“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.” – Hafez

We all experience the ruts of life from time to time. Everything is going well until you realize it’s all started to feel bland. Sometimes you wonder about your purpose, feel a lack of motivation, or can’t seem to find the inspiration or pep in your step that’s usually there. This is what we call a rut or feeling in a funk. Below are some of my favorite ways to work through one of life’s ruts.

Try something new – life is full of a variety and there is always something new to try. This can range from visiting a new country to trying a new take on your favorite dish. It also includes changing up your exercise routine (or perhaps starting one) or changing your after-work or weekend pattern. Read a new book or make a new friend. There are many ways to engage in life in a fresh and unique way and sometimes a few changes here and there can lighten you up and spark that pep in your step once again.

Jot down three points of thankfulness each day – this simple exercise has been proven to change perspective by simply taking the time to come up with three points of gratitude and write them down. Writing down these points is key because writing something down has been found to solidify it for the writer on an internal level. Developing a sense of gratitude for your life can reshape the way you see it and propel you out of a funk.

Look outside yourself – there are millions of others in the world around you and taking a few moments to pause and consider others can bring some perspective. What are others around you going through and how can you extend a hand to partner with them in life’s challenges? Whether it’s donating to a local charity or calling a friend to genuinely ask how they’re doing and really listen when they speak, there are many ways to engage with others around you. It just takes some time and effort to reach out. Reaching outside yourself refreshes the way you see the world by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Return to your core values – this involves reminding yourself who are you and the principles behind the decisions and direction of your life. Ask yourself, why do these values have meaning to me and how do they shape the way I live day-to-day? Or, if you have not yet evaluated and selected your personal core values, take some time to consider them. These are the beliefs underpinning your interactions throughout your life. They shape how you relate to others and treat yourself. Take a personal inventory of what you value and why. This can help identify and sharpen your core values to provide you with clarity about what’s most important to you.

If you already know your core values, dig a little deeper and ask yourself if your core values really shape the way you live day-to-day. If you see a gap in your identified values and the way you’re living, take some time to explore the difference between the two. You’ll likely stumble upon some important epiphanies, if only you take the time for some introspection.

Understanding and realigning with your core values sets you up for a more meaningful and purposeful life. Once you know the values setting the stage for your life’s journey, you’re able to more successfully engage in all of life joys and challenges.

These methods help me bounce back out of a rut when I’m feeling stuck. It happens to each of us and the keys to moving out of it are refreshing your perspective, developing genuine gratitude, and knowing yourself well. These points help me whenever I’m in a rut and my hope is they can help you too. 

To learn more about Dr. James Flowers and his chronic pain and addiction treatment, please visit the website of his treatment center in Austin, Driftwood Recovery