our Comfort zone
We are creatures of habit. There's something very comfortable about routine and predictability, that is, unless you find you have a growing sense of restlessness and despondency about your life.
Sometimes you don't even realize how unhappy you've become until you hit rock bottom. Other times you realize things are on the decline but you just keep doing what you've been doing in the hopes that it's a phase and it will pass. Either way, when we realize that we're unhappy, we still have a strong resistance to change because it requires that we take an honest look at our lives and admit that things aren't working as well as we want.
The first step to dealing with any problem is to admit you have one, but if you're not quite sure, here are some signs to look for that may indicate it's time for you to try something new:
Sign #1: You've been numbing out
Life is stressful and at the end of the day, we all look for ways to blow off some steam and get some relief. The more unhappy we are, the more stress we experience, so many people try numbing these feelings by doing things like drinking, impulsive and possibly excessive spending, smoking, doing drugs, binge eating, watching TV for hours on end, etc.
These things don't actually help you feel less stressed, they just distract you for a while. If you notice you've been engaging in some of these habits, it might be worth asking yourself, "What am I avoiding?"
Sign #2: You struggle to get out of bed every morning
When you were a little kid and it was Christmas morning, did you have any trouble getting out of bed? No, of course you didn't because you had something you were really looking forward to. As adults, lots of people have trouble getting up in the morning but there's a difference between being groggy and feeling like you have no real reason to get up. If you dread starting your day, maybe it's time to ask yourself if there's anything you'd feel more excited about getting up and doing.
Sign #3: Your loved ones seem to be pissing you off or letting you down more often
Do you notice that when someone is in a bad mood that they tend to blow a lot of little things you do out of proportion? Again, frequently that kind of irritability is more about the person experiencing it than it is about whoever it gets directed at. This is a common symptom of chronic stress and it can damage relationships and have negative effects on a person's health. It may help if you try and empathize more with other people's positions before you react to them.
Sign #4: You have trouble sleeping
I've mentioned the importance of sleep before but it's always worth mentioning again. Good sleep hygiene is necessary for health and well being so take a minute to think about the quality of your sleep. Do you feel rested when you wake up or do you feel tired no matter how many hours you sleep? Do you have trouble falling asleep or waking up early? Do you have to take medication to sleep? Many times, stress related sleep problems are caused by racing thoughts and difficulty calming your mind. Try writing your thoughts down or possibly meditating for 20 minutes before you go to bed.
Sign #5: You've been gaining weight
When we get stressed, there are a number of chemicals that get released in our brains, one of which is cortisol. Cortisol's job is to replenish your body after a stressful experience, so it hangs around for a while and increases your appetite. The problem is, we originally evolved to release cortisol after experiencing physical stress where we burned a lot of calories, but it also gets released after emotional stress without any physical exertion. This is why chronic stress can lead to weight gain. So, how often do you find yourself "stress eating?"
SIGN #6 Everyone on Facebook seems to be having a much better time than you
This is just a reminder: Facebook is not an accurate reflection of reality, it only shows you what others want you to see about them. Every single person has something that they're struggling with but most of us don't want to broadcast it to the rest of the world. Social media is more frequently used to share positive things in other people's lives, or links they think are interesting, or cat videos. Comparing yourself to other people is a great way to make yourself miserable. Life is not a competition and other people's good fortune usually has nothing to do with you. Yes, we all sometimes want things that other people have, but if you're getting really worked up about it, it's likely you're actually angry at yourself for living a less than authentic life that's out of sync with your values.
SIGN #7: You're bored
By bored I'm referring to a chronic state of ennui and general dissatisfaction in life. You find that each day blends into the next, nothing really seems to stimulate or excite you anymore, and you're generally uninspired. No one can tell you what to be passionate about, so take some time and ask yourself what's inspired you in the past.
SIGN #8: You don't have fun very often or laugh a lot
When we're unhappy with our lives it can be harder to enjoy your free time and your friends, and it can be easy to want to isolate. Fun is part of a well balanced life but if you struggle to find the energy for it, this can be a HUGE sign that something has to change.
If you'd like some personalized help identifying areas of your life you want to start working on, feel free to contact me and set up a Discovery Session.
Thanks for reading and please share on social media.