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June 21, 2022 Kristen Peairs

How to Get Out of a Health Rut

Why isn’t anything working?! What’s wrong with me? What do I need to do to feel good again? These are the questions that swirl around in our heads when we are doing all the “right” things and still aren’t getting the results we expect.

It’s frustrating. Sometimes it’s scary.

Health ruts happen. They occur at any age and in any area of health: mental, emotional, or physical. If the rut requires medical attention, a diagnosis such as obesity, diabetes, anxiety, asthma, or arthritis may be assigned. There is no expectation of complete resolution with these conditions, so treatment is offered only to alleviate the symptoms. All these conditions are common health ruts. In the medical industry, they are labeled as chronic diseases.

Chronic, in terms of health conditions, means that the condition persists for three or more months, won’t likely go away on its own, and can’t be cured by medication.

What is not frequently talked about is that with the right leverage, a person can typically get out of their rut. All of these health ruts have the possibility of resolution. I’ve seen it with my clients and I’ve experienced it myself.

For 20 years, I have specialized in working with people at their wit’s end regarding finding a way out of their ruts. They’ve visited all the experts and still haven’t found relief.

I’ve learned that when someone is in a rut, they must really want to get out of it for change to happen.

The Key Drivers to Get Out of a Health Rut

Think of a car with a tire that has become stuck in a muddy pothole. Doing nothing ensures the tire stays stuck. Revving the engine to spin the tire sinks it in more deeply. Only when extra energy or leverage becomes available does the car obtain what it needs to become unstuck. Connecting to that extra energy takes effort. It takes believing that the result of freeing the car from the pothole will be worth the time involved.

It may sound silly, but when it comes to health ruts, thinking of our body as the car and ourselves as the driver can be very useful.

When the body is stuck in a health condition, connecting to extra energy or leverage can be just the thing we need.

Belief and desire are the fuel that keeps us rocking to get out of our health ruts rather than settling in for the long haul. When belief and desire work together, we are then able to take action to get out of a health rut.

1. Belief

Despite what “the experts” are saying, it is so important to believe that it is possible to get out of our ruts. It can be easy to receive “expert” information as 100% truth, when really, experts (no matter the breadth of their expertise) are only speaking from the space of what they know. Even when the expert is a doctor, dietitian, researcher, or scientist, there is a whole lot in this world that they don’t know. Even from doctor to doctor, there are differing opinions on which diseases can be healed and how. For example, asthma is regarded by the majority of the medical community as a chronic condition that must be managed by medication. From my own experience, once the triggers for my asthmatic symptoms were uncovered, I was able to adjust my lifestyle and live a medication-free life.  If I had believed my doctor’s advice, I’d still be struggling along, attached to an inhaler and all of its side effects.

2. Desire

Even if you believe you can become free from your rut, you’re not going to get very far unless you really want it. For the deep ruts, that desire needs to be strong enough to propel you to keep searching, trying, paying attention, and allowing change to happen in a world that may or may not feel supportive.

3. Action

Once belief and desire are present, it’s time to take action by setting yourself up for success.

So many people get stuck in a loop of thoughts that goes something like, “I don’t feel well. I want to feel well. How do I feel well? I found an expert who can figure this out! That didn’t work. Why doesn’t anything work? Why don’t I feel well? Why can’t anyone figure this out? I don’t feel well….”

How to Interrupt the Cycle

1. Get clear on the feeling you desire to haveHow to Get Out of a Health Rut - man running in jacket on path outside towards sunrise

I always ask clients what they want for their health. Most of them reply by telling me that they want their pain to go away, or they want to know what to eat so they lose weight. I follow up by saying, “Let’s pretend that your pain (or your excess weight) is gone; how will your body feel then?” They usually sit back, blink, and pause. Then they say, “I would feel good,” and I say, “Tell me about good. Can you be more descriptive?”

Eventually, they say:

“I want to feel at ease in my body. I want to feel comfortable when I move. I want to feel relaxed.”

What I hear in their answer is that these people want to feel at ease, comfortable, and relaxed in their bodies.

It’s a whole different world of possible solutions when someone comes from a place of clarity regarding what they really want in a future that doesn’t involve the rut.

Most people only dwell in the rut. Their thoughts are consumed with the rut rather than the life experience that is beyond the rut.

Once they have clarity on what they desire to feel beyond the rut, I invite them to create a question about how they can have that positive experience.

2. Formulate a question that asks how you can have the experience you’re desiring

Using the information from the example above, the person’s question might be, “How can I feel at ease, comfortable, and relaxed in my body?”

Notice that this question doesn’t have a clear solution at the time of asking. It’s a big, roomy question that an asker can keep in mind as they explore all that life brings them. Also, notice that this question is personal and focused on how to have a positive emotional experience.

There can be many answers to this question. If a person talks to a dietitian, the dietitian might suggest a particular set of foods to consume. If the person talks with a chiropractor, the chiropractor might suggest spinal adjustments. A medical doctor might suggest medication. A counselor might recommend talk therapy.

This kind of question opens receptivity to many sources of information.

Next, how do you know who to listen to and what to try?

3. Discernment is key

There is only one you. No one can 100% know what’s right for you except you. It is your responsibility to discern your best path. Experts can give you information, but it is up to you to feel into the rightness of what is being offered.

From my experience, we humans are out of practice in deeply knowing ourselves, so it can take time to become connected.

What helps is to regularly engage with an activity that keeps you receptive to your inner wisdom.

For some people, a walk in the woods is just the thing. For others, it’s speaking with a therapist, meditating, or journaling. All these practices set the stage for getting quiet and hearing wisdom from the wise one within.

4. Pay attention to what resonates with you

As you engage with new opportunities, pay special attention to the ones that ignite either your curiosity or your immediate dislike. Both are cues worthy of further exploration.

5. Be willing to adapt and change

The process of freeing yourself from a rut will change you. Embrace your new knowledge and your new self.

A health rut can only hold onto you if you stay the same as you’ve always been. By going within, listening deeply, and following your inner wisdom, you stand a good chance of connecting with the energy or leverage you’ve been seeking to exit your rut.

For next steps, you can learn about the benefits of counseling here: Employee Counseling: 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Have Access

Check out these other articles by Kristen Peairs:

 

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Disclaimer

By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Kristen Peairs

Kristen Peairs is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Professional Educator.

Throughout her 20-year career, she has worked with many people suffering from a diversity of chronic health conditions. Understanding how food affects the brain and the whole body has been a key factor in the success of her healing strategies.

At Nivati, she has researched, written, and filmed over 100 health and wellness videos for their content library.

Kristen is currently writing a cookbook for people living with food allergies and intolerances.

She is a graduate of Bastyr University and holds a Master's of Science in Nutrition.

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