A psychological roadblock is a behavioral, mental, or emotional barrier that prevents you from taking the necessary steps to create and sustain positive changes in your life. Instead of embracing and building yourself up to meet your goals, you remain stuck in the same situation as time goes by. Sometimes we are aware of the reasons why we can’t move forward with our intentions and plans. Other times we are not conscious or certain about what is holding us back. Here is a list of four major psychological roadblocks to help you think it through.
Imbalances in the Periphereal Nervous System
The Peripheral Nervous System is mostly composed of nerves that are responsible for carrying nervous signals and messages throughout the body. It comprises the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. These two systems work together to create mind-body balance and harmony. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) helps us respond to stress by regulating our fight, flight, or freeze response.
On another hand, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) helps us be relaxed and at ease, regulating body functions such as rest, digestion, repair, and reproduction. When these two systems fail to work together, with one dominating over the other, we are not able to respond in a fully functioning manner. Domination of the SNS is often associated with stress, chronic illness, and poor well-being. Domination of the PNS is usually linked to poor concentration, depression, lethargy, and disorganization.
Negative Coping Strategies
Imbalances in our nervous system can lead us to seek strategies to restore balance and harmony. However, not all strategies are effective, efficient, and healthy. Negative coping strategies such as avoiding issues, drinking, binge eating, and gambling are sought to relieve pain and discomfort but their effect is short-lived. They can often lead to addiction and cause permanent damage to the body and mind.
Psychological wounds can run deep and away from our conscious awareness. Although not all wounds result in trauma, psychological wounds can negatively impact our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The loss of a parent or going through a divorce, for instance, produce wounds that if not addressed can leave us stuck in a perpetual state of imbalance, or even attached to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Unaddressed psychological wounds can also lead to a life filled with shame, guilt, fear, and anxiety. All these experiences make it difficult to establish a healthy relationship with ourselves and others. It is not uncommon to have trust issues or a sense of diminished empathy as a result of unaddressed emotional wounds.
Trauma results from one or more highly stressful life events such as being assaulted or experiencing abuse. Trauma deals with wounds that are deeply rooted in someone’s being and which have a huge negative impact on a person’s health and well-being. Besides the consequences already mentioned regarding unaddressed wounds, trauma can strongly affect the way a person perceives and experiences reality on a regular basis.
Unresolved trauma can lead to an inability to think clearly, impaired memory, strong and intense negative emotions, the experience of flashbacks, irritability, and a lingering feeling of overall detachment. These psychological patterns are very challenging and difficult to deal with.
Sometimes we want to move on with our lives and create positive change only to find out we can’t or that we are not ready yet. Sometimes we know why we remain stuck in old ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, but other times we don’t. This list of major psychological roadblocks may help you tap into some hidden reasons or factors that have prevented you from designing and living the life you wish for yourself. If you have found you are being affected by one or more of these factors, please know you are not alone and you can ask for help.
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