a bird in a cage hanging from a roof.

Feeling Trapped? 15 Ways to Escape The Life You Have

Rachel Sharpe

Feeling trapped is one of the worst situations to be in. You might feel trapped in your marriage. Or maybe you feel trapped at your job. Or maybe you feel trapped in life. But there is a way to escape this feeling without losing yourself. We all feel this way sometimes, so don’t fret. What you’re experiencing is completely normal. And there is a solution that’ll help you escape when you feel trapped. So, let’s dive into these solutions now.

What Does Feeling Trapped Feel Like?

A trapped feeling can feel like we’re being indecisive, paralyzed by fear, and filled with negative thoughts. It can feel like we don’t have control over our lives and that something, whether it’s money, job, people, or a situation, is holding us back and limiting our options. You might even develop a fear of going crazy when feeling trapped in life.

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15 Ways to Escape When You’re Feeling Trapped

1. Make the Decision You’re Scared to

Let’s be real for a moment, you know what decision you want to take. If you’re in an unhappy work environment, you’re probably itching to quit so bad. So make a plan, find a new role or earn money on the side, so that you can take the plunge and quit. Don’t let that negative self-talk take over too much. You are talented enough to find a new position. You do deserve to be happy. And just because you feel trapped doesn’t really mean you are trapped. Don’t put barriers in your mind for no reason.

If you’re unhappy in your marriage, you might be holding on for the kids. Or maybe you’re afraid of being put in harm’s way if you’re in an abusive relationship. If you need to get help from the police or a professional expert, then by all means do that. You deserve to be in a happy and loving marriage. If you aren’t in a loving environment and you’ve tried to improve it but it isn’t getting better, then it might be time to make that hard decision and leave.

2. Seek Psychological Help

Seek help if you're feeling trapped

Sometimes you’re feeling trapped is due to a mental illness or mental health issues like depression which causes you to feel helpless. If you’re feeling suicidal, you should seek professional help. You can call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. It’s also important that you find a therapist, as well. Seek professional advice if you’ve been feeling this way for a while and nothing seems to help.

When people get to the point where they feel trapped in life, things often began to get bigger. You might find yourself catastrophizing automatically which only makes you feel more panicked and desperate to escape. However, with a professional expert by your side to talk through your feelings, you’ll be better equipped to know how to solve your exact problem and how to prevent your brain from making things so much worse for yourself.

3. Build a Support System

When you feel trapped, it’s so important to build a support system. You need to surround yourself with positive people who will help you through and help you embrace fear. Maybe you need to find a coworker in your office that makes work a bit more fun while you look for a new role. Something that will help you push forward even when you feel like everything is falling apart.

Maybe you hang out with your friends regularly so you can reduce stress. Maybe you turn to a family member who’s been in a similar situation as you who can help give you a different perspective on how they would approach it based on their own experiences. But ultimately, you want to make sure that your support system is positive and uplifting. But you always want to be able to take in their honest feedback as well so if there are areas where you can improve as well, you can make adjustments. That way, you might be able to find a light at the end of the tunnel a bit sooner. 

4. Make Small Adjustments

It might be time to change things up if you're feeling trapped

When big changes happen, people go into hysterics. It adds so much stress in their lives. But if instead, you make small adjustments, it’ll be easier to help you cope with feeling trapped as you’ll see yourself moving in a positive direction. The small adjustments can be minor changes to your environment.

Maybe instead of working at the office every day, you work from home one day a week. Or you move your desk to a different area in the building. In a relationship, you might try marriage counseling so you can try to improve your communication with your partner. Or maybe you become separated temporarily. If you feel trapped in life, you might develop a new hobby so you can respark your joy in other areas in your life. If you’re feeling trapped in an illness, you might spend more time with your friends and family to make each moment more precious. 

5. Look for the Positive

Sometimes we begin feeling trapped because we no longer see the positive in our situation. Maybe you’re feeling anxious or depression and it’s getting the best of you so you aren’t seeing things with complete clarity. Make a list of pros about your situation. Maybe if you feel trapped in your job, you’re grateful for the regular paycheck, the ability to put food on the table, or a chance to learn new skills. In your relationship, you might think back to some of the positive moments you’ve shared with this person. Maybe you’re grateful for children you’ve had with them, a sweet gift they’ve given, or a kind gesture they’ve done for you during a tough time. In life, you might want to create a gratitude list or take a peek at ours to remember there’s so much to be grateful for.

6. Be Patient

Practice patience, everything is temporary even pain and suffering

When feeling trapped, we often panic and want to change our situation immediately. Take a deep breath in. It’s so important to be patient during this time. Things always change. Always. You don’t have a choice. Life will change whether you want it to or not. Some things are completely out of our control. But rather than trying to hang onto the good like it’s all we have, we need to let things run their course.

Like we mentioned earlier, you can make small adjustments to prepare for the changes you want to control like a new job. But if you add an element of panic or stress to the situation, you’ll subconsciously prevent yourself from getting the things you actually want. And it’ll make it more difficult to attain.

