Stalled, in a rut or jammed up?
Has your Procrastination Monster been lurking about?
Do you need some ideas for getting unstuck?
Even the most agile people will at times experience a jam in their flow. Whether your block is subtle or severe, here are some tips for getting unstuck.
Looking for a less conventional remedy, need a little silliness? Try my Sassy Soup a Flow Potion Recipe. It's good for unjamming or just for stirring things up.
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1. Take Different Action, Move Physically.
If you are stubborn like me, you may find yourself pushing harder at the same gummed up point! I can get quite thick headed when I am stuck, forgetting what I know.
Pushing harder when you are stuck is rarely an effective strategy.
Take a break, try something different, get physical, the more physical the better, but any kind of exercise should help.
Go for a brisk walk. Vigorous exercise like chopping wood (especially good for venting frustration but not always readily available) biking or running is great. Moving enough to get sweating is best in my opinion but sometimes stretching is all that is needed. Yoga can be particularly good for getting your vital energy moving and any expressive movement like dancing and singing is also great to shake out the cramps in your creativity.
The idea is to get your energy moving in an arena you are not stuck in and vicariously affect the stuck area.
Note: If you are stuck in an arena that already involves being very physical such as dance or theater, you may want to try some of the other strategies first.
The endorphins released from the vigorous exercise can also help to shift your mood and perspective which brings me to the next tip!
2. Shift Perspective, Release & Reframe.
Easier said than done! Well Yeah... But still very doable, certainly possible! How? you ask.
Try the following:
First, stop and take a few deep breaths and notice where you are. Acknowledge what you are feeling, listen to yourself. Then ask,
"What do I need?"
What works for you to get unstuck could be quite different than for someone else. So, listening is really important. Accept that you feel stuck in the muck and the yuck. Ask "How can I get from the yuck to the yum?" Consciously intend to release the yuck. Depending on how strong this batch of yuck is, it could clear totally or it might only lessen it. Asking "How?" is a great question that will help even if you don't have an answer right away. Keep asking...
Now ask yourself, "Is there another way I could view what I am experiencing?"
What are you telling yourself about the situation?
Are you really stuck? Maybe you are just percolating, incubating or simmering. Maybe what you are about to create is still forming, about to manifest. What haven't you noticed about your attempt at getting unstuck?
How could you re-frame what you are experiencing?
Is there a more resourceful way for you to see the situation?
perspective sometimes involves learning to let go, clearing clutter,
both physical and emotional clutter. For more on releasing to change
your perspective, go to
free your mind and muse.
My next tip is a progression of the previous two, an additional way to shift your perspective for getting unstuck.
3. Open Up, Be Expansive, Engage Gratitude.
Often when we are stuck in life or with a specific project or activity, we feel physically constricted and tense.
Experiencing appreciation and gratitude are expansive states or qualities that are pleasurable and also great for releasing the constraint and getting unstuck.
OK, how do you engage gratitude when you feel grumpy and in a rut? Learn to develop an
attitude of gratitude.
What else could you do that would help you to open up and expand?
4. Use Tools & Structure.
Once in a while you may need a lever or some pliers, occasionally a
shovel or a magic wand. Here are some tools and techniques that you may
find useful for getting unstuck.
Try automatic writing or, try brainstorming with Mind Maps. For a video on mind maps and and brainstorming go to Hazel Wagner's site and book Power Brainstorming.
Structure? What do I mean by structure?
Try setting a limit. Restrict what you are doing in someway. Sometimes a wide open, "no structure" method of creating is intimidating and stirs up that little grouch on your shoulder that likes to "enterfear". Setting a limit may help to create a sense of comfort and ease by making the task more defined. The other possibility is that you will resist the limit, push against it and maybe beyond it. Either response has the intended result of getting you moving again.
Taking a class or workshop is a great way to give yourself some structure and can often help with getting unstuck.
Go on a retreat. If you can't afford the time or money to get away, create one at home. Turn off your phone and lock your door. Tell your closest friends and family ahead of time that you will be on retreat and cannot be disturbed or just put a sign up. "I'll be out to lunch for a few days..."
Try divination? There are a number of ancient techniques as well as modern variations of divining methods. I Ching, Taro, and Runes are several methods that you can learn to use yourself by reading books or hiring someone who practices regularly. If you don't want to learn yourself, you could find someone to do a reading for you. Sometimes you may receive an insight that is just what you need to get you re-engaged and moving forward. Sometimes, the divination may leave you with a new puzzle but either way it will be something to reflect upon and can help with getting unstuck.
5. Get Support, Talk It Out.
In a deadlock with yourself? Try talking it out. Friends, mentors, coaches and counselors all have their right time and place.
Find someone you trust and know is a good listener. Ask them if they can be eyes and ears for you to share your quandary. Friends and family may feel compelled to give advise or solve it for you. So, let them know ahead of time that you don't need that but instead just to listen, maybe give their honest impressions of what they are hearing at the end of your sharing. Sometimes, just talking through the tangle unwinds it.
What if, you don't know some one you can trust that is a good listener or if your jam has you in such a vulnerable or delicate space that you don't feel that you can talk to friends or family (they sometimes have a hard time keeping their agenda for you out of it). Well, that is a great time to talk to a coach or consultant.
If you think it is time to hire a coach your in luck. Word has it, I'm pretty good at the getting unstuck business.
Here is one last getting unstuck tip.
6. Soak Up, Refuel, Rejuvenate.
Sometimes when you think you're in need of getting unstuck, the issue is more about being drained and depleted than stuck. If this is the case, you may need to do something to re-energize.
It could be lack of physical energy easily remedied with healthy food and good sleep. Or, you might need to refuel and reconnect to your imagination and passion. If you sense that you may be depleted in the imagination department, ask yourself what would refresh and rejuvenate your passion.
Here are some ideas:
Soak in a hot bath, go to the ocean or hike to a view. Soak in the big picture of those settings. Breath deeply, shallow breathing can contribute to a lack of energy. Go to a movie. Go for a leisurely wonder in the woods or down a neighborhood street you don't usually walk on. Go to a museum. Listen to music. Read a book that has been calling you for a while. Go to a library and browse for books that grab your attention. Engage in an activity that is very different from what you have been doing. Turn your phone off and say no to demands that feel draining for a day or however long you see fit.
Still stuck? Contact me coaching is great for getting unstuck. Let's get your flow going again!
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