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Published on August 6, 2020

Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track

Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track

If you have ever felt like a square peg being shoved into a round hole, then you know what feeling out of place is. You experience an overall lack of alignment—the feeling that you are actively wasting time, energy, and resources can be almost paralyzing.

I know this because I’ve experienced it first-hand—the anxiety, self-doubt, and worry that takes over, the way your mind can be suddenly flooded with negative thoughts and the curiosities about what could have been if you had made other choices. 

Recognizing that you feel out of place can be scary, but like everything in life, it doesn’t have to be permanent.

Here are 5 steps you can take when you are feeling out of place.

1. Acknowledge That Your Feelings Are Trying to Communicate Something IMPORTANT to You

As a Spiritual Advisor, Yogi, and Coach, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the different ways that humans receive messages. Some people can pick up on the subtle and quiet messages whispered to them by the universe, while others have to be virtually bopped over the head with the information.

In the latter circumstance, the Universe will make sure the message is amplified until it cannot be ignored. You may feel conflicted about what your feeling.

For example:

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You may have a stable job that you are good at but still feel off track and unsatisfied. You feel lost but it’s difficult for you to acknowledge that you are unhappy at your work and perhaps, you need to explore other options to feel fulfilled.  

OR

You are in a relationship that is unhealthy or toxic. But you are more afraid of being alone and having to put yourself out there, so admitting that you need to separate from that person is too difficult.

These realizations may be difficult and can take time. Release any embarrassment or shame you have around your confusion or fear. Humans are creatures of comfort.

It is not abnormal to experience some internal resistance when you realize that what your spirit wants and what is comfortable at the moment are out of alignment.

Recognizing that you feel off track is an important first step to getting back on track. It requires bravery and honesty to acknowledge that you may feel lost or confused. Give yourself credit for taking this incredibly important first step. 

2. Take Time to Meditate on When You Started to Feel Out of Place or Off Track

Everything has a root, a cause, a starting point. If you are going to be able to move forward, it’s important to know where you are moving forward from.

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Journaling is an incredibly helpful tool when used strategically. I’m not referring to the common and cathartic freewriting you usually associate with journaling, but instead, “prompt journaling.

Prompt Journaling allows you to direct your attention very efficiently as you explore some questions.

Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • I feel safe when…
  • The last time I felt confident was…
  • I want to feel…
  • I deserve…
  • I am worthy of…
  • I noticed a change in myself when…
  • The activities that make me feel good are…
  • I feel joyful when…
  • I feel full of life when…
  • I enjoy…
  • Write a letter to yourself a year from now.
  • Write a letter to yourself 2 years ago.

Studies have shown that journaling can help manage anxiety and reduce stress because it gives you a healthy way to express yourself when faced with overwhelming emotions.

The act of physically writing helps you to get clarity by giving you space to prioritize your fears or concerns and providing an opportunity for positive self-talk as well as a judgment-free zone to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors.[1]

3. Check in With Your Support System

Support systems are essential in helping you identify how, when, and why you got off track in the first place. Sometimes, it can be helpful to have an objective and external source to help you process some of the things you are discovering and realizing about yourself. It can be a lot.

Consider talking to your trusted friends and close family or people who you feel safe talking to and know will be objective yet honest with you.

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The goal is to enlist the help of someone who can help you acknowledge the things that you may be avoiding. In some cases, it is best to do this with a trusted professional, such as a therapist.

In other cases, what you need is someone to help you organize your thoughts and create an action plan. In that case, you might enlist the help of a reputable coach or experienced mentor.

Having a support system that will hold you accountable and create space for you to go through the process is critical to you getting back on track. This will greatly reduce the negativity of feeling out of place.

4. Be Grateful

Gratitude is a balm for the soul. It can be the thing that gives us respite from the troubles of the mind and worries of the heart.

