“To be or not to be, that is the question.” How quick can you go from a quiet moment of peace to being in pure freak-out mode through overwhelm? For me, it’s one of my hidden talents, and maybe it is for you as well.
Visualize this. Your life is going rather swimmingly; then you find out you are having company coming over your house. You think… “Laundry not done. Dogs peeing in the house. House full of toys. Or worse.” Or perhaps somebody needs to copy a file from your computer, and you’re terrified they will drown in a desktop of random jpegs and word docs. Perhaps your anxiety grows when your coworker asks for a ride home, and you remember you’ve left your car decorated with empty Big Red cans, Doritos bags, and used Kleenex.
Or maybe it’s payday, and before it’s over, you run out of pay in your day. Maybe it is all those thousands of tiny things you know you need to do but haven’t because it’s too much of a pain in the rumpus. And you’d rather just leave it in the back of your mind floating around to bug you, especially when you have something crucial to do like planning for your retirement or saving for a house and so on…
Now, while it’s good to be in the moment of things, it isn’t helpful for our adrenaline system to fly by the seat of our pants. But most of us do this all the time, and we walk around tweaked and ready to react to the next thing life presents to immerse or drown us in.
Life doesn’t have to be lived in a state of overwhelm. We can outlast the stress and sensation of overwhelm in a heartbeat. Here are five steps to consider:
- Stay in your Body but Get out of Your Brain.
Many times we can slip into overwhelm when we have too many things that we are trying to remember. By writing down what you need to do helps free up space in your brain and gives you a sense of peace because you are creating order. You don’t have to have a fancy planner or app on your iPhone. It can be on the back of a bar napkin. The goal is to write it down AND be able to find it later.
- Decide your “When”
This next step is as equally important as creating a list. With the things you need to do, you decide when you are going to take action. This also helps you prioritize what is most important to you at this moment. Sure, you may need to clean up your house, but if you need to visit someone who is critically ill or take your pet to the vet, then prioritize your life according to what is most important to you at this moment.
- Making Mindful Mantras
Using mantra can be anything you think of such as, “This Shall Too will Pass,” “Peace In, Peace Out,” or even “Talk to Hand.” A mantra needs to take you out of your mind so try a few to see what resonates with you the loudest. This is important because overwhelm happens when you are fearful of the future. A mantra brings you back to the present moment. If a mantra isn’t your thing, then visualize something like a stop sign to help change your focus and get you out of fear.
- Simply Breathe.
Breathe in for three seconds and exhale for three. Repeat this for three minutes. Bringing in oxygen will clear your head and provide calmness to help yourself. If the breathing doesn’t work for you then just put your hand on your chest and feel your breath this way.
- Connect with Your Source.
As beings that are human, we are connected to the Universe. How you define it and how you relate to it is your intimate personal path. Make time to connect with the Universe. Whether it’s through being in nature, prayer, meditation, or taking care of others, these all have the infinite ability to bring you peace that can outlast any moment of overwhelm.
William Shakespeare said, “We know what we are, know not what we may be.”
We may know that we are in overwhelm, but in a heartbeat, we can find our peace if we are brave enough to try. Be brave today. Namaste.