Want to Feel Less Overwhelmed?
I wanted to share a simple practice I use to feel less overwhelmed and take action.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been shaking hands with overwhelm a lot these days. So I wanted to share a simple practice I use when confronted with this gnarly beast. (I’ve also recorded a free, 5-minute meditation for this exact purpose.)
1. CALL IT OUT!
Recognize that you feel overwhelmed and name it. “I’m feeling overwhelmed right now.” This is a BIG, critical step. Sometimes, we’ll start to get signals that something’s off, and we press snooze. “NOPE! I’m too busy to investigate so I’ll just keep going and it’ll be fine!” That trains us to ignore our internal alarm system, instead of using it to our benefit.
ASK YOURSELF: What signals do I get when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed? (Ex: my mind starts to race and I have trouble moving forward with the things I’m working on)
2. Make [ S P A C E ]
Our chronic busy-ness often masks our need for space. Space means giving ourselves adequate time in an environment devoid of things vying for our attention. Start by getting grounded – close your eyes, bring your attention to the floor underneath you and take a few deep breaths. Keep your focus on protecting the emptiness of this space each time your mind tempts you down a rabbit hole.
ASK YOURSELF: Do I resist giving myself enough space to process everything going on? Why?
3. Lists, lists, lists
(Can you tell I love lists?!) Writing is the easiest way to start getting your thoughts under control. Make a list of everything that’s buzzing around your mind. Whether it’s to-dos, worries, insecurities, or judgements, just get them down. If it’s on your mind, it’s worth getting out. When you feel complete, congratulate yourself with a big, audible sigh of relief! WHEW!
ASK YOURSELF: What is the single most important thing on this list? Can I allow myself to just focus on this one thing?
Once I’ve done this practice, I usually find I can cut myself a bit more slack because, WOW, there’s a lot on my mind! And I feel a sense of increased confidence around getting just that one thing done. Then, if I need to deal with more items on the list, I take it slow, one by one, in order of priority.
And if I’m still feeling uncontrollably overwhelmed, that’s a really good indicator that it’s time for a more substantial gear switch, in which case I’ll go for a walk, search “30-minute yoga” on YouTube, watch an episode of an engrossing TV show, or call a friend. Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself – Morgan says it’s okay.