun to feel held up in some way, but we’re still positively seeking solutions to the problem, that’s not a bad thing.

This is what I call “good stuck”: you’re facing the problem head-on, actively searching for answers, learning new tactics, and applying what you’ve learned. That process involves real growth because you’re learning to overcome obstacles in a way that will serve you for the rest of your life!

The real problem comes into play when you’re stuck and stressed about it.

Reality check: your life is going to include a never-ending series of complications.

Maybe that sounds pessimistic, but it’s not—it’s realistic. And facing that reality is actually far more likely to keep those complications from derailing your long-term happiness and fulfillment.

This is why being stuck and stressed is such a problem—because it’s just another way of procrastinating and refusing to deal with the problem.

When we’re stuck and stressed, we tend to allow the problem to take over in our minds. We get overwhelmed, allow other problems to compound, and begin inventing and replaying the terrible stories about our inadequacies that we’ve been telling ourselves for years.

At that point, if we don’t work to counteract the issue, we go from stuck and stressed to stuck and stagnant.

When we stay in that place of feeling stuck for long enough, our energy dissipates, and we enter a state of learned helplessness.

We make the decision to stop trying because we think we have no options left; we stop growing and confronting life; we end up feeling small and vulnerable because we know we’re not taking advantage of life and living up to our dreams and abilities.

What’s worse is that we then indulge in reward-seeking behaviors: sweets, alcohol, drugs, comfort food, internet binging—anything to give us that quick hit of satisfaction and that rush of life that we’re craving.

Many people live their lives floating in that stagnant pool, allowing the stagnation to fuel their deepest insecurities even further.

So, how do we break out of that vicious cycle?

One easy step to begin with is to use mantras to change your thought patterns and encourage more productive behavior. My favorite for this particular issue is the phrase, “I don’t worry—I solve problems.”

I don’t worry—I solve problems.

When I notice myself going into that dark mental state of panic or worry, I begin by repeating that phrase until my brain quiets down, and then I simply ask myself what I need to do to move forward:

–          Is there a problem I need to solve? Maybe I’ll take a moment to brainstorm some solutions.

–          Is this a good time for me to think through my crisis? No, I’m with my kids—I’ll let the worry go for now and give my full focus to what’s going on here instead.

–          Have I already tried a few tactics? I’ll talk it through with a friend in the morning and see if there’s some element I’m missing.

Even if the problem isn’t solved right away, this mantra can at least help you quiet the anxiety and come at the problem from a reasonable and relaxed frame of mind.

Once you’ve tried that, you can engage in some more physical tools that allow you to break your stagnation and foster healthier mental and physical energy.

Here is one of the simplest and most effective:

Now, if you can do this along with me as you read, please take action right now, and stand up! If not, please engage in whatever way you can (vocally, etc.) or come back to it as soon as you get home.

–          Begin by shaking your body out and getting loose;

–          Take five full, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth;

o   (You might already be starting to feel a nice development of energy)

–          Now, keep your upright and powerful posture as you repeat this phrase:

o   I am the captain of my ship. I am the master of my destiny.

–          Take another deep breath as you prepare to repeat the phrase with more intensity:

o   I am the captain of my ship. I am the master of my destiny.

–          Now, reclaim your full power and allow yourself to really own it, both physically and vocally this time:

o   I am the captain of my ship. I am the master of my destiny.

This is the kind of practice that you might want to do while you’re home alone for the first time, because you really want to let yourself get passionate and activate your entire body!

The more outrageously you involve your body, the more you’re going to activate your energy—and the better chance you have of breaking out of your stagnation.

In fact, you should continue to repeat this phrase until you let yourself into the experience to the fullest extent of your ability and truly believe it with every fiber of your being.

Now, this is the most important step: take action.

Once you have reached that place of amplified energy, you must take at least one small action that will allow you to reclaim your will and remind you that you are the one who is in control of your life.

If you wait too long, you will lose your momentum and your willpower will weaken!

What small action can you take right now that will make a difference? Make that phone call; send that email; brainstorm those solutions; write a to-do list—just begin your journey in some way, even if it’s just to engage in the activity that will move you forward one small step (e.g.: if you’re a writer, just sit down and begin to write, even if it’s about nothing at all).

You can reclaim your power starting right now—you just have to be willing to take the one step that begins the proverbial “journey of 1,000 miles.”

Every problem has a solution—you just haven’t found it yet. When you’re stressed and struggling, just remember that there is some move you haven’t tried yet, and it will reveal itself you to you in time. Just keep seeking, keep testing the boundaries, and keep applying what you’ve learned. You will break through to the other side.

Please, if you feel that this discussion has served you, share your take-aways below. What action can you take to begin your forward movement? What’s holding you back? Not only will sharing these challenges help you work through them, it may even inspire other readers to take action, themselves.

Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.


Dr. Aziz