Into Action

getting back to exerciseThe hardest part about being stuck in a rut, is getting yourself out of it.

Maybe you’re feeling derailed in your life or your job. Can’t get up the inspiration to cook. Perhaps you don’t quite have it in you to exercise like you used to. Maybe you find yourself staring at the computer screen, unable to create your next post/essay/letter to a friend/chapter of your book/poem/article/creative masterpiece.

The stuck-ness

There are times when I feel like I can do anything and everything. But sometimes, I feel truly stuck. I walk around the apartment aimlessly, eating granola and yogurt out of the container. I try to find my way back to the computer to write something and wish for motivation to come and overtake me.

But nothing happens.

‘Cause when stuck-ness comes and stakes a claim, there just seems to be nothing I can do to over come it.

Then I remember. There is a solution.

The solution

The best way for me to get out of the stuck-ness is to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I’m feeling. I have to practice contrary action.

If I feel unmotivated to write, I have to write for one hour.

If I don’t want to cook, I cook something.

If I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror because I feel uncomfortable in my skin, I go for a walk or a hike in a canyon.

If I feel lonely and don’t understand why no one is calling me, I pick up the phone.

If I feel anti-social, I go out and do something with friends.
foodwoolf.comIt takes a lot courage to practice contrary action–especially when my emotional back tires feel like they’ve fallen off and I’m in a steep pitched ditch. But as soon as I practice the exact opposite of how I’m feeling, suddenly I experience something like psychological tune up. And off I go, speeding down the highway to happy destiny.

Suddenly, I feel like like writer again.

I remember how fun it is to be in the kitchen.

My appreciation of love and friendship returns to me.

I get comfortable in my skin.

I put on a flirty dress and put on make up.

I skip.

Contrary action may not be the easiest tool to use, but it works. So if you’re feeling lonely, do something nice to for someone else today. If you don’t feel creative, pull out the crayons and draw a picture. If you don’t want to leave your house, take a walk around the block and find beautiful things to take pictures of. Reach out to a friend. Hug a tree. Make a bag of granola and send it to someone you love. Make a gratitude list. Step up the computer and write.

Where are you stuck?

Need help coming up with what’s the contrary action? Leave a comment!

11 Replies to “Into Action”

  1. I absolutely agree with this Brooke. I practice the same things to get myself unstuck. It is tough to get out there and do things sometimes ~ but I ALWAYS feel better when I do!

  2. Stuck in the mud trying to get back up to speed having just returned from Europe after 6+ weeks away – your post inspires me to rediscover all the things I love about home that are hiding under end of summer blues, cases to unpack and saying goodbye to friends and fami
    Y so far away. X

    1. Lucy,
      Welcome home! I’m glad you’re back. Maybe you could throw a little French dinner party so you could re-live your vacation and get yourself out of that post-vacation lull! xoxoxo, B

  3. This post spoke to me. I have been in a rut for so long that I have made it my home. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you for this reminder, Brooke! I’ve been reading a lot of Pema Chodron lately (I am indebted to you for recommending ‘When Things Fall Apart!’) and it’s led me to try to make friends with my fears by pushing away from habits and leaning into discomfort, knowing that it will open my heart, body and mind. For me, that means things like making myself go to yoga on days like yesterday when I would have rather watched Netflix under my covers. It also meant sticking with the class even though the poses were unfamiliar and telling myself that the entire class would be a practice in siting with the uncomfortable. It was. I did. And I am filled with gratitude for it.

    Also, I don’t know if you do have Netflix, but I would recommend the documentary Happy to you and to all your comment readers who want a reminder or perhaps a different perspective on how different people create happiness.

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