Do you ever find yourself saying I feel trapped and I can’t escape? Or having an awful feeling in your chest of being stuck? People can feel trapped in an unhappy relationship, at an unfulfilling job, or generally unhappy with their life. Sometimes even despite being able to say things that they think should make them happy. When we feel trapped over long periods of time, we start to show signs of stress, depression, and anxiety.
How do we Break Free?
The first step is realizing that you have choices. When we feel trapped, we start thinking we don’t have a choice in our life. Our phrases start with “I have to” or “I’m supposed to” instead of looking at the different options around us. This is a mindset issue as we always have choices in our situations, sometimes ones that are not very pleasant as we might need to self-correct our path but there is always a choice.
Live Within Your Means
One of the most stress inducing items in our life is to live above our means. It is a trap to get stuck in the whirlwind of spending more than what is earned and then, stressing daily about the financial situation. There are ways to curb this by asking yourself some simple questions, “What do I need to survive?” and “Do I need this, or do I want this?” “Will this bring happiness to my life?” Starting to shift your thoughts to looking at the consequences of spending versus the perceived happiness it might bring will help you realign your life to reduce stress.
There is great power in blaming the world around you for the situation in your life because it contributes to feelings of being trapped. If your life is because of others of course you will feel stuck because it is out of your control. The truth is that your life is completely under your control. You hold the power to change it. If there are things in your life that bother you, then change it. It might be your thought process as sometimes we get stuck in negativity and cannot see the positive options around us. We need help realigning our thoughts with a positive outlook so our eyes can be opened to see the possibilities. Find an optimistic friend who can challenge your thoughts or seek help from a mental health professional.
Follow Your Passion
You understand yourself better than anyone else. You know what makes your heart beat faster and your mind race with excitement. Start listening to your heart and pick up hobbies that will give you joy and surround yourself with things that you are passionate about.
Learn to Say No
Part of feeling trapped is that we feel obligated to others. We think that others have expectations about us that we have to fulfill. I have found when we double check with those around us about their expectations of our lives, we are wrong. They don’t have as many or even then same ones our own mind has come up with. It is important to be supportive of those around us, but it is a two-way street. Utilizing your no, helps build healthy relationships around you. Say yes, when you genuinely want to help or join an activity and let your no speak to the rest.
Break Away From Fear
Finally, leave fear behind. A lot of times, it is the fear of failure that keeps us trapped. We lose our confidence and believe that something bad is going to happen if we take the leap to try something new. Fear is to help us be safe in what we are doing, not to prevent us from trying. All those choices that swirl around your head, but you minimize them or justify them away out of fear. Dust them off and remind yourself that you are capable and then try one. You will find that you have the ability to conquer your fear.
If you have read this and your mind has brushed it off as its impossible or you’ve told yourself this writer just doesn’t understand, then its time to seek some help. We can help you break free from your trap and find new ways to think and explore your life to be able to find the path to contentment and joy. Please don’t continue to suffer.
Trish Pauls, MA RP