Do you ever get so overwhelmed that you start to spiral until you can't breathe. I know I do. Or at least I used to. You know that feeling.... it starts while you unaware.... you start to think of something and then all things related from the past show up and then while you there you start thinking about the future and the terrible things that could happen and before you know it you stuck in a nightmare that you created just with your thoughts. SO what do we do? how do we make it stop?
I write it down. I call it out. So for example "I am feeling anxious about all the work I need to get done today". Then I break that down further and I list all the work that I need to get done. Then I look at the list and see if there is anything at all that I can move to tomorrow or that someone else can maybe do. The importance of actually writing it all down is that you can get a full picture of what "your nightmare" is. Often just this process helps to calm us down because often we make it bigger than it is or we aren't really sure of all the things we just think its a lot. When its all down on paper we get a clear view of what it is and then we easily able to prioritise and get it done. Just being able to see it and know what it is is calming.
I often get caught up in a frenzy and when I do this exercise I see that its not actually so bad, it is manageable. Instead of just worrying in my head - knowing what it is - all of it helps me calm down and then I can easily get into action fixing it.
Action is the antidote to fear. Fear is the nightmare in our head - action is writing it down - seeing the full picture and then taking the necessary steps to fix it. I have also done this exercise and noticed that often the problems in my head are me projecting and thinking of further outcomes that aren't real. I then have two things I say to myself
Is this my business? We often get caught up worrying and thinking about other people and often its actually their business not yours. Ill give you an example - I was worried that my son hadn't studied enough for his test. I got caught up thinking - I should have helped him more, what if he fails, how will he feel, if only he had listened to me and let me help him study instead of ignoring me and playing on tech, oh this is terrible, im sure I could have done more, and on and on the nightmare goes. Is this my business? No not really. Can I write the test for him - No I can't. All I can do is offer to help him which I did, the rest is his business. He needs to learn the lesson. He will either pass or he won't. Too often we try to "fix" everything for our kids, partners, family, friends and so the list goes on. But we can't make the changes for them, they need to do it. My husband loves to exercise, me not so much. He worries about my health especially with Covid arriving on the scene its more important now than ever before to take our health seriously. My husband can tell me how concerned he is and that he would like me to exercise everyday but he can't exercise for me - I have to do it. (I have heard his cries and I have started exercising - more about this in my next blog post)
Can't change it. I have found myself replaying things that have happened and wishing I had a do over. If only I had left 5 minutes later I wouldn't of been in the accident. If only I had studied harder for the test. If only I hadn't impulsively bought that thing that im now paying off. If only I hadn't sent that message. If only I hadn't said those hurtful words when I was angry now I can't take them back. And so on and so on. Can I change any of those things. No I can't. They have happened. You cannot change your past. The sooner I realised this and made peace with it the sooner things started to change for me. Because we cannot change what has happened and when we think we can we replay they nightmare movie over and over in our heads.
So to recap, when I feel overwhelmed I write it down. How Im feeling and what it is. If there are steps to follow to get through it I write those down to. Next I ask myself these two questions 1. Is this my business and 2. Can I change it.
There is a calm and peace that comes when we know what we know. When we acknowledge ourself and our feelings. Try it... I hope you find that you are more able to cope with your daily overwhelm in a calm way.
Next week we talk morning routines. Until then,
(Photo Credit: Unsplash Uday Mittal)