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12 Uncomfortable Feelings That Tell You’re On The Right Track

12 Uncomfortable Feelings That Tell You’re On The Right Track

No matter what stage you are at in your life, it is important that you feel you are on the right track to achieve your individual goals. The problem is that many of us experience feelings of fear and discomfort as we grow and evolve as individuals, and there is a tendency to mistake these emotions for symptoms of unhappiness or discontentment.

As a result of this, we may instinctively pull back from the precipice and attempt to deal with issues that simply do not exist, rather than embracing these unsettling emotions and understanding that they are the mere embodiment of change. Once we achieve the latter, we can continue to pursue our goals with tenacity and success.

12 Uncomfortable Thoughts, Feelings and Emotions that Indicate you are on the right track

To help understand this in greater detail, let’s take a look at the feelings and emotions that are clear indicators of positive change and personal progression. These include: –

1. Realising that you are the only Person responsible for your Life and Happiness

As you make strides to improve yourself and your lifestyle, you will quickly come to the realisation that you and you alone are responsible for your future happiness. This type of emotional autonomy is extremely daunting, while it can also create an incredible amount of pressure that weighs heavily on your shoulders. Despite this, learning to embrace this feeling as a symbol of growth is the first step towards future attainment.

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2. Feeling Lost and Directionless

Often, the sense of feeling lost or directionless is mistaken for a symbol of depression, but in fact the opposite may be true. Instead, it indicates that you are becoming more present in your life, as you begin to consider alternative narratives and opportunities outside of the premeditated restrictions that you have previously placed on yourself. So although this makes you feel as though you are directionless, you are actively reconsidering the future paths are open to you in the future.

3. Experiencing disrupted and Unpredictable sleeping patterns

As you begin to consider these brand new narratives, you will find that your mind may become overly busy and cluttered. This can trigger disrupted and largely unpredictable sleeping patterns, which will either see you experience a shortage or an excess of sleep, as your mind constantly races with thoughts and opportunities.

I found this prior to embarking on an an internship in Thailand back in 2012, as countries economy and income levels boomed. Preoccupied with the opportunities and experiences that awaited me, I struggled to sleep at all and realised that this was typical when taking risks in life and pushing the boundaries of personal development.

4. Enjoying Intense and Vivid Dreams

Similarly, the sleep that you do enjoy will be distinguished by intense and vivid dreaming, the details of which you can almost always recall in detail. Given that these dreams are often the manifestation of your subconscious thoughts, this would suggest that your mind is overwhelmed by compelling and often contrasting narratives. The intensity of your dreams often reflect the depth or the nature of your thoughts, so while this can be unsettling it is usually and indication that you on the precipice of change or evolution.

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5. Struggling to focus or concentrate

Once again, this sensation is often attributed to feelings of being lost or out of touch with those around you, but it may actually relate to the deployment of alternative brain functions. As we begin to act on intuition and engage the creative and emotional aspects of our mind, for example, we utilise the right hemisphere of our brains accordingly. This can interrupt left brain functions such as focusing and remembering small details, creating muddled thinking and significant confusion.

Rather than being a cause for concern, however, this is an indication of an opening and expanding mind.

6. Having Random and Irrational Feelings

This is commonly believed to be an indicator of angst and instability, but this is not necessarily the case. Irrational outbursts of anger or sadness simply reflects the fact that you have feelings that need to be recognised, so that you can subsequently overcome them and the emotional barriers that they relate to. In fact, the outbursts usually occur because you are grappling with these feelings rather than allowing them to enter your conscious and taking the necessary steps to resolving them. In this respect, these feelings are little more than signs that you identifying and working through issues.

7. Burdening an Intense desire to be alone

When we have the desire to isolate ourselves from others, we tend to do so in the belief that we are feeling depressed. Being disenchanted with socialising and the idea of absorbing other people’s problems is merely an indication that you are entering a period of self-reflection, however, as you re-calibrate your mind and begin to internalise your focus. This is something to be welcomed, as it means that you addressing your own problems and empowering your mind for the challenges that lie ahead.

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8. Feeling as though you are reliving your childhood issues

If you have experienced emotional struggles or issues during your childhood, the chances are that you these will continue to reoccur until they are dealt with. While this type of mental and behavioural cycle is often considered to be a negative thing, it simply means that you are becoming increasingly conscious of the triggers that impact on your thoughts, actions and emotions. As a result, such feelings will ultimately make it easy to identify issues and resolve them for the better.

9. Being fearful when you step outside of your Comfort Zone

Whenever we are about to undertake a new and exciting challenge, you are bound to be struck by an unmistakable sense of fear and uncertainty. These strike at the very core of your belief and self-confidence, forcing some to seek flight in the belief that they are not capable of meeting the challenge head-on. This is simply an instinctive reaction to stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing the unfamiliar; however, while it is also a clear indication that you are opening your mind and on the right track.

10. Being Unsure of who you really are

We all have times where we become unsure of ourselves, particularly during times of change or hardship. Rather than being an indication that you are suffering from a decline in confidence or self-esteem, this simply an indication that you are evolving as an individual and undergoing the type of self-improvement that is integral to growth. Quite simply, the person that you know and recognise is changing, while any past illusions about who you feel as though you should be are being debunked. Although this can be an uncomfortable process, this type of uncertainty is logical as your values, belief systems and goals change over time.

11. Recognising how far you have to go in your Journey

There is an old Chinese proverb which suggests that even when you are are 90% of the way along a particular path, you are no more than halfway towards your desired destination. This captures the difficulty of taming the final 10%, and it is embodied in the sense fear that you experience as you encounter significant growth and progression.

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So when you recognise how far you still have to go to achieve your goals and become a little disheartened, this is actually a reflection of how far you have already come as an individual. Suddenly, you can see where you are headed in life, as you edge closer to realising your dreams and becoming the person you want to be.

12. Being empowered to speak up for and defend yourself

As you grow, you may also develop an intense desire to defend yourself and speak up to those who question you. This innate sense of anger evolves as you achieve more in life and become a more assured individual, as the idea of being walked over or disrespected becomes increasingly unpalatable. So rather than allowing other, more dominant voices to constantly overwhelm your will, you stand your ground and showcase far great conviction in your own beliefs and values.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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