Overwhelm Doesn’t Have to Run Your Life
For the last four years, whenever it’s time to put our 6-year-old to bed, between reading books, giving kisses, and praying for everyone in our family — including our two tom cats who ran away, all of “The Farmer’s Chickens”, and my sister’s recent ex-girlfriend — I take my daughter through a nightly ritual to help her calm her mind and get some rest.
Simple and Effective
It’s a simple exercise, and it’s extremely effective.
Effective at not only at helping her drift into a peaceful nights sleep, but also with helping her calm down and reset her emotions during the day when she’s gotten overly frustrated, too stimulated, or overpowered by something.
Like I mentioned, this exercise is a pretty big deal in our house. And I don’t just use it with her, but with myself as well.
Overwhelmed? Do This One Thing & Feel Better Now
An On-going Stream
Being a creative — one who constantly has new ideas I want to explore, problems I want to solve, books to write, courses to create, and so on — I completely understand what it means to have a constant on-going stream of stimuli going on in and around you.
I enjoy these creative bursts of inspiration, find them fun, and have learned how to become incredibly productive when they occur.
At the same time, when the energy shifts and the inspiration vanishes, I find it all too easy to go from being a super confident, goal-oriented, #girlonfire, to more of a #shutthefup and #leavemealone type of person (if I’m not careful).
Call it overwhelmed, stuck, a lack of focus, or just plain out creative anxiety. Whatever the label, the truth is that as emotional beings we all experience overwhelm from time to time. It’s entirely natural, and it’s a natural part of the creative process.
However, in these moments of dynamic shifts of energy, when we are face-to-face with the discomfort that the proximity of overwhelm brings, our first reactions are to discard our feelings, ignore it entirely, or— if you’re like my daughter, Jaida — completely shut down.
Resist the Urge
Instead of shutting down or getting up and excusing yourself from the table next time you’re visited by overwhelm, instead try quietly sitting at the table with the discomfort, for however long is needed, and BE PRESENT with it.
Resist the urge to try to change how you feel. To try to talk it away. Or to try to shower it with well-meaning, positive thoughts, or affirmations. Rather …
Bring all of your attention into the present moment.
Calm your mind.
And breath with it.
TIPS TO GROW BY …
Being present means having your complete attention, thoughts, and feelings focussed in the present moment.
One of the best ways to get present and stay centered is by bringing your attention to your breath. Becoming aware of our breath all throughout the day — from the moment you wake up in the morning to the time you fall asleep at night — starts to solidify the habit of using the breath as a tool for awareness and gets us use to bringing our attention within.
I’ll go into more detail about the whys and the hows of conscious breathing in another article, but for now, just becoming aware of your breath throughout the day is enough to create change and feel better when overwhelm strikes.