Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. ~ Buddha
You know exactly how it feels, but do you know how to fix it? Being overwhelmed is a part habit, part addiction, and the rest simply not knowing how to do things differently. The good news is there are 5 things you can do to overcome overwhelm starting right now. Are you ready to add some Zen back into your life?
The reason life is overwhelming sometimes is because you are thinking about the million things that have to get done by tonight and not focusing on the one important thing you are doing right now. You can deliberately slow down that “oh my god it’s all barreling at me” feeling by staying completely present.
I have a trick that will change the way you go through your day. Fill in the blank of the following sentence out loud as you perform your daily tasks:
“The only thing I have to do right now is _______.”
Adopt this practice for everything, including eating lunch and your bathroom breaks, until you train yourself into a new pattern of focusing only on the present moment. You will see your productivity soar by concentrating all of your energy in one place.
2. Find the ‘Yes’ In Your ‘No’
A friend of mine taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned:
“For every no you say, you are actually saying yes to countless other things.”
For example, when you say “no” to another late night at work, what are you actually saying yes to? Time with your family? Time for healthier food or exercise? More sleep? Your new assignment is to find the yes’s and not focus on the no’s. It will be almost impossible to see them as a negative once you do this.
3. Find Your Prime Time
Part of why we stumble and stall is because we try to force ourselves to get things done when we want to do them, not when we’ll be most effective. While not every task can be flexible, there are many things you can flip the clock on. For instance, as an author, I have many article deadlines. I used to try to do them in the morning, but soon realized I spent more time checking Facebook and answering emails than actually writing. I examined my patterns and discovered 5 p.m. is when my energy is most aligned with that particular task.
It takes me half the time it used to write an article now thanks to my ability to determine when I was in the best frame of mind for that specific task. Evaluate your schedule and determine if juggling some of your work activities from morning to afternoon makes a difference. You may find your prime time for everything from making the kids’ lunches, paying bills and more can add magical hours to your day.
4. Tap the fear out!
Much of overwhelm is actually fear. A fear we won’t get it all done. A fear that we won’t be perfect. The list goes on and on. Tapping on acupressure points on the body can offer a similar effect to needles in acupuncture. Tapping opens up the energy flow where it might be blocked causing fear or other negative symptoms. Take the fingers of one hand and find the following place on the top of the other hand: slide your fingers between your pinky and ring finger about halfway down the hand. Simply tap! This area is specifically linked to fear.
While this seems counterintuitive when you are overwhelmed, a distraction from chaos will allow you to re-center yourself enough to handle things better than you could before. Even a 45-second break of focusing on something relaxing will often do the trick. Take a breather, get out of your head space, take a walk or stretch, then try again. You might be surprised about the positive effect this can have on your ability to focus on the task at hand!