How to Deal With Feeling Stagnant

Earlier this week, I wrote about feeling stagnant. Even though it’s pretty common and everyone experiences it at various points, I always find this feeling challenging to deal with. There’s a shock I experience that becomes more familiar every time it happens; it’s as though I’m surprised to be in this position again. Regardless of the circumstances of why I feel this way, there are many ways to deal with these feelings that could be helpful instead of harmful. Here are a few reminders for when you’re feeling stagnant, and what you can do about it!

Acknowledge how you’re feeling

When it comes to feeling stagnant, I experience a period of denial before acknowledging what’s going on. Sometimes that’s because life is moving fast and I’m too busy to sit with my feelings. Other times I experience some cognitive dissonance, or don’t really want to reflect or think about things at the moment.

Regardless, nothing improves until I acknowledge these feelings. That doesn’t mean they need to change in that moment, but naming my own thoughts and feelings has had a much more powerful impact than I thought possible. It’s hard to get anywhere until you do.

This will happen a lot in life – get used to it

People change and grow constantly throughout their lives, and so feeling stagnant can become a common part of life, an inevitable challenge that we’ll always have to deal with. This might be frustrating to hear, but there’s also some encouraging aspects to this, too. When I think about how to deal with these feelings, I just want to manage them better than I have before.

Knowing that I’ll feel this way again could be scary, but I see it as an opportunity to learn. If I don’t deal with this well in the moment, I can learn from my mistakes and try again next time. While we do face challenges that are unique, those challenges are also endless – they will continue to be there for us to face our entire lives.

Take the first step

Yes, I realize that this last bit of advice sounds simplistic, but it’s also one of the hardest things to do. We might not always know where we’re going, but we won’t get anywhere without taking a step forward. Maybe it’s in the right direction, maybe it’s not. But by figuring out that something needs to be done and trying to do it, we’re taking agency that’s taken from us when we feel stagnant.

Taking a first step is whatever we need it to be. Thinking that our first step in anything needs to be monumental or feel perfect is often what gets in my way, and it’s both inaccurate and unhelpful. So I try to put myself out there, see what happens, and brace myself for what’s next.

Feeling stagnant is part of life, and we all experience it at some point! When was the last time you felt stagnant? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments!


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