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Feeling Trapped? Do These 9 Things to Take Your Life Back

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Feeling Trapped? Do These 9 Things to Take Your Life Back

Are you happy with your life, or are you feeling trapped? Many people are unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives, and a lot of these people think that they have no control over what happens in it. However, you have the power to change your own life for the better using your mind and your actions.

Feeling trapped can take the form of sticking with an unhappy relationship, being unable to travel due to lack of funds, or staying in a certain city because that’s where your job is. Many aspects of life can make us feel trapped, but there are always ways to improve our situation and regain a sense of control or freedom.

Check out 9 ways you can take your life back and find happiness here.

1. Live a Lifestyle You Can Afford

One of the most stressful ways to live your life is to live above your means. Many people spend more than they earn and get stressed on a daily basis about their financial situation. It is important to treat yourself, but the treat shouldn’t be a big expense.

Ask yourself these questions:

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  • What do I truly need to survive?
  • Do I need this, or do I want it?
  • Will it bring happiness into my life?

As you’re trying to budget each month, try to focus on spending more money on experiences and less on objects. The experiences (a short trip, a surprise date night, etc.) will help you make memories, while the objects will only bring you a fleeting sense of contentment.

2. Be Aware of Your Power and Take Responsibility

Many people blame others and the world around them for the bad things in their life, but the truth is you have full control of many aspects of your life. Only you can change the things in your life that you are unhappy about.

For example, if you have a desire to exercise more but don’t have money to go to the gym, take control of that situation by finding a YouTube channel with some exercise videos you enjoy. This may not be a perfect solution, but it’s a great temporary fix while you get to a point where you can afford a gym membership.

3. Find a New Job

Your job doesn’t have to be the best part of your life, but if you dislike going into work, you should look for a new job[1]. This is how you spend 40 hours of your week, and your job should be more than just a way to pay the bills if you want to stop feeling trapped.

Ask yourself these questions:

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  • What could improve my job?
  • What am I looking for in a job?
  • Do I need to improve my skills to find my perfect job?

If your job isn’t bringing you joy but you’re unable to leave it at this moment, look into volunteering in an area that you’re passionate about. You can also take some free online courses in the meantime to brush up on some skills that may help you land your dream job when it appears.

4. Realize That Life Responds to You

Your outlook determines the way you see the world, so make sure you’re looking at a positive view of the world. Your mind has the power to make you see life negatively, or it has the power to inject positivity into each day. As Rumi once stated:

“What you seek is seeking you.”

Seek what you hope to achieve in life while trusting that your dream life is also out there looking for you. This will help maintain a sense of calm and positivity, which will make your journey all the easier.

5. Start to Live a Healthy Life

Many people start feeling trapped when their body is no longer working in the way they hoped. Perhaps they don’t have the energy they once did or can’t seem to sleep through the night anymore.

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In order to open up your body to more experiences, respect it by drinking lots of water, eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, and getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night. All of these things will help you to feel happier and more proactive.

6. Follow Your Passion

You know yourself better than anyone else, so you know what direction your life should be following. Even if your job does not encompass what you’re passionate about, you can still incorporate these things into your life.

Perhaps you have a passion for art but chose to study accounting instead. You can work your day job at the bank, but when you get home, sit down in front of a canvas for an hour and let your passion for art flow. You may even find that you create enough pieces to start a small side business.

7. Be Honest and Learn to Say No

A big part of having self-respect is being able to say no to others. While it is a great feeling to help others out, it is important you are not being a push over if you are feeling trapped. Say yes to others when you genuinely want to help, but don’t put your own life on hold.

If you fill your life with others’ responsibilities, you will always feel stuck and unable to move forward with your own goals. Pause before saying yes to each request and analyze if it will really bring you closer to your life’s purpose.

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8. Throw Away Social Norms

Many people live their life following social standards or expectations of family members because they believe it is the safest choice, but they are unhappy because they end up feeling trapped inside of these expectations. Take command of your life by doing whatever makes you happy, rather than doing what you feel like you should be doing based on what you see on social media[2].

You may find that some people who are close to you don’t understand the direction of your life, and that’s ok. You will inevitably find others who do understand, which will help you make even more positive connections and expand your relationships.

9. Overcome the Fear of Failure

If you want to do something that you think will make you happy, do it—don’t let fear of failure put you off. Fear can be a prison that stops you finding happiness and keeps you feeling trapped, so take a chance and see what happens without worrying too much about the outcome.

You can read this article for more tips on how to overcome the fear of failure.

The Bottom Line

If you’re feeling trapped, it may feel like you’ll be stuck in the same place forever. Fortunately, there are actionable steps you can take to regain a sense of control and freedom in your life and improve your mental health. Identify which area of your life is holding you back the most, and use an applicable step above to tackle it head on.

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If that doesn’t work, it may be time to seek professional advice in order to help you overcome the challenges you’re facing. If that’s the case, do it with an open mind and accept the opportunity as one that can turn your life around.

More on How to Take Control of Your Life

Featured photo credit: Randy Jacob via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on January 10, 2022

How to Make Big Life Changes (Your Complete Guide)

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How to Make Big Life Changes (Your Complete Guide)

Overcoming fear and making life changes is hard. It’s even harder when it’s a big change—breaking up with someone you love, leaving your old job, starting your own business, or hundreds of other difficult choices.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

Even if it’s obvious that making a big change will be beneficial, it can be tough. Our mind wants to stay where it’s comfortable, which means doing the same things we’ve always done[1].

We worry: how do we know if we’re making the right decision? We wish we knew more. How do we make a decision without all of the necessary information?

We feel stuck. How do we get past fear and move forward with that thing we want to do?

Can a Person Really Change Life?

Changing a life is dependent on your will and motivation to change. If you are up for it, then you can do it. It cannot be said simpler than this.

Of course, exceptional cases where genetics or personality of an individual does play a part in determining if they can change or not. But for most of us, the power to change lives lies within ourselves.

You just need to be patient and be prepared to go through some major life transformations.

When you find your purpose and are entirely motivated to reach your goals, you can really change a life. Sure, it would take substantial efforts and a lot more than just being motivated. But it is possible!

Well, we certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are 7 things to remember when you want to move forward and make positive life changes.

What Are Some Big Changes in Life?

A major change in life is an event that forces us to change the way we look at things and how we see the world. It can be anything from as simple as moving out of your parents’ house to having a child. The thing that makes them ‘major’ is how they influence you and change things in your life.

Major changes often make you worry about what’s going to happen next in your life. They are a time of struggle and stress, that either result in a breakthrough or a life lesson. What’s important is to be prepared to take on life’s challenges by having a positive mindset towards change.

How the Major Changes in Life Affect Us

Major changes have big effects on our life. They essentially stir the core of our existence and make us start from scratch. One of the most important characteristics of a major life change is that we are traveling unchartered waters.

It is very easy to feel done with life and not want to take care of yourself, your responsibilities, or those around you. However, the goal of existence is to struggle and constantly change our environment till it suits us.

To understand how we can combat major changes in life, we must first understand the effect they have on us. Some of the most prominent impacts are:

1. Difficulty in Adjusting

Many people going through a major change in life will feel difficulty adjusting. Regardless of whether that life change is a positive life change or a negative one, it will have its apprehensions. People may feel like they don’t fit into the new setting they find themselves in.

2. Feeling of Hopelessness

Change can bring with it feelings of hopelessness and depression that can cause you to feel overwhelmed. This is because, with major changes in life, you are bound to face setbacks and failures as well. Without having the comfort of parents, friends, or even financial security to cushion that fall, reality often hits hard and leaves an impact.

3. Mental and Physical Fatigue

Studies show that with major changes in your life, you are bound to be more mentally and physically exhausted. This is because changes require extra effort which takes up most of your energy.

You may find yourself in a situation where you work so hard you cannot go to the gym anymore because you are tired. It can also be a mental reluctance to do things like hobbies because rest is so hard to come by.

