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12 Common Beliefs That Keep You Stuck in Life

12 Common Beliefs That Keep You Stuck in Life

Being stuck can be one of the worst feelings. It’s frustrating and it can leave you feeling hopeless. However, it can almost always get turned around. If you’ve been feeling stuck in your life recently, one of these twelve things might be to blame. After all, knowing the source of the problem is the first step to correcting it.

1. You feel like you need to be perfect. 

No one is perfect, and that’s a simple fact. While it’s commendable to give something your all, it’s another thing entirely to expect perfection from yourself. Whether it’s at work, in your love life or in another situation entirely, it’s important to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by unattainable perfection.

2. You think your dreams are unreachable. 

Feeling stuck in a job you don’t like, or worse, being unemployed, can make you feel like your dreams are completely out of your reach. It’s important to remember that your dreams are attainable no matter your circumstances. It might require a lot of work on your part, but reaching your goal is not something that should make you feel stuck in any way — rather, it should make you feel excited at the prospect of finally reaching it.

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3. You feel obligated to spend time with certain people. 

If someone in your life is unhealthy for you, then they should not be a part of your life any longer. It’s as simple as that. If that person is a family member, or someone that you can’t easily remove from your life, try to limit the amount of time you spend with that person. It’s only going to make you feel worse to keep someone in your life who makes you feel badly about yourself.

4. You think you stick out. 

The feeling of not fitting in is something that everyone has experienced. It’s just a matter of finding people who understand you and make you feel good about yourself. There’s no such thing as being cool or popular if you just let yourself believe that. Being yourself is the best possible thing you can do.

5. You play too many parts. 

It can be very frustrating to have to be too many people at once: spouse, parent, boss, employee — the list goes on and on. It’s important to balance these roles by remembering that you’re still you. While it can be overwhelming, it can be incredibly helpful to just take a deep breath and go in knowing that whatever role you’re fulfilling, you’re still you.

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6. You have too many five-year plans. 

Plans for the future need to reflect real goals and aspirations. If you make too many five-year plans and hold yourself to unrealistic expectations, it can take a toll on your mental health. Keep yourself in check and don’t write anything down that you don’t really want to set as a goal. Waffling can make you feel very stuck.

7. You have to make too many people happy. 

It’s one thing to try to make others happy because you enjoy it and find it rewarding, but it’s another thing entirely to find it a chore. If you’re always putting others’ happiness before your own, try to take some time for yourself. Even twenty minutes of time alone can do wonders.

8. You have too much routine in your life. 

Nothing makes you feel more stuck than simply doing the same things over and over again. Routine can be great at keeping you on track, but too much of it can become monotonous and boring. Shake things up a bit.

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9. You don’t cut yourself any slack. 

It’s important to remember that you’re only human, and that sometimes it’s okay to give yourself a break. Holding yourself too accountable to things can be too much to handle.

10. You feel like you have to keep up appearances. 

Lying to others about your feelings is only going to make things worse. It’s okay to feel vulnerable. Don’t try to put on a mask and hope things will work themselves out.

11. You don’t let others help you. 

Letting other people in and sharing your feelings and fears with them can be very helpful. Sometimes a listener is all you need, while other times it’s a dose of good advice.

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12. You forget that you’re only human. 

There’s only so much you can deal with at any given time. Let yourself relax and be happy. Sometimes feeling stuck in your life can be remedied by a deep breath. Just slow down and be optimistic about the future.

Featured photo credit: net_efekt via photopin.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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