If you are a human, I am pretty sure you have experienced some form of feeling unsure or lost in your life. Life’s ebb and flow dictates that not all of it will be joyful and happy and that there will be bumps along the way. Life transitions will always happen and can take us out of our game in an instant. The transition can be a seemingly minor one such as a position change at work or a move across town to a major one like the loss of a job, a separation or divorce or death of a loved one. Whether the transition is large or small, it can leave us feeling uncertain of how to move forward, creating an emotional paralysis.

First and foremost, it is imperative that you understand that this feeling of uncertainty is normal, especially when the transition is unexpected. It is important that you be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to adjust to the new normal.

  1. Take Action, Set a Goal

    Now, I’m not talking about a major lifetime goal here. I’m talking about a goal that will help you take action to move your life in a different direction. When emotional paralysis sets in, taking action is the only way to break through it. Setting a series of smaller goals can help get you moving forward which allows you to gain momentum and break current unhelpful behaviors. It could be as simple as taking a 40 minute walk 7 days a week for 4 weeks or attending a support group twice a week for 60 days. Choose one that is meaningful to you as well as manageable and easily doable. Remember, it is the action of setting the goal and the follow through that is important. Build upon the small goals to gain momentum.

  2. Start a daily routine

    Come up with a daily routine that works for you and commit to following it. When we are in emotional paralysis, our brain will shut down if we have to decide what to do on the fly. To combat this, write down or schedule in your calendar all the things you want to do in any given day. That way, if you have time and don’t know what to do, you can look at what you have scheduled and do it. You don’t have to overthink or get derailed. Again, action is the key. Make a commitment to scheduling your day and stick with it.

  3. Incorporate a mindfulness practice

    Having awareness of oneself and being present in your life can, not only help put things into perspective it can also help you gain clarity over your certain situation. Our thoughts can be very powerful and learning to pay attention to what you are thinking will only benefit you in the long run. Try different mindfulness exercises to help you find your gratitude every day and set intentions in your life.

  4. Learn

    If you have ever wanted to branch out and learn something new, now would be a great time to start. Expand your horizons by learning a new language, starting an online course in a topic you’ve always been curious about or taking a class at the local community center. The internet has made it so easy to learn about anything now days. Choose a topic and go for it! The act of learning takes us out of ourselves, focuses our thoughts in different areas and can create excitement and wonder in our world. When we find ourselves stuck, expanding our world can be just what the doctor ordered.

  5. Talk

    The power of human connection is invaluable. If you find yourself emotionally lost and are unsure about what to do, reach out! Don’t let embarrassment or shame stop you from talking about your situation and feelings. Even if you feel like your situation is small and trivial, if it is affecting your daily life, it needs to be addressed. Shared experiences connect us as humans and more than likely, someone you talk to will have been through something similar. Knowing we are not alone offers us hope and comfort. If others have survived and made it through, then you can. Embrace the human connections in your life and allow the power of shared experiences to propel you forward.

    Taking action is the key to becoming un-stuck and moving forward in our lives. Use these steps as guidelines and remember, if you aren’t moving forward, you are standing still. Standing still is inert and stagnate. To change that, you must be willing to put action into your life. As Tzu said, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”. So, start putting one foot in front of the other!