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How to Get Unstuck from “Feeling Trapped in My Life”
Feeling trapped – Probably one of the worst feelings in the world. Finding yourself in a life situation that has you feeling overwhelmed makes you believe that you have no choice but to change it.
It’s downright frustrating. After all, you did everything you were supposed to do to be happy.
But all you can focus on is the anxious, suffocating feeling.
It feels depressing and dire and it feels dark.
In this post, I discuss the reasons you might be feeling trapped, and a 5 step process you can do to help you gain clarity and take back your power.
Reading it alone will benefit you but if you really want to experience a positive change it is advisable to take the time to do the process.
Reasons You Feeling Trapped in Your Life
You bought into the dream
You’ve spent years setting up your life a certain way. Perhaps it was not your ideal choice from the start but rather what your family prescribed and/or by the ideal laid down by society as to what constitutes a happy, fulfilling life.
It’s the college education, the corner office, the marriage, the kids, the house, and the mortgage.
All of this took years to accomplish, but now that you have it, it no longer fulfills you.
You never thought you would reach a point where it was not what you wanted.
So from the outset, there was never a need for a plan B.
However, the truth is we all change every day.
Our needs, our wants, and our interests. You outgrow what used to make you happy.
You don’t realize this when start out chasing “the dream” but growth and change are evolutionary facts.
Related Post: Is True Happiness Possible?
Other people rely on you
It’s especially hard when you have others that rely on you.
This could be for financial reasons, emotional support, or both. You have to set the example of what a caring, respectful citizen does.
We are taught from a young age to be responsible.
Making changes is more difficult when you have other people’s needs to consider as well.
Feeling trapped is often just a consequence of having the desire to feel freedom from responsibility – even if it is just for a short while.
You are afraid
This is probably the most common reason.
You are afraid to step out of your comfort zone or to let others down. Or let yourself down.
As much as you hate to admit it a large proportion of what you do is to live up to others’ expectations of you.
You compare yourself to others.
They all seem happy with “the norm” so who are you to be so ungrateful?
There is also the fear of being seen as abnormal and ungrateful by admitting to feeling unfulfilled, trapped, and empty.
This is all understandable.
After all, doesn’t society tell us that we should never quit? We should persevere against all odds?
Making radical changes could mean you no longer fit into the unspoken collective understanding of normal life.
So you hold on, suffering in silence but you are not sure how much more you can take.
Surely there has to be another way?
The good news is that most people feel like this at some stage in life. There is nothing wrong with you.
Some call it a mid-life crisis.
For some, it happens at a much younger age.
Some people have more than one episode.
So, before you sell everything you own and disappear to a South American country – try this process to take back your power:
The 5-Step Practical Process:
Step 1) Do a brain dump
Yes, just as it sounds. Write down every single thought that has been running through your mind around one particular issue (or the many issues) that is the cause of you feeling trapped.
Don’t filter it. Just write and then write some more. Dump it all onto paper. All those thoughts. Add cuss words. Add emotion. Vent all the pent-up frustrations you are feeling by being trapped.
I strongly suggest using a pen and paper as opposed to typing as it is cathartic and has other benefits too.
Step 2) Sort your thoughts
Now sort your penned thoughts into categories.
Suggestions for this are sorting your circumstances into what’s positive and what’s negative about it/them.
What is making you angry and what is frustrating you? List your fears, lost dreams, obligations, and hopes.
You are trying to group your thoughts into logical categories.
You are taking all that mumbo jumbo that is continuously swirling in your brain and giving it some clarity.
Notice what is working for you, what is not working, what you blame others for, what grudges you still carry, etc.
Step 3) Sit in Stillness or Meditate
At this point, you should be feeling emotionally drained.
Once you have all the information out of your head and onto paper, just sit in stillness or do a silent meditation.
Ten minutes or more is a good amount of time. This should be easier to do now as all those thoughts you have been carrying in your mind have been dumped on paper.
Each time a reoccurring thought pops into your mind, remind yourself that the written notes are there, waiting for your return, so you do not need to keep thinking about your problems during this silent time.
You should feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Take deep, slow breaths and allow peace to fill you for this moment in time.
Step 4) Reframe the “Feeling Trapped” in Life -Look for the Positives
You are in a particular situation because on some level, that you may not necessarily be conscious of, it is serving you.
The first step is to acknowledge where you are at.
Now it is time to reframe the situation so you can see the positive side of it as well.
Take all the negative, angry, and despairing statements and write a corresponding positive that is true for you.
Examples of how to Reframe “Feeling trapped in my life circumstances”:
-Everything is a mess and I hate my life
At this moment in time, I feel trapped and unfulfilled however I am proud of all my achievements thus far and I am excited to figure out the next chapter of my life.
-I am so unhappy with my relationship
At this moment I feel things are not going as well as they could be, however, I honor the commitments I have made and am grateful for all the good times and memories we share.
-I am unhappy with my job
At this moment I feel anger and resentment towards my employers however I am grateful to be able to contribute and for the income it presently provides me.
-I am broke and in debt
At this moment in time, my financial situation is dire but I am grateful for the opportunity to earn money and eager to learn how to make smarter financial choices going forward.
-I am depressed/Lonely
At this moment in time, I feel sad and depressed however I cherish my many happy memories and my future is anything I want it to be. It’s an exciting mystery.
Side note – if you are really and truly unable to find any positives in the situation, you might still be too emotionally charged. Take a break and come back to it later.
Also, if a situation is of such a negative proportion to be unhealthy, abusive, or dangerous there would be no point in doing this task.
Removing yourself from the situation as soon as possible, or getting professional help would be the advisable thing to do.
Related Post: What is Mindset?
Step 5) Write one or more action steps
This step shows you there is always hope.
Although it might not feel like it in your present situation this exercise will help you look for new and better ways to change your perceived “I am feeling trapped in my life” current belief.
This step is about what YOU can do.
As much as we like to think other people are responsible for our problems, they are not.
We are totally responsible for all our thoughts and actions.
How to Stop Feeling Trapped in Your life – Examples of action steps to take to :
This list is by no means exhaustive or even applicable to your unique situation.
These are to be used as guiding principles only.
- I am excited to find different ways to revive the romance;
- Initiate neutral conversation for 10 minutes every night;
- listen to my partner’s point of view;
- not go to bed angry.
- I will calmly discuss why I am unhappy with my superiors;
- develop one or more skills that I can make myself more marketable in the job market;
- start my own side hustle.
- I will create an honest inventory of my financial situations;
- create a budget and stick to it;
- list all my debts and put an action plan in place so that I can start paying them off each month;
- seek the advice or help of a debt counselor.
- I will not live in the past or future in my head;
- stay focused on the present moment;
- do one small thing each day that makes me happy;
- I will laugh at least once a day;
- seek out the support of counseling.
- I will commit to a healthy lifestyle daily;
- eat whole foods that nourish my body;
- take measures to handle my stress.
We live in a relative world.
There is no black without white – no happiness without sadness.
Sometimes we have to remember that we have not been singled out and that the struggle we sometimes feel is part of the human experience.
At the same time, there is almost always a positive spin you can bring to a situation.
You do this first by acknowledging how you feel (feeling trapped), writing it down, looking for the positives, and deciding on what one thing you can do to change the trajectory of a situation.
There is ALWAYS something you can do to change your situation and your life. The power lies with you.
Lastly, remember the quality of your life is as good as the thoughts you think so constantly thinking ” I am feeling trapped in my life” is the first thought you need to change.
How to Get Unstuck from “Feeling Trapped in My Life”