4. Agitation and Irritation

A person can become more agitated with themselves and those around them when they go through major changes in life. There are a lot of other factors that contribute to this, such as being short-tempered, exhausted, past your limit, and in need of rest which can cause people to lash out. Similarly in the event of a positive change, people may feel agitated if they aren’t being given enough attention or appreciation.

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5. Struggling with Financials

Financial changes impact your economic life and spending habits. It may come in the form of bankruptcy or hitting the jackpot. You may need to set aside money for college or rent. It would put you through a process of having to give up expenses that are not essential to you.

6. Distancing of Relationships

Distancing relationships is quite common when someone is faced with a major change in their life. Priorities are readjusted and bonds between people get weaker with distance and lack of quality time. In the event of good changes, people’s victories can often uncover hidden jealousy or lead to a conflict of interest between friends.

When Is the Right Time to Start Changing Life?

You can indeed start changing your life any moment you decide, but how would one decide when to start changing life? Various tell-tale signs indicate it’s time for a change.

1. When Your Current Life Shakes Your Physical and Mental Health

While you might do your best to live your life to the fullest by fulfilling your duties and responsibilities, it does not always mean that your life is ideal. In the quest to live a life of our dreams, we sometimes break ourselves by putting too much pressure on our physical selves. We don’t even bother if it starts affecting us mentally during such times.

When you start observing that your routine life is negatively affecting your physical and mental health, then take it as a sign that you need to start changing your life.

2. You Can’t Maintain Work-Life Balance

Overcompensating on only specific facets of life leads to a disturbed work-life balance. While occasional instances when you are required to focus on a particular role more than other aspects are unavoidable, you need to be watchful when this becomes a habit.

Failure to maintain a harmonious balance between work and life is a clear indication that you are overstressed and leading in the wrong direction.

Do you really want to keep focusing on a particular facet, or do you want to have a tuneful life balance? Ask yourself these questions when you observe deviation in your work-life balance, and then make efforts to start changing your life.

3. You Feel Stuck

Several circumstances lead us to a mental state where we lose confidence in ourselves and create a mental block. Situations like the death of a loved one, getting fired from a job, losing child custody battle, getting a divorce, etc., might bring about numerous negative emotions.

“I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg

Some of these traits tend to push people into a dark ditch where they feel stuck till they recognize it.

It is okay to experience a negative thought every once in a while when you are going through completely horrid. However, it should never let your get stuck in life. Failure to step out of your comfort zone is a sign that you need to make drastic changes in life.

4. You Start Forming Negative Habits

As a spiral effect of feeling stuck, people tend to take support of negative habits. Forming bad habits like drinking, smoking, overeating, etc., is an indication that you are not taking this well. Many are inclined to overdo the habits they already have and deliberately start hurting themselves.

Remember that inflicting pain on yourself is never helpful in resolving the issues, and neither would it help you heal from the pain and mental torment. Adapting habits that you consciously realize are bad for you is a shout-out that you need to start changing your life.

5. Your Lifestyles Fail to Lead You to Your Goals

We are adaptable beings, so we try to accommodate ourselves to fit the situation. Many times, we start forming habits because of circumstances without thinking if it is in sync with our life goals. This is where the negativity starts amplifying to other life aspects.

Therefore, it is important to reflect on your life every once in a while. It helps you regain your focus and realize if you are moving in the proper direction towards achieving your goals.

4 Steps to Dealing with Big Life Changes

We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

1. Don’t Fight It

I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

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Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job [2] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels” [3].

If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing [4]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988): [5]

    Source: Reserachgate

    Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling, [6] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

    One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning” [7]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

    To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

    7 Reminders When You’re About to Give Up Changing

    When you feel your lifestyle (attitude towards the job, work, marriage, friends, etc.) will never help you achieve your goal, it is time to press a little reset button and start changing lives.

    1. You’ll Never Have All the Information

    We often avoid making important decisions because we want more information before we make a tough call.

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    Yes, it’s certainly true that you need to do your research, but if you’re waiting for the crystal clear answer to come to you, then you’re going to be waiting a long time. As humans, we are curious creatures, and our need for information can be paralyzing.