7. Focus on Self Improvement

When feeling trapped, sometimes it’s because we’re trying to evolve or grow but feel like we’re unable to do so. That’s when focusing on improving yourself becomes so important. You can begin practicing guided meditations to help you gain clarity and reduce anxiety. You can read self-help books about people who’ve been through your exact situation. And you might be able to learn a few lessons from someone who has felt trapped but overcome their situation. You can also develop new skills so that you can avoid feeling trapped again in the future in your next chapter. That might be new job skills or communication skills for relationships. 

8. Live a Simple Life

Live a simpler life if you're feeling trapped

Sometimes we feel trapped because we don’t have enough money to live the life we want. In this situation, it’s so important to live within our means. Instead of trying to spend money we don’t have pretending to live a life to impress our friends on Instagram, we need to build up to that. Maybe you pick up a side hustle, so you can earn some additional income so you can finally avoid to take a family vacation. Or you earn enough so you can live an independent life. This world is ruled by money. We can’t change that.

Instead, we must find a way to earn more of it to live the life we desire. And with the internet, you now have the same access to become wealthy as some of the richest people in the world. The possibilities are endless for those who are committed to their goals and patient when it comes to achieving them. 

9. Learn to Stand Up for Yourself

It’s so important to stand up for yourself so you don’t feel trapped. Sometimes, we feel trapped because of barriers put on us by other people. In those situations, it’s so important to learn to defend ourselves so that we can escape. However, keep in mind that communication is a lot tougher than you may think. If you attack someone with your words, they’ll feel defensive.

They won’t be willing to help you. Instead, you need to learn to articulate your needs in a way that the other person hears you and wants to help you. By shifting your method of communication, you’ll inch closer to escaping the trapped life you’re in. Books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie or Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg might be good starting points to learning this. 

10. Be More Proactive

Be more proactive to make changes if your life

So, while we recently shared that you must be patient. That doesn’t mean waiting around for something good to happen. You must actively be making changes to make that good karma come back around so you can untangle yourself free from your prison. This might mean looking for a new job, moving out of your home, moving to a new city, going on a solo trip to gain clarity, or doing something that’ll ultimately get you on the right track to living a life where you don’t feel trapped.

It takes work, effort, will, and a little pain to get over the hump when you feel stuck. Sometimes, only you can change your situation and we can’t always wait for something to “happen” or for someone else to help us feel unstuck when we feel stuck.

11. Be Yourself

Sometimes we feel trapped because we hide behind a mask of who we feel others think we are rather than just being who we really are. Many people hide their sexuality because they’re afraid of the judgment they’ll receive. Others present an image of themselves which is nowhere similar to who they really are, which leaves them feeling exhausted at the end of the day. It’s okay to be different from anyone around you. It’s actually incredible to be different from everyone around you.

There’s so much pressure in our world today to conform. So, if you stick out, you’re truly incredible. Some of the most successful people became famous because of what made them different. It’s true that some people will judge you for who you really are. But sometimes that’s because they feel like they can’t measure up to you. Those people are special too. They just haven’t had anyone tell them that before. Be compassionate with haters. But more importantly, love yourself enough to be yourself.

12. Build Something

Build something to get out of the feeling of being trapped

When you feel trapped and you’re trying to escape, you need somewhere to escape to. It’s so important to build something. Ideally, you want to build an asset that’ll make you money so you can quit your job or discover a new sense of independence for yourself. You can build a blog, an online business, or an online store so you can make enough money to get yourself out of a bad situation. You’ll be able to take care of yourself. So focus on building your way to freedom.

13. Do Things That Make You Happy

Feeling trapped can make you unhappy. So it’s so important to do things that’ll make you happier. If you’re currently stuck living at your parents house and you’re frustrated living by someone else’s rules, you’ll need to take action to do little things that’ll make you happier. Maybe you feel a sense of freedom when you go for a run. Or maybe you feel happier when you invite friends over. Or maybe you start a new relationship. Or you make new friends. There are so many things you can do to find happiness again. Check out our article on how to be happy

14. Take Some Time For Yourself

A little self care and self love can go a long way in bringing some comfort and relief to the way you’re feeling. It may not stop the feeling, but it can help. Do the things that bring you happiness such as spending time with friends and family, enjoying your favorite movie, or indulging in your favorite meal. It isn’t just about doing things that make you happy like mentioned earlier, it’s about actually carving out time from your day to spend it on you. Not work, not responsibilities, not spending energy trying to not feel trapped. Feeling trapped can make you feel like you’re out of options or have no control. However, you can control how you spend your time.

15. Be Introspective

Thinking is what got us into this mess and feeling this way, but sometimes thinking is what gets us out and helps us break free for feeling trapped in life. When we can sit for a long time in solitude and in quiet, we can sometimes find answers to what’s holding us back or making us feel this way. Sometimes it’s just a little motivation like trying to live a meaningful life. Other times it’s figuring out how to make more money when we’re in a situation where money holds us back. Either way, some creative thinking can help us stop feeling trapped.


This moment where you’re feeling trapped can be an unpleasant one. But remember, that like everything in this world, it’s only a temporary state. You can take action to help you find freedom and escape your current situation. You can build something, do things that make you happy, meditate, make small adjustments, get professional help, and build a support system among other things which were mentioned in this article.

You deserve to feel a sense of freedom and you will attain it. Be patient during this time and just keep taking action to bring yourself closer to making that big change. Be compassionate with those who leave you feeling trapped. And don’t give up. Your freedom is coming soon, be patient.

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