Do you feel stuck in one or more areas of your life? Perhaps you have a more general sense of being in a rut, of treading water or simply a dissatisfying ‘Ground Hog Day’ kind of feeling. Maybe you find yourself wondering “Is this as good as it gets?”.
You’re not alone. Feeling stuck is one of those ‘welcome to being human’ experiences that most of us go through at some stage in our lives, perhaps on a number of occasions. Feeling stuck can be disheartening, extremely frustrating and at its most ‘set-in’, it can lead to depression, despair or a sense of hopelessness. It can even entrench itself in a kind of ‘this is just my lot in life’ resignation that feels more like a full stop, not a coma.
As humans, we can get stuck in many ways and different aspects of our life. We can get stuck in grief or loss, for example, after the loss of a loved one, or after divorce or separation. Sometimes we feel stuck or stagnant in our career or lacking in life purpose and passion. We might even feel stuck in habits or behaviours that we know are harmful or self-sabotaging but that we feel we just can’t shift.
Though there are few things more human than when we feel like we’re treading water in life, feeling stuck is something that can frequently blindside us. It can creep up beneath our conscious awareness, like the tide gradually inching closer to shore. Before we know it, we just become accustomed to wading in the shallows. Used to feeling a little less alive, a little less connected to magic, spontaneity or possibility in our lives. A little numb.
Numbness – the ‘freeze’ response & feeling stuck.
Feeling stuck is often connected with an experience of numbness and to ‘the freeze’ response. The freeze response serves a useful purpose in the short term. It helps us get through immediate crises or short periods of unpleasant slog. Think study, work overtime or being the parents of a new born. But when it becomes set-in and ‘accustomed to’, numbness is not our friend. Our flight, fright or freeze response served us well when we needed to fight off predators or when we needed to remain still and ‘lifeless’ so as to avoid detection or attack.
However, remaining stuck in this ‘playing dead’ state over the longer term, can be a deeply limiting block to sensory feeling. That feeling is the gateway to experiencing more joy and enthusiasm. It’s the portal back to the vibrance and connection that we all experience when we’re in a state of being fully alive.
Ironically enough, it’s precisely the trappings and pressures of modern life that can contribute to the numbing of our sensory perception. And in turn, to a reduced capacity to experience aliveness, flow and wellbeing.
“though our flight, fright or freeze response served us well when we needed to fight off predators, or to remain so still and ‘lifeless’ as to avoid detection or attack, remaining stuck in this ‘playing dead’ state over the longer term, can be a deeply limiting block.”
It’s as though we disconnect and put on our blinkers. We dial down our ‘felt senses’ so we don’t get overwhelmed so we can just get through another day. Another busy week, another financial stress or work deadline, another taxing duty or responsibility. And when we don’t then consciously find ways to restore that aliveness and connection on a regular basis, or to address chronic stressors, it can become set-in as our ‘default’ state of consciousness. Get up, work, pay bills, Netflix, rinse, repeat. You get the picture.
Like a bandwidth crushed down to its narrowest spectrum, when we operate from a state of ‘freeze’ or numbness as a way of coping, yes we cope, but we are not fully alive. We miss out on the multitude of tones, vibrations and frequencies that are our birthright, that we all need to feel truly connected, vibrant and alive.
“Coming out of numbness and back into feeling can be initially painful and jarring, like blood returning to a sleepy limb, but those pins and needles are a sign of life returning.” – Toko-Pa Turner
Finding your way back from feeling stuck.
Holistic counselling and life coaching can help you identify those areas in your life where you might be operating from a place of numbness. Of being stuck or treading water. Perhaps you’re acutely aware that you’re stuck in some way but you don’t know how or where to start to ‘unstick’ yourself? It’s time to awaken to more aliveness, receptivity and connection – where experiencing a sense of hope and vibrancy is your natural, baseline state.
Your version of being stuck might feel like your life is lacking in spontaneity, or possibility. Predictable and stable but dissatisfying. You might feel ‘stuck’ in a relationship or friendship that no longer serves you or meets your or your other’s needs. Perhaps you’ve lost touch with what your needs and longings truly are? It’s okay, we all do. But please know that there’s a path back to aliveness and authenticity that’s waiting for you. Like a trail of bread-crumbs on the forest floor, reconnecting with your senses, with the longings of your body, heart and spirit (however you understand that to be) is the way home. The way back to wellbeing, joy and possibility, and Holistic counselling can help you find your way.
Interested in holistic counselling or life coaching?
Links and further reading: