You’re working on something. Something that you believe in. That will add more meaning to your life and the lives of others.
Your new business idea. A new product. An improved service.
Perhaps you’re keen to lose that weight. Up your fitness a notch. Move countries.
But your head and heart aren’t cooperating.
It’s tempting to just punch yourself with a strong right hook to knock the negative chit chat into oblivion and move onward and upward.
But there are other, less violent ways to get unstuck. To get up and keep doing your thing.
Let’s explore 6 ways, shall we?
1. Quit judging yourself
Our harshest critic is often ourselves. We never let up convincing ourselves we’re not strong enough to do something, or that, it’s too hard. When we connect to these negative emotions we begin to believe our self-talk.
Instead, let’s remind ourselves that there’s no good or bad. Only awareness.
Brain research conducted at Stanford found different brain cells process positive and negative experiences. The more reinforcement we give to either experience, the more our brain cells react and pass on those messages to the rest of our body.
It’s ok to think these thoughts. But instead of letting them take over, let’s watch them with the same level of interest we give to passersby from a cafe window.
Let go of who you think you are supposed to be, and be who you are. – Brene Brown
2. Find opportunities to give
We don’t live in isolation. Human connection gives meaning and happiness to many of us, whether we realise it or not.
A look at the Japanese subculture of women gives us fascinating insight: surrounding yourself with people with similar interests, passions, and values has a positive effect on lifespan.
Let’s see every person we meet today as a gift. There are no accidental encounters. So be more open to unexpected sources of inspiration.
What can we do today to make someone else’s life better? To give in a way that doesn’t involve money or presents.
A thoughtful, detailed, genuine reply to a writer of a post you enjoyed or a coffee and pick-me-up chat with a colleague feeling as crap as you feel.
Try to listen and ask more questions and show that you really care about understanding someone else.
When you give, you get back tenfold in ways you never expect. It can be the jump start you need when you’re feeling low.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Gandhi
3. Roll with it
Fluidity is not a weakness – it’s a strength. So roll with what each day brings to your life.
Some days will be better than others. Perhaps you’ve had a bad sleep or missed your bus. Your brain feels foggy. You can’t find your mojo. Things are just not going as planned.
In a world where change is the only constant, let’s find our flow.
Let’s choose the cup to be half full, rather than half empty: Look at how a stream flows. With branches, rocks, and trees in its path, it still flows. Around, over, under. It doesn’t stop flowing and kick up a fuss because of the obstructions.
‘Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend!’ – Bruce Lee
4. Eat well
Have you noticed when you eat crap, you feel like crap?
When choc o’clock rolls around (after lunch), it’s tempting to crawl under the desk for a snooze like George in Seinfeld.
Well, there’s a good reason for this.
In Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food, Eva Selhub MD tells us the feel-good chemical serotonin affects our moods – and 95% of it is produced in our gastrointestinal tracts which contain good and bad bacteria.
Good bacteria can influence what our gut digests and absorbs, as well as mood and energy levels.
Be aware of your foods. Explore what times, foods, and portion-sizes affect your moods.
When you feel good, it’s easier to feel positive, motivated, and cheerful. And get shit done!
5. Sleep soundly
When you sleep badly, do you wake up grumpy? And does the day seem to drag on relentlessly?
If it happens for a night or two, we’re fine. But it becomes a problem when bad sleep happens regularly. Sleep deprivation is eating our brains: literally.
“We show for the first time that portions of synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss.” – Michele Bellesi (in New Scientist: The brain starts to eat itself after chronic sleep deprivation)
And it’s more common than you realise. You don’t hear about it because it’s an underreported problem.
Our brains need regular, good sleep for us to function well. We can help ourselves in 3 main ways:
- Calm sleeping environment: Set up a good evening routine with a comfortable, peaceful, non-stimulating environment.
- Sleep evening routine: Obama uses nights for ‘me time’. Bill Gates washes dishes. Charles Dickens slept with his head pointed north. Roger Federer aims for 9-10 hours of sleep. Create your own routine and stick to it.
- Exercise: It’s been found moderate exercise can improve our sleep. It can also help us feel more alert during the day.
Like food, sleep affects our moods. Our motivation. Our productivity. So it’s worth making sleep a priority.
6. Love yourself
How do you feel on this day? In this moment? Perhaps you’ve had a hectic week and you can’t think straight. You’re tired, stressed, and feeling flat. What do you need to reset?
Respect your body. Your energy. Your emotions. Nurture your spirit.
Perhaps you need a hot bath to your favourite tunes with a glass of wine. Perhaps a run outdoors will invigorate you. Maybe a big night out with your mates is needed. Or the opposite: to go out on your own (you may enjoy this much more than you think).
Give to yourself first. Learn to love yourself. Then you will know that you are enough (and always have been).
You’ve got this
You may feel stuck. Scared. Doubtful and depressed about not making progress.
To move forward, work on judging yourself less.
Be more flexible and go with the flow by taking on a positive attitude that comes with being confident and comfortable with who you are.
Give – even when you don’t feel like it. There’s power in connecting with others.
Take charge of your body by fueling up with good food – and getting a great night sleep.
Do it. You deserve it.
You are enough. You always have been.
Believe in yourself. Take action for yourself. NOW.
Go on, do it. You’ve got this, my friend.