It’s effortless to be lazy than to have to go work. I mean, this is a no-brainer. If I had the opportunity to have over $100k in my savings account, a personally customized home gym, a full fridge, and an 80-inch TV with surround sound, you wouldn’t see me outside. I promise you, you would not.
But it’s also that feeling of coziness that can eerily slip its way into our heads and then coax us with “Dude, just stay put. You don’t need to get up today. Lay right here in your room. Why are you getting up???” Before you know it, you’ve accustomed to a negative spiral of thoughts and sunk further down your own dug hole.
It’s easy to be relaxed. It’s also easy to not do anything. Except when the two inadvertently grab hold of one another hand in hand, they can be arduous to separate.
When you find yourself bogged down in a mental loop, it can be hard to get yourself out. Because it’s a lot easier to ruminate on something until you mentally check yourself out for the rest of the day.
While my three actions ahead may or may not directly relate to you in their manner, I do believe they all provide practical usefulness in tackling everyday thoughts of ‘feeling stuck.’
Now I’ve never personally said this in real life, but, without further ado, here we go.
1. Stop Being Overly Nostalgic
Hear me out all the way before you might initially dismiss this one. If you’re out and about with your friends and you regularly find yourself saying that you’re ‘getting too old for this’ or you’re ‘missing the good ole’ days,’ you’re unwittingly stating that you don’t know what you’re doing right now. Which in and of itself is NOT a bad thing, being unsure of what to do next. We’re all navigating the life path our own way.
However, when you’re explicitly repeating verbatim about how nostalgic you are for a different point in your life, you’re subconsciously debasing yourself. Because instead of enjoying the present, which may or may not be ideal in the given moment, you’re impulsively latching onto a time that brought you contentment rather than sharing how you’re doing these days. And guess what? You might feel shitty! That’s okay! Totally okay!
But expressing authenticity, especially to others, is hard. It’s a lot easier to comment to your friends how you miss those fun times in college where you saw each other multiple times a week, compared to everyone working 9–5 jobs and getting together once a month. Obviously, all of you share that nostalgia. And nostalgia is a tricky sentiment. It can be a happy or despondent emotion. When you’re happily reminiscing, it’s great. When you’re thinking of a bad memory, it’s disheartening.
Something to realize in this instance though is that you are not alone. Other people feel the same way you do about certain things in their past. Still, the reality of nostalgia is that it can become too much of a reliant support system for the feeling of yearning. While longing for the future can be a positive outlet, wishing for the past only makes you turn around on your Life Stairway. It’s alright to occasionally turn your head and glance behind you, but you’ve got to keep stepping onward to convert the stairs into your own escalator.
The next time you catch yourself about to express that you’re ‘getting too old for this,’ don’t. Unless you’re trying to bring back flair jeans, then no, you’re not. You’re subliminally on an autopilot reply mode. This perceived notion of getting too old for something is straight up a fallacy. You’re not too old to drink, you just don’t drink 5x a week anymore. You’re not too old to pick up a sport, you just haven’t stretched your back since high school. You’re not too old to start your hobby, you just think others have done it better. You’re not too old to switch careers, you’re just afraid of failing. The only time you are too old is if you are too old for someONE and the age gap is clearly showing!!
2. Break Off Comparing Yourself to Others
Next is pessimistically contrasting yourself to others. While this slump motivator is more tailored towards social media, it applies in general usage.
When you go on your Instagram, what do you see? More than likely, some fashion of someone enjoying themselves. I say Instagram specifically because Twitter is much more of a hot topic open forum, Facebook is a misinformation warzone, and Snapchat is… Snapchat. Instagram has evolved from a simplistic app of sharing bad photos with filters to a content creation frenzy. And within this chaos Social Comparison Theory became rejuvenized once more with dopamine analysis.
