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Do you ever have those days when you feel stuck? You know, those days when it’s kind of foggy: Life is good enough but doesn’t grab you, move you or make you feel like you are even scratching the surface of what can be. When these times come up for me, I know I’ll get past them, but life is short and it’s not where I want to be parked. Here are seven ways to break through to your core, passion and purpose. Explore each one and notice the change…

1. Spend More Time in the Zone
We’ve all had them — those moments when you are so immersed in what you are doing that hours feel like minutes. You know when you are in the flow. Whether you are engaged in a project, playing or listening to music, practicing a sport, into your creativity, a deep conversation, the peace of nature, find what makes you feel energized, focused and transcendent. Then allow yourself to do more of what you love. Get ready to “unleash the beast,” and share it here. Remember that flow is the birthplace of creativity.

2. Gear Up Your Gratitude
A quick way to get unstuck is to write a letter to one person who means the most to you — that person who has been there for you, and has seen your true nature and potential. Writing the letter will make you feel more connected immediately. Then take it to the next level. if you can, call that person on the phone and read them your letter. Be prepared for a memorable experience. Tracking your gratitude regularly in a journal will also remind you of all the good in your life, right here and right now.

3. Harness the Power of Your Smile
The simple act of smiling not only makes you feel better, but it creates a connection to others. By putting a smile on your face (bonus points if your eyes are engaged too), you not only feel healthier but you are retraining your brain to create more happiness pathways. Because of our mirror neurons, smiling, like laughter, is contagious. If you see someone else smile, your body tends to match not only the action, but the emotion behind it. You can do that for others too: explore the Faces of Happiness. Sharing your smile will inspire others to do the same.

4. Question your Stories
Growing up, most people have heard messages that may have been helpful then (don’t speak to strangers), but as adults, these can cripple the ability to fully connect. You may have been told that you are clumsy, not clever enough, or even not lovable… there are so many versions. This becomes the story that ends up ingrained in your mindset. Is it safe to say that you are ready for something better? Choose one narrative that does not support you now. It could be “I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough time…” Byron Katie in “The Work” challenges you to answer four questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know that it is true?
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without the thought?

Explore these cues and get ready for a new perspective on an old story.

5. Your Calling is Calling
Identify someone you look up to or whose life you wish you had! Then comes the fun part: ask yourself why? What part of their existence are you attracted to? Is it their professional success, or their closeness with family and friends? Is it the freedom to say yes to adventure, their ability to set boundaries or their creative flair?

Chances are that those qualities speak to you because on some level, you know that, with some attention, intention and time, these very qualities can be the next to emerge from you. Imagine what would it look like if you were expressing these in your day-to-day life? Take one step today.

6. Be Bold
There is a well of courage inside of you that is waiting to be tapped. Think back to a time when you dealt with a major challenge that you faced. You have that capacity. Yet, from popular magazines to the daily news, society blasts messages of scarcity and fear. Brene Brown comments, “I’d say the one thing we have in common is that we’re sick of feeling afraid. We want to dare greatly.” By living more authentically and allowing yourself to dream, you blast open the doors of possibility. Be bold, play with an idea, immerse yourself in it and let it grow. “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” Say yes to the whispers of your soul.

7. Love Yourself A Little More Every Day
As human being we have a negativity bias: The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences. If you tracked the number of mean messages you send yourself (bad hair day, can’t get it right, not again!) the amount is staggering. Cue: self-compassion.

Instead of getting angry with yourself for falling short, try a little tenderness. No one is perfect; that pursuit just causes stress. And no one is immune from going through feelings of inadequacy and challenge; it is called our common humanity. When an obstacle comes up, what would you say if you were coaching a dear friend? Respond to yourself that way and see what can shift. Remember your deepest connection to all that is; remember who you are.

What are your best ways to get unstuck?

About Randy Taran
Chief Happiness Officer at Project Happiness

Randy Taran is the Founder of Project Happiness. To explore the question, “What brings lasting happiness?”, Randy produced a documentary film where students from three continents worked together on this quest, interviewing George Lucas, Richard Gere, neuroscientist Richard Davidson, and ultimately, The Dalai Lama.

An experiential-learning curriculum grew from the film, integrating current research in positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness. These programs are being used in classrooms and youth programs in 50 states and over 90 countries.

Randy speaks regularly on various happiness, well-being and youth-related issues, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. She is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher and holds an MBA in International Business and Marketing from New York University. Randy serves on the Board of the Dalai Lama Foundation and lives with her family and two happy dogs near Palo Alto, California.

Originally published on Huffington Post