When we practice gratitude, the alchemy that happens in the brain is incredible. Studies show that spending time focusing on the things that one is grateful for can lead to increased optimism, feeling better about one’s life, organic desire to exercise, and reduced doctor’s visits.[2]

Let me be clear. Gratitude is not about ignoring what is bothering you or sweeping things under the rug. Instead, gratitude asks you to become innately aware of the world around you and your current experience so that you can identify anything—no matter how small—that you feel grateful for.

It can be as simple as a sunny day, a delicious tangerine, water, or waking up. The thing you express gratitude for doesn’t need to be magnanimous. It can be simple, small, and unique to your experience. The goal is for you to reorient your thinking so that you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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5. Visualize Where You Want to Be

Once you have taken time to acknowledge how you feel, get curious about when it started, check in with your support system, and be grateful, the only thing left to do is to start to visualize where you want to be.

There is no point in doing all this work if you don’t know where you want to go from here. Get bold, dream big. Think (or journal) about where you want to be in a 1 month, 6 months, a year.

Draw how you want your life to look. Create a vision board. There are a lot of different ways you can give your vision life. 

The reason we want to externalize these ideas is to give us something to easily refer back to when we get overwhelmed. At the moment, it is easy to forget what we are doing and why we are doing it. When you have access to an external representation of your goal. it is easier to have it anchor you when things get rough.

When you have a clear vision, it is easier to create a plan of action. Ultimately, that plan of action will help you take the action necessary to help you get back on track.

Final Thoughts

There is no shortcut to getting back on track when you feel out of place in life. You have to take a hard look at yourself and get really curious about what lead to these feelings.

You have to want to shift your focus and truly desire to reconnect with yourself.  There must be a willingness to do the work. You have to believe that YOU DESERVE peace, happiness, satisfaction, joy—otherwise, visioning the life you want will be impossible.

Feeling off track is not the end of the world. In fact, it is more of a right-of-passage. Remember that it is not permanent, and the process can be sped up if you are proactive. You can do this!

Read These If You’re Feeling Out of Place

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] URMC: Journaling for Mental Health
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: Giving thanks can make you happier

More by this author

Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now Feeling Out of Place in Life? 5 Ways to Get Back on Track How to Change Yourself and Live the Life You Deserve How to Get Your Life Together When You Feel Overwhelmed How to Gain Self-Knowledge and Live up to Your Potential

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Published on September 25, 2020

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

5 Powerful Self-Care Ideas for When Life Is Stressful

Stress doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone, invariably in different ways. Regardless of how stress shows up in your life, I think we can all agree that it’s present. When it does show up, it takes over the show. It then becomes difficult to stay in the present moment or show gratitude for what and who we have in our life. In the eye of the stress storm, everything is tossed around into oblivion. This is probably when self-care finally comes to our mind.

How Does Stress Show Up?

On a physical scale, stress tends to be behind many of our typical ailments, such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, or body aches and pain.[1] When we’re in stressful situations, our body activates our fight-or-flight response. According to the American Institute of Stress, when the body is in this mode due to stress, “the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands, triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.”[2]

Why is this important? While our fight-or-flight response is extremely helpful when we’re in situations that risk our survival, not every situation is that dire. However, the body doesn’t know how to differentiate between such scenarios. Rather, we become accustomed to seeing every stressful situation as dire, and essentially locked into this fight-or-flight response automatically. This causes us to burn out because our body is constantly fighting or fleeing from threats that are not causing us any real harm.

On a mental and emotional scale, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.” Everything is interconnected. When our physical body takes a toll due to stress, this has a domino effect on how we process our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see correlations between depression and anxiety when it comes to dealing with stress.

How to Combat Stress?

Below are five self-care ideas for combating stress in your life. Consider implementing them into your daily routine for the best results.

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1. Start a Brain Dump Writing Exercise

When you’re overwhelmed with thoughts, it can become very difficult to stay present and focused. This could affect you at work, in school, or in your relationships. It’s as if your mind were filled to the brim with thoughts that are constantly competing for your attention. If left unattended, this can affect your performance or your state of being. Stress is just brewing!

