We’ve all had moments where we feel like life is overwhelming, the stress is too much, and the walls are closing in. For many of us this is situational. By making some choices and changes, the stressors reduce and the walls recede. But what about those of us who live in a perpetual state of stress with circumstances we don’t feel like we have any control over. Today I will tell you how I got out of feeling trapped and found a new life.
Let’s talk about the following things:
- How I Got Out of Feeling Trapped and Found a New Life
- How Acute Stress Had Me Frozen
- Fight or Flight Feeling of Being Stuck and Trapped
- How Do I Stop Feeling Suffocated?
- You have the Power to Make Changes in Your Life and to Find Peace
- Just Knowing that You Have the Power to Make Changes Can Help Alleviate Some of the Suffocating Feelings.
- 10 Steps to Regain Control, Freedom and Improve Mental Health
- Is it Normal to Feel Suffocated in a Relationship?
- How Can I start a New Life?
- Tangible Steps to Starting Over – These Steps are How I Got out of Feeling Trapped and Found a New Life.
Acute Stress Had Me Frozen and Feeling Trapped
We all have an instinctual fight or flight response that is kicked into action by fear. However there is another response that can occur. Freezing.
Under an acute stress like a car accident or a fire you might hear someone say I just froze. That’s a freeze response to a huge instant stressor but there is also a freeze response when dealing with long term stress and it’s this response that I think leads us to feel trapped and suffocated.
I felt as if I had no options, that my life was not my own and I just had to find a way to survive. Years of stress and fear had led me to a place where I often felt as if I couldn’t breathe. There was no fight or flight left in me, it was more like when a rabbit freezes in its tracks and hopes that its predator passes by.
Read on for more about how I got out of feeling trapped and found a new life.
Fight or Flight Feeling of Being Stuck and Trapped
So if you feel like you’re frozen how do you begin to take back control and convince your brain to make a decision; fight or flight. I’ve been there. Read on for how I got out of feeling trapped and found a new life.
First of all, don’t take the fight or flight literally but instead recognize that you need to make a conscious decision to change the way you have instinctually been reacting to the big stressor in your life.
How Do I Stop Feeling Suffocated? I Need a New Life
There are some great actionable ways you can stop feeling suffocated. The very first step is to stop and BREATHE. Don’t underestimate the power of intentional breathing to help stop the feeling of being suffocated. I teach toddlers how to breath when their emotions are overwhelming and I think the majority of us adults could use a lesson on just breathe.
- Take a giant breath, letting it lift your chest and extend your belly, let that oxygen get all the way to your toes and then exhale like a balloon deflating. Three of those and our brains are ready to start making decisions. Sounds silly but trust me on this one.
You have the power to make changes in your life and to find peace.
The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace.Psalm 29:11
Just knowing that you have the power to make changes can help alleviate some of the suffocating feelings.
There are so many tangible, actionable decisions you can make to help you feel like life isn’t closing in.
Is your job the reason you are unhappy? You spend 40 plus hours a week there and if this is the greatest contributor to your stress then type up your resume and start looking for something that you enjoy. Perhaps you aren’t able to leave your job right now, if that’s the case then look to volunteer somewhere that will bring you joy, perhaps an organization with a mission that you’re passionate about. When we take the time to serve and fill our cup then we have the reserve to tap into it when work gets stressful. Try the following steps for help with knowing how I got out of feeling trapped and found a new life.
Small, actionable steps help us to regain a sense of control, a sense of freedom and improve our mental health.
10 Steps to Regain Control, Freedom and Improve Mental Health From Feeling Trapped in Life
1. Work up the courage to make a decision you are afraid of.
2. Seek counseling, professionally or with an elder in your church, get a mentor.
3. Build a support system. I can’t stress this one enough, get yourself a friend you can call on.
4. Be patient with yourself, changes don’t happen over night.
5. Make small adjustments, small steps can turn into big changes.
6. Live a simpler life, clean out that closet, get rid of clutter, make your bedroom a peaceful place.
7. Be yourself, be true to who you are. God made you uniquely you so embrace it and love yourself.
8. Reflect on where and with what you went wrong. I recommend a dump journal approach.
9. After reflection revisit your goals, make changes if needed and set new goals and values that align with who you are.
10. Identify the obstacles in the way of your goals and create a plan to overcome those obstacles.
Is it Normal to Feel Suffocated in a Relationship?
The short answer to that is no, it’s not normal to feel suffocated in a relationship. However I think you need to evaluate why you feel suffocated in your relationship.
Is it because you have some huge stressors in your life and your marriage hasn’t been a priority so there is tension there that needs to be addressed and perhaps go to counselling.
If you feel like your suffocating because you are being smothered and the relationship is toxic then you are staying in an environment that is the perfect recipe for drama, resentment, sadness and anger. If you are not being abused physically or emotionally then perhaps you want to work on this with your spouse. Find a good therapist, share with your spouse your needs and goals. Don’t be accusational about what your spouse is doing wrong. Instead share with them what your needs are and how then can help you meet them.
How Can I Start a New Life?
The idea of starting over can be terrifying. It’s understandable that you would go into freeze, fight or flight just thinking about it.
IT IS OK TO START OVER!
I have learned that life is anything but organized, straight lines and all our plans and goals accomplished. The beauty of life is that its made up of many seasons. Our attitude is everything when you come to large challenges and are faced with starting over.
There are tangible actionable steps you can take to starting over:
1. Look back and ask yourself what you can learn from the past
2. Never stop learning
3. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Every day look at what you have to be thankful for
4. Take owner ship of your life and your decisions and lean into God for your strength
5. Set your goals and plans, and allow those plans to be fluid and change over time
There are so many wonderful people to look to who have shared their stories of overcoming obstacles, starting life new. Search them out, read them for inspiration.
Learn From Others
Open your bible and look at the disciples. No matter how many times I read through the gospels I am always astounded at the disciples and how they made radical changes and decisions in following Christ. They give me hope when I flounder, they make me realize that we all make mistakes and that those mistakes don’t define us.
They teach me that when I feel like I am suffocated that I need to take three deep breaths and pray.