One of my favorite quotes I have visible on my desk is from Eckhart Tolle, who wrote:
“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ and wanting to be ‘there.’”
Whenever I experience unwelcomed frenetic energy where my mind is racing with minutia, I know I’m out of alignment for the very reason the quote indicates. To release the ever-growing tension, I must discontinue what I’m doing, breathe, and remind myself to stop future planning. In under two minutes, I feel better physically and emotionally and can refocus and stay present.
Being overwhelmed is like being caught under a tidal wave.
Many things can cause us to feel overpowered or cognitively dissonant. For example, having too much to do, working outside our preferences, and performing in areas that naturally deplete our energy. Often a lack of boundaries, the need to please, worrying about the outcome, or the inability to say no perpetuates these sensations.
As a result, one may ping-pong between being disengaged, allowing their anger and resentment to seep through, to spreading their negativity to others at home, work, or play.
Shift your mindset to let go of the tension.
Sometimes the acts of focusing on and talking about what we don’t want makes our challenges more difficult. To avoid this pattern, acknowledge the circumstance, and accept how you feel, so the emotion doesn’t fester. Then pivot to what’s in your control.
Be kind to yourself as this is a learning process that you do not need to do alone. Ask for guidance from a trusted source, partner, colleague, friend, coach, or mentor. Select someone who will listen compassionately and help you reframe the situation positively so you can move forward. With the right support and intention, talking it through can be cathartic.
4Cs to minimize stress intensity.
When you start feeling that your “to-do” lists have their own “to-dos,” try these four Cs to minimize pressure:
When you sense a building intensity in your body, see it as a sign to pause, breathe, and calm yourself. Ask yourself: “How do I feel?” and “How do I want to feel?” Then remind yourself, “All will be okay.” When you stop your automatic survival instincts from taking over, you can focus on the “here and now” and take one task at a time. With practice, you’ll create new habits of “catching yourself” before entering into a reactive and negative spiral, which will be very beneficial to your state of mind as well as those around you.
Removing the clutter in your mind and physical space can be liberating. I recommend this easy-to-use tool to help you get started. This method highlights what you need to stop doing, and what you can start doing, like blocking your calendar and setting boundaries with others to manage your workload more effectively. Take the process further and remove, throw away, or donate items you no longer use or need that are getting in the way.
Once you have clarity on what you need to do and what you want to do, organize your tasks into manageable groups and prioritize. Set realistic goals, do the work, and build in time for activities that replenish your energy, such as meditating, eating, exercising, or socializing.
Set your hourly or daily intentions and take the steps you need to show up in a calm, focused, and productive manner. Silence your phone and email if possible and get started. Finish one priority at a time, cross it off the list, and move to the next. If you’re stuck, move to the next and come back later.
Find balance within yourself to strengthen resiliency.
We often look outward to find solutions for whatever we’re facing, with the notion that someone or something else is at fault and they should fix it. Yet, that is rarely the case. Most times, it’s because we are out of sync with ourselves. When you feel this way, turn inward to reconnect with yourself and find your balance. Balance is all about nurturing your three centers: head, heart, body.
My approach centers on you.
Self-leadership is about getting to know yourself better and applying that knowledge to activate your best for yourself and those around you. My approach is personalized and customized, tapping into various assessments, disciplines, modalities, and techniques, i.e., branding, communications, change management, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, neurobiology, project management, and psychology. To learn more, schedule a call with me.