This Is Why Your Life Feels Stagnant (And What You Can Do About It)

Stagnation happens when you don’t have anything in life that motivates you enough to take sustained steps towards it.

You feel exhausted when taking on too many things that don’t come naturally. We all need a certain amount of challenge in life for growth, but this shouldn’t be the bulk of what life is made of.

A stressful lifestyle leaves you empty, passionless, and without coping mechanisms. Stress is whatever you say it is. It’s whatever causes you mental or emotional disruption. Too often, we’re invalidated because our stressors are seen as insignificant. It doesn’t matter where the source of stress comes from; the effect is the same: You suffer.

Your mind becomes stuck on negative thoughts. Your self-esteem plummets, and you never feel good enough. Thus, you trigger your stress response, leading to heart disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory illness. It activates your inflammatory response, causing skin break-outs and weakening your immune response, leaving you prone to infection.

If this doesn’t change, the world will miss out on you, just as you are. You start to feel at a standstill. Stagnation happens when you don’t have anything in life that motivates you enough to take sustained steps towards it.

This can be caused by: Uncertainty. Avoidance. Fear of making mistakes. Feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. Indecisiveness. Feeling uncomfortable with trying new things and getting out of your safety zone. No longer feeling curious about life. Self-neglect by putting others’ needs ahead of your own. Impractical self-imposed expectations.

Stress has levels. The pressure you feel from starting a new chapter in life, such as having children or starting a new job is mingled with excitement. 

Small amounts of stress prove beneficial. It pushes you to achieve your goals. However, when stress gets out of hand, it creates more ominous results. It drains your soul. It threatens all aspects of your health and can push you into depression and suicidal thoughts.

 You know you’ve reached your limit when the joy starts leaving your body. Your eyes begin to sink. Your skin becomes dull and dry. Seeing friends and daily routines become a chore.

It’s when you can’t sleep or sleep through the entire day. Your body craves comfort foods—pizza, pasta, sugar. You welcome any distraction, whether drugs, alcohol, or sex—anything that will numb the pain.

Sometimes you have to try something different. You have to challenge what you’ve always done. You have to envision a new step that will get you where you want to be.

We become burnt out when we clutter our lives with too many unnecessary things, projects, or work. We try to reach goals that nobody has pressured us to achieve. It’s when we force results instead of having them happen effortlessly. This isn’t to say that they don’t require hard work, but some skills come more naturally than others.

 Here’s how to get motivated again.

1. Increase your options.

Sometimes increasing your options means seeing what you can let go of. Expanding your possibilities means working efficiently to get the maximum benefit. Maybe a job doesn’t pay that great, but you’ll gain a specialized skill that will advance your career in the end. Perhaps you’re struggling with depression; try natural recovery options, such as light or pet therapy, as well. Maybe you’re fearful of the future. Start saving more and spending less. Increasing options increases choice. Choice offers you empowerment. Empowerment gives you the motivation to take the next step.

2. Maybe everybody’s grass is fake.

Change your perspective. New perspectives bring new light and ways of thinking. The quickest way to change your outlook is by identifying with someone who has a similar story. You may be grief-stricken or suffering a loss, which can feel very isolating. You feel like no one in the world understands. Hearing similar stories, such as what other people have learned and how they’ve overcome, can renew a new sense of hope. You can do this by joining a group or talking to like-minded people. If you’re more private and cringe at the idea of a group meeting, read articles, listen to audiobooks, or watch YouTube videos of people’s stories. Sometimes taking the focus off your pain and identity with somebody else’s brings more healing than you expect.

3. Be a flying acrobat if you want to.

Find your passion. Somewhere along the way, you lost your love. It’s still lost because you keep looking back at what should have happened, and how your life should have turned out. You’re feeling passionless because you haven’t tried anything new long enough to know if you like it. You just assume it’s whack. You’ve lost your passion because you think everything has to give you fireworks and butterflies. Sometimes the right thing doesn’t feel good at the time, but you know it’s best. Push past the discomfort. Lead with curiosity, exploration, and child-like playfulness-not pressure. Remember, your passion doesn’t have to be your job. It doesn’t have to make you money. It can simply be something you enjoy.

4. Unsubscribe from an email or two.

Deleting an email is something you can control. Clearing your inbox is synonymous with clearing your mind. Having clarity in one area of your life while the other parts are going to hell can motivate you to keep going. This is because how you do one thing is how you do everything. Follow the patterns. If your inbox is out of control, most likely, your finances are disorganized. Most likely, you have dramatic relationships, a hectic schedule, or emotional eating tendencies. Taking power back in one area of your life that requires less effort can give you the momentum to keep going.

 Remember…

Stagnation happens when you don’t have anything in life that motivates you enough to take sustained steps towards it. This is temporary. You’re feeling stuck because you can’t see a way out of the situation you’re in. You think it’s going to last forever. It won’t. You can find your passion through exploration, letting go, decluttering, listening to people’s stories, and being open to new perspectives. Sometimes you have to create your own way, no matter what, take rest when needed, but don’t give up.