Feeling stuck in your career, relationship, or the general direction of your life? We’ve all been there at one point in our lives. Moving forward is nearly impossible when you feel this way, and attempting to get unstuck using your usual way of thinking often worsens the situation.
Fortunately, you can get out of this trap by changing your perspective. If you’re feeling unclear or stuck, here are 5 perspective shifts that will help you reframe your current problems or situations in new and more productive ways.
1. Go Forward by Stepping Back
It is normal if you tend to fixate on problems in a bid to find solutions. After all, shying away from problems won’t solve them.
Indeed, focus helps create clarity, but fixating on problems is rarely helpful. If anything, it prevents you from seeing the obvious because you are looking at the problem from only one point of view.
Sometimes, a better strategy to move forward is to go in the opposite direction to where you would normally call forward.
Why is that?
You simply can’t bulldoze your way out of feeling stuck. The best way to access a new way of thinking is to step back.
Stepping back from a problem or situation lets you clearly identify where you are, how you got there, and where you really want to go.
Think of it like looking at your face in a mirror at a very close range. The freckles, wrinkles, and spots are magnified the closer you are to the mirror. These blemishes make it difficult to see your face in full.
But when you take a few steps back from the mirror, the blemishes diminish, allowing you to see the bigger picture. It is a perspective shift.
2. Find the Lesson in the Situation
When feeling trapped, we naturally want to climb out of a slump as quickly as possible. But feeling stuck is not always a bad thing!
Okay, now that’s probably not what you want to hear when you have a boatload of debts, a failing relationship, or a job you totally hate.
But hear me out on this one.
Instead of rushing to seek answers or get out of an uncomfortable situation, it is often beneficial to first look for the lesson in the situation.
What’s the point of getting out of one trap only to end up in another the next minute?
That’s exactly what happens if you don’t learn the important lessons life is subtly trying to teach you each time you feel stuck.
By trying to find the lesson in a situation, you broaden your perspective and eventually leave the situation wiser and better.
3. Take Mental and Physical Breaks
Sometimes, perspective shifts require dramatic approaches like walking away from a confusing or troubling situation, at least for a while.
Instead of focusing on what’s making you feel stuck, take your mind off the situation.
As you probably already experienced firsthand, your mind will naturally return to the problem to seek solutions if you don’t place your focus on something more engaging.
What to do?
Plan a vacation, take some time off work, go hiking or camping, visit your long-time buddy, or do something you’ve always wanted.
Whatever you decide, make sure it is not remotely connected to the answers you seek.
Your mind has an interesting way of figuring things out when you’re not consciously looking for answers. When you take breaks, seemingly difficult situations tend to resolve themselves, or a solution will suddenly dawn on you, offering a unique perspective.
4. Shift Your Mood
You might be a generally positive person, but if you are feeling stuck, you are currently on a downward trail of negative thoughts and emotions.
Your brain has little to no chance of thinking up positive solutions when in a negative state. The more you put your energy and focus on the problem at hand, the deeper you go into the cycle of doom and gloom.
One of the quickest ways to shift your perspective is to alter your mood.
Psychologists have proven that our moods significantly influence what we think and how we think. In fact, the amount of information we can process somewhat depends on our mood.
As our moods improve, our ability to process information widens, and we are more likely to see situations through a different lens.
How do you shift your mood when feeling stuck, and how do you do it quickly?
Deliberately distract your mind by getting in the flow of any fun activity. You can:
- Listen to upbeat music and dance your heart out
- Watch funny clips to get a good laugh
- Take a walk around your neighborhood
- Smile at someone or yourself, even if you don’t feel like it
- Do moderate exercise like jogging, shooting hoops, and lifting weights
These activities usually produce quick results, but gratitude is my go-to practice when I really want to create a significant and simple shift in my mood. You should try it too.
Gratitude doesn’t merely distract you from what you don’t like; it also puts your focus and energy on the things working out in your life, increasing positivity and helping you get out of a stuck cycle.
5. Seek Outside Support
Sometimes, breaking out of your routine way of thinking can be difficult. Consider getting external support to get unstuck if you’ve tried everything but still have blurry visions or lack clarity about a situation.
While you can get support from professionals like coaches or therapists, spending time with optimistic people can help broaden your perspective.
Shift Your Perspective to Gain Clarity
Your most difficult problem will remain that way until you reframe it in a new and different light.
If you are feeling unclear about a situation or stuck on a problem, stepping back allows you to see things from a different point of view – it gives you perspective.
And as simple as perspective shifts may sound, it is the key to breaking free from your usual way of thinking, gaining clarity, and seeing what’s been right in front of you all the while.