You've found yourself in the middle of a difficult or stressful situation. Perhaps it's an issue with your partner, resistance in your business, or an important decision that's lingering. Regardless of the cause, your situation remains the same- you want clarity and forward movement, but your mind chatter is triggering emotions like fear or anger, and you're stuck and overwhelmed.
Emotional situations have a way of creating tunnel vision, thus blocking you from intuitive guidance, creative thinking, and seeing solutions. So you often either:
- take no action and get stuck in analysis paralysis or resistance for days or weeks, or
- react emotionally and say or do something that you later regret.
But, there's a third and better way to navigate difficult, overwhelming, and stuck situations.
In my search to feel more grounded and confident in handling the ups and downs of life and entrepreneurship, I discovered that being able to step back and gain a broader perspective of a situation is key to finding peace and ideal solutions.
And a simple, yet powerful, way to step back and find clarity during times of resistance, challenge, and overwhelm is through what I call "yin practices".
When I studied Chinese medicine, I learned that health and flow in our bodies (and nature) depend on the balance of yin and yang energies. "Yang" is the more active energy. We live in an overly yang society where staying busy mentally and physically, or "doing", is the norm.
Leisure time, rest, and just "being" (yin energy) is considered nice, but an unproductive luxury.
We're so trained to think that moving through a challenging, stuck situation requires major action- brainstorming solutions or seeking them from outside sources (books, friends, psychics, therapists); trying harder and harder to push through the resistance. This couldn't be farther from the truth!
In fact, you need both yin and yang energies equally for ease, creative problem solving, and productivity.
So, when you're feeling stuck and you keep trying harder and harder to push through (too much yang!) with no success, then it's time to balance out with some yin energy. Yin energy is all about pausing and creating space. It's about allowing all that information you've collected (yang) to simmer with your inner wisdom, and transmute into a creative breakthrough.
Embracing yin energy is about trusting that you have the answers within, and just need to give them space to bubble up.
Ironically, by doing less, you're more efficient and thus able to achieve more. An added side benefit is that you'll feel more calm, peaceful, and happy!
Here are some of my favorite yin practices. Give them a try when your feeling stuck in business, love, or life in general:
- Breathing meditation >> find a quiet place to sit and focus on your natural breathing.
- Walking meditation >> take a walk and focus on your feet touching the ground; or smell of the air; or the sound of birds chirping/ leaves blowing/ etc.
- Mindful shower >> take a shower and focus on the feel of the warm water running down your body; or the smell of the soap lathering in your hands.
- Wash dishes >> focus on the water flowing on your hands; or the sound of the water as it flows from the faucet.
- Draw, Paint, Knit, etc. >> do something creative and focus fully on the activity.
- Dance, Yoga, Exercise, Move your body >> focus on the feelings in your body as it moves.
- Play >> with a child, a friend, or on your own. Just have fun and focus fully on the activity.
The next time you feel overwhelmed and stuck in analysis paralysis, stop doing and try one of the above yin practices (or create one of your own).
The only requirements for a yin practice is:
- that you feel spacious and expansive when you do it.
- your focus remains on your present moment experience (not on thinking of your problem).
If you want to naturally open to your creativity, start making better decisions, find solutions easier and faster, and avoid falling into self-sabotaging thought or behavior cycles, then I highly recommend you commit to daily yin practices- before you get stuck in mental and emotional overwhelm and resistance.