Sometimes we get stuck. Sometimes it feels as though there is no way we can get unstuck. But we can.
A while ago I had written about the spiritual practice of patience, of just waiting, and preparing, as one waits, for whatever is to come, known or unknown (and, truly, it is always unknown – but that is for another blog).
A reader rather indignantly responded,
“Oh yeah, and how does one get unstuck and off her couch to begin getting her self ready for whatever it may be that she is awaiting???”
Why are we stuck?
There are many reasons why one might be “stuck on the couch,” either literally or metaphorically. But to know how someone could go about getting themselves off the couch, one would need to know why they are ON the couch and unable to get off. If we find ourselves in this state of mind, perhaps we could ask ourselves some of these questions, and see which ones resonate.
Do we feel that getting off the couch and moving into action will be useless? That whatever we do, we are not capable of achieving anything worth achieving? When we get into this state of feeling that we can achieve nothing, it is very difficult to break out of the cycle. Among other things, I urge such folks, who are often coaching clients, to make a list of their achievements, and re-read it every day. To think carefully, to go back over time to any time when they were proud, when someone praised them, when you achieved something you were working on, even as a ten-year-old. You HAVE achieved. Be proud of that fact.
Other techniques include: to be determined about writing a gratitude journal every day, to find someone worse off than you who can benefit from your help, and/or to let people know that you need encouragement and are feeling down. This last can be very difficult, since society tends to teach us not to admit to being vulnerable. Yet people are usually more willing to respond warmly and give encouragement that we give them credit for. If you literally know no one to whom you can turn, find a way to widen your circle of friends. Network. Consider seeking a mentor or a coach.
Other questions: Have you given up on your dreams?
Do you no longer believe that they are worth having?
Do you have no dreams?
Try this trick. Make a list of everything you have ever wanted, or wanted to do. Start as far back as you can remember. Now go through that list and notice what there is on it that you would still like to do. Pick one that is realistic, and decide what you need to do to achieve it. Go for it. **
Another question: Have you allowed your body to get into the habit of not moving much?
Sometimes our bodies can get so lazy that we feel too tired to move off the couch. Many years ago a doctor, to whom I had complained of feeling tired all the time, told me, “Then you need to exercise more.” Even though exercise may tire us temporarily, in the long run (no pun intended) it invigorates us. It is also a powerful antidote to some. though not all, forms of depression.
While on the topic of depression, there may be therapeutic reasons that keep you on the couch. It may be that you are in a state of depression that calls for time to be spent talking with a counselor, in which case I urge you to find one. Depression can be a downward spiral from which some people cannot emerge without professional help (and no, going to a counselor is not the same thing as hiring a coach – as a general rule coaches are not licensed therapists, though a few are).
Assuming you are not so serious a “couch potato” as to need therapy, I suggest that you put together a schedule for yourself that includes most or all of the techniques I have suggested above… list your achievements and savor them, keep a daily gratitude journal of at least five items a day, examine your goals and pick one to work on, and schedule yourself to do some form of exercise (other than walking to the refrigerator!) several times a week. Commit to yourself that you will keep up these habits for a month. Do it.
Then, let me know how you feel.
And consider these words by Anais Nin:
“Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.”
** If “Go for it” is intimidating, you might find help at How Dreams Become Goals
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