One exercise to get this under control is called a Brain Dump, and it’s exactly how it sounds. Start by getting comfortable with a pen and paper or your favorite journal. Without any special formatting or introduction, just start writing any and all thoughts that come up. Consider your paper a blank canvas onto which you’re going to spill every thought, no matter how small or unimportant. This can look like a laundry list, a jumble of words, or a paragraph. Don’t think too much of how it looks. The idea is to give your thoughts an exit. Once they’re on paper, they’re no longer swimming in your head for attention.

Once you have them written down, leave them as they are. We have a tendency to want to fix our thoughts. Instead, allow them to simply exist as they are — they’re not right or wrong. Consider coming back to this exercise daily or whenever you feel like you have a lot on your mind.

2. Sweat It Out

There is nothing more therapeutic than moving the physical body when it feels the weight of stress. Energetically, we carry our day in our body! If we’ve had a particularly difficult day, that energy is going to feel tense and unsettling. This is why it’s so important to move and really break a sweat!

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,[3]

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“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.”

Find what exercise regimen works for you, and commit to it for a few days per week. Scientists have also found that even 10-15 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a tremendous effect on your body. Go for a run, take a spin class or a power yoga class, or dance the stress away in Zumba. Whatever gets your heart rate up and breaks a sweat is one of the perfect self-care ideas to keep the stress away.

3. Seek the Care of a Therapist

Sometimes writing out our thoughts and feelings doesn’t seem quite enough. This is common and to be expected. After all, we are complex human beings who want to understand and process our emotions on a deeper level. This is why having a regular therapy session is so beneficial!

In the presence of a professional, we can open up about what stressful situations we’re going through. We don’t have to keep our emotions bottled up, and we know that our honesty will be protected and safeguarded.

Additionally, when we’re feeling stressed, we often want to simply vent and get things off of our chest. Having someone on the receiving end who will simply listen and hold space is a truly healing gift. We can often leave the session feeling more empowered, seen, and offloaded of the stress we brought in.

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Lastly, we may be able to receive guidance from our therapist on a particular situation we’re struggling with. Having someone else’s perspective on something we’re too emotionally close to can be just the right solution.

Here are more self-care ideas from a therapist: Self Care Tips During Difficult Times (A Therapist’s Advice).

4. Interrupt Your Day

This may seem like a derailing technique, but give it a shot! Interrupting your day means introducing something entirely new or random into a routine that is very monotonous or typical.

If your work or school day is the same sequence of events every single day, bringing in an interruption can be quite conducive to your productivity and creativity. This can look like pausing in the middle of the day for a yoga stretch at your desk or in your office. It could be playing your favorite playlist in-between meetings or taking a walk outside for lunch. Not only does this stir up new energy for your day, but it can also de-stress your day.

As I said in the earlier tip, when we’re too close to a situation or conflict, we have a harder time breaking away. We’re so emotionally and mentally invested that we don’t see how that proximity is affecting our health. So, interrupt yourself when you’re feeling stress coming on, and do something fun, random, and refreshing.

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5. Get Some Energy Work Done

Energy work is anything that is being done to improve the circulation and energetic flow of the body. This could be a massage, Reiki session, chiropractic adjustment, or acupuncture. As I said in a previous tip, moving the body helps move the energy that is blocked or stuck. This is why exercise is so important. However, sometimes we need a session where that work is done for us by a licensed professional. In such treatments, we have the luxury to relax and receive the benefits of the treatment. It’s a beautiful way to self-care!

Final Thoughts

Stress is unfortunately a common part of our life. It affects everyone, but to what extent it affects you is personal. One thing is for sure, and that is that stress has a tremendous effect on our physical, mental, and emotional state. This is why regular exercise is so important, as well as mental stimulation and emotional release. These self-care ideas won’t necessarily guard you from ever feeling stressed, but they will help you manage it better.

More Self-Care Ideas

Featured photo credit: Alisa Anton via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Mayo Clinic: Stress Management
[2] The American Institute of Stress: How the Fight or Flight Response Works
[3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical Activity Reduces Stress

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