    Life is a series of guesses, mistakes, and revisions. Make the best decision you can at the time and continue to move forward. This also means learning to listen to and trust your intuition. Here’s how.

    2. Have the Courage to Trust Yourself

    We make all sorts of excuses for not making important life changes, but the limiting belief that often underlies many of them is that we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing.

    We think that if we get into a new situation, we won’t know what to do or how to react. We’re worried that the uncharted territory of the future will be too much for us to handle.

    Give yourself more credit than that.

    You’ve dealt with unexpected changes before, right? And when your car got a flat tire on the way to work, how did that end up? Or when you were unexpectedly dumped?

    In the end, you were fine.

    Humans are amazingly adaptable, and your whole life has been helping you develop skills to face unexpected challenges.

    Have enough courage to trust yourself. No matter what happens, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.

    3. What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

    Like jealousy, most of your fears are created in your own head.

    When you actually sit down and think about the worst case scenario, you’ll realize that there are actually very few risks that you can’t recover from.

    “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” – Harold Wilson

    Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once you realize the worst isn’t that bad, you’ll be ready to crush it.

    When you’re preparing to make a big life change, write down all of the things you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of failing? Of looking silly? Of losing money? Of being unhappy?

    Then, address each fear by writing down ways you can overcome them. For example, if you’re afraid of losing money, can you take a few months to save up a safety net?

    4. It’s as Much About the Process as It Is About the Result

    We’re so wrapped up in results when we think about major life changes. We worry that if we start out towards a big goal, then we might not make it to the finish line.

    However, you’re allowed to change your mind. And failing will only help you learn what not to do next time.

    Furthermore, just because you don’t reach the final goal doesn’t mean you failed. You chose the goal in the first place, but you’re allowed to alter it if you find that the goal isn’t working out the way you hoped. Failure is not a destination, and neither is success.

    Enjoy the process of moving forward[8].

    5. Continue to Pursue Opportunity

    If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then you might be worried about getting locked into a position that you can’t escape from.

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    Think about it a different way. New choices rarely limit your options.

    In fact, new pursuits often open up even more opportunities. One of the best things about going after important goals with passion is that they open up chances and options that you never could have expected in the beginning.

    If you pursue the interesting opportunities that arise along the path to your goal, then you can be sure that you’ll always have choices.

    6. Effort Matters, So Use It

    It sounds simple, but one of the big reasons we don’t make life changes is because we don’t try. And we don’t try because then it’s easy to make excuses for why we don’t get what we want.

    Flunked that test? Are you stupid? “Of course I’m not stupid. I just didn’t study. I would have gotten an A if I actually studied.”

    Stuck in a job you hate? Why haven’t you found a new job yet? “Well, I haven’t really tried to get a new job. I could totally ace that interview if I wanted.”

    Why do we make excuses like these to ourselves? It’s because if we try and fail, then we just failed. But if we don’t try, we can chalk it up to laziness.

    Get over it. Failure happens to everyone.

    And the funny thing is, if you actually try—because it’s pretty clear that most people aren’t trying—then you’ll win a lot more than you think.

    7. Start With Something Manageable

    You can’t climb Everest if you don’t try hiking beforehand.

    Maybe applying for your dream job seems intimidating right now. What can you start with today?

    Can you talk to someone who already has that position and see what they think makes them successful? Can you improve your skills so you meet one of the qualifications? Can you take a free online course to expand your resume?

    Maybe you’re not quite ready for a long-term relationship, but you know you want to start dating. Could you try asking out a mutual friend? Can you go out more with friends to practice your communication skills and meet new people?

    You don’t need to be a world changer today; you just need to make small life changes in your own world.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing a life is not a one-day job. It requires consistent efforts and dog determination to bring drastic life transformation.

    You can start by making small changes and setting achievable goals. And in no time, you would see yourself in a transformed personality.

    Changing a life is difficult but possible. You can have a life-changing experience only if you sign up for it with persistence. If your will is strong enough to support your decision, any life changes are possible!

    More Tips to Help You Make Life Changes

    Featured photo credit: Victor Rodriguez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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