How to Shift Direction When You Feel Stuck

Recognize, release, and refocus your emotions with this five-step practice from Elisha Goldstein.

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Even before the global pandemic of Covid-19, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by
emotions and stuck in habits that don’t nourish. Psychologist and mindfulness educator
Elisha Goldstein offers a five-step practice for shifting your focus and emotions to a track
that helps you move forward.

How to Shift Away From Feeling Stuck

The Three Rs

1. Recognize how you’re feeling

The first step in the practice is to recognize what you’re feeling. That brings blood flow to the prefrontal cortex which is involved with emotion regulation, impulse control, and having a sense of perspective. It allows us to step into that space between stimulus and response where choice, possibility, and growth lie.

2. Release what you’re holding in your body

Then we can recognize that we’re carrying this in our bodies, so we need to release it. We need to shake it out, take a deep breath, release it either through your mouth or through your nose, do a dance. Whatever it is, release that energy

3. Refocus your attention

Then we want to refocus. In this part, we’re looking at what it is that we really want. We have to give our brain a north star. So, what’s the shift we really want to make right now? Is it to feel more love and connection in my relationships? Is it to get back in touch with my body and start treating it well with exercise and better food? Is it to refocus on my work and my business? Is it to dial down the inner critic and love myself more? What is the shift that I want to make in my life?

The Change Comes From You

4. Ask why you want to change

Then we have to ask ourselves: why do I want to do it? What’s it going to give me? We have to ask ourselves these questions so that we can have a reason for doing it. Reasons give us energy. 

Our focus could be to get into a better place, or that “if I had more love in my relationship, I’d feel more connected and that would create ripple effects across my entire life.” It could be that “if I was able to focus and be more productive at my job, then I could actually be more effective and make more money to support my family.” It could be “to meditate to create more ease, calm, and balance in my life and I’ll be able to handle this difficulty and come out of the other end of it stronger.” 

5. Ask how you’re going to change

And then we get to the how. What are we going to begin to implement? This part’s up to you, you’re going to come up with your plan depending on what it is. 

Adapted from the Life Shift program run by Elisha Goldstein, PhD and Aaron Kahlow.

part two

Daily Practices

How to Plant Yourself in an Environment that Enriches You 

People can help improve our lives, but they can also stunt our progress. You might find yourself frustrated, continuously trying to engage in personal growth with no result. It could be time to look outward at the company we keep. Read More 

  • Elisha Goldstein
  • January 8, 2021

read more

Mental Health

Staggering Under the Weight of Anxious Thoughts 

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by circumstances that just feel too big, threatening catastrophe. Take a breath. Being in this moment leads us toward the calm simplicity within ourselves. Read More 

  • Andrew Safer
  • December 16, 2020
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