Social Comparison Theory essentially asks how someone (in the absence of objective measures for self-evaluation) compares themselves to others to find out how they’re doing in life. When you go on Instagram, or any social media for this point, it’s a timeline of people showing themselves off, plain and simple. If you reckon otherwise, you’re in delusion. 99% of the posts are of someone’s possession(s), their lifestyle, their friends, their day-to-day activities, their INTERESTS.
That 1% is noteworthy because that single percentage is when you do happen to see a post that’s less than optimistic, like say, a breakup, a hospital visit, being fired, etc. It’s something that’s gloomy. It’s something that you normally DON’T see on your everyday checkup. What you have to grasp is this: we only share a small slice of our total lives. When a person posts something somber, it’s usually for the purpose of awareness, and not out of a feeling of self-indulgence. It’s not a serotonin boost when someone shares that they’re injured, failed a project, or ruined something great. I guess unless you’re a masochist or sadist.
If one day we all started to share ALL aspects of our lives and not merely the glamorous side, you would see that no one’s life is all copacetic. We only post when we’re out having fun, celebrating, or purely smiling. People aren’t posting when they’re angry or sad or shocked or scared. Social media is a radiating enigma of pleasure. When you’re not in a good mood, seeing NOTHING but positivity can unknowingly influence your current emotions.
So, the next time you’re aimlessly scrolling on your phone and catch yourself fixated on a post, break off. Quit ruminating over a PHOTO. Simply read it, like it, and stop lingering. Either keep scrolling, or altogether get off the app. The longer you re-read things, the longer you glaze over a picture, the more the intrusive thoughts will start feeding into your head.
3. Move Past Life Inhibitions
And lastly, moving on from past events. Definitely the hardest of the bunch. Life hits sometimes, whether you were expecting it or not. In either case, knowing ahead of time or not can be detrimental on someone’s psyche alike. It’s unfortunately just the natural part of life.
It’s easier said than done when it comes to moving forward from some past events. Depending on the nature of the event, it could take you weeks to months to maybe years. Which is completely understandable, there’s no measurement to grief. However, eventually, you do have to get past a certain threshold of your closure with the circumstance. Otherwise, it’ll eat you up from the inside out, inexplicably altering you. Here is what I firmly believe:
1. Time does heal your wounds.
2. Do not blame yourself.
3. Begin to accept the circumstances.
Picture back to a time when you took an extremely difficult exam that you studied your ass off for, and still failed. You saw that ‘F’ and immediately began guilt tripping yourself into thinking it was all your fault, you didn’t try hard enough, you’re dumb. And then after a day or two, you’d acquiesce. You’d come to terms with the fact that, well, you can’t change the grade. What’s done is done. And you lived and you learned.
Obviously, something like the death of a loved one holds much unparalleled substantial weight. The process remains the same.
You must take some time to process. It might be a few days, it might take to the end of the year, but time does have a mystifying effect on all of us. Eventually, your burning Flame of Thoughts does extinguish. Think back to the last time you thought about your first crush. Or your first home. Or your first major injury. Sooner or later, thoughts recede into your memory. I use the word ‘recede’ there carefully, because I am NOT trying to tell you to SUPPRESS those emotions. Enormously different. To recede is to naturally let a thought gradually diminish inside, to suppress is to forcibly put an end to it.
Don’t blame yourself. Unless you are genuinely & unquestionably at fault for something, you NEED to stop self-reproaching. If you continue to shift blame onto yourself, you are only allowing yourself to be ambushed. It’s your brain rummaging through a tough time and literally pitting itself against you. This is the harshest period to push through, and it’s imperative that you withdraw from bending the scenario to fit into a narrative that puts you at the pedestal of scrutiny.
Finally comes the stage of reconciliation and acclimating to new conditions. It’s laborious, but worthwhile for the liberty. When you slowly start thinking less of something and cease self-punishment, it gets better. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But the wound does begin to mend. You just need to take things day by day. One morning, you’ll notice that it’s not as hard as last week. The pain has gotten expunged from